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Question
Posted by: Concerned Mom | 2010/04/07

What is right for my child?

I have an 18month old daughter and her father and i are no longer together. What i want to know is when is the right age to let my daughter sleep over at her dads house?I feel that she is too young but she does love her father dearly and he has been asking me to let her sleep over for ages now but im trying to think of my daughter but i feel horrible denying him!what is your advise about her sleeping over?according to the law when is it right to let your child sleep over? I also want to know what u think is the right amount of visiting time he should get?at the moment he is seeing her once every weekend from 8-5. I will let her go for longer and more often when she is older. But i would like to know if i am being unfair to him and my child?because all i am thinking about is her best interests in this matter!I will not consider joint custody because i dont think its fair on the child having two split homes and going back and forth like that!But i do want her to have a good realtionship with her father and i want him to be in her life as i feel that it is very important!please advise i am very confused!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

There are guidelines with regard to a child’s age, in the case of an infant visitation can be only during the day, with nights spent back with the mother. In South Africa it is recommended that sleep over kicks in at age of 3- 4. But this is subject to the ability of the father and the mother’s confidence in handling the child. The law will support a mother if she feels the child is too small to sleep over for an entire weekend.

If a couple are unable to reach an agreement on the reasonable access terms it must be referred to the Family Advocate. A meeting is then held with both parties and a child psychologist will access the child (provided she is old enough). Both parties are then asked what they would like and why.

Based on the assessment of the child and the meeting with the parents, the Family Advocate makes a decision as to what they deem to be the best interests of the child.

This decision then becomes a court order.

A judge can force a mother who is using her children to manipulate her ex-husband to put her own needs aside and do what is best for the child. Which would be allowing the children to see him the father.

If a decision is reached without the need of the Family Advocate to intervene, they still need to endorse the divorce settlement before the divorce is granted. Again this enables them to ensure the decision is fair and reasonable.

Again, it depends on the ability of the father to care for the child whilst in his care and also what will be in the best interest of the child.

The courts hardly ever award sole custody these days.

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/07/02

Hi i have a 12 month old son ..his mother is in a same sex relationship with another women and spends every weekend at the lesbians home with my son ..i have gone to a social worker for a perental plan ..but his mother states i can only have him for 3 hours every second week and sleepover at 3 years old only..is there anything i can do to spend more time with my son ? Plz help

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/07/01

Hi there . I have a 18month old baby . I told his biological father about him and blood tests where done. This man has verbally and emotionally abused me so badly over a short period of time in the 2 periods i have known him . He lives like a pig and had no boundaries. How do i protect my child against his abuse in years to come. How do i prevent sleep overs when conditions are clearly not child friendly at a home. Also i have 4 other children who loves him dearly and my husband. How is he going to deal with being away from his siblings. This man is not stable at all. He coaced my into an affair tried to get me away from my family and my husband whom i loce dearly brainwashed and verbally abused me. If he treated me like this how do i tell the court? I am worried about my child. I have a temporary interdict against him till i can fight in court for it to become permanent. He is a monster in my mind. I really dont actually know him and dont want anything to do with him. How do i relay what he has done to me in order to protect my baby going forward?

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/05/10

please help... I have a 2year old son and his father and i separated when he was only 1.5months old. he knows nothing about raising a child or the needs that come with that. Also he sees his son on TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS for 1.5hours . He wants to take my son for weekends and over night stays during the week and so forth. i can not allow that due to the fact that he is not able to look after him and see to all his needs. Please help. I will allow that once he is older like 6years once he can speak and tell me how he feels and so fourth. HELP# EMOTIONAL MOM

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: sad | 2015/11/09

My daughter and son in law have a two year daughter. They are separated. He has visitation and also speaks to her on the phone often. He does not have a permanent place to live and now is insisting on sleepover visits. The child has never been away from her mother and will never cope. Even when he did live with them and was not working he hardly ever got up for the child at night and in the mornings he never got up when the child awoke and also never got her dressed or took her to school. Routine is not something he insists on. When he was around and the child cried in the morning my daughter got yelled at to get the child to stop because he was sleeping. He does not want to agree on visits without sleepovers.

Reply to sad
Posted by: Sandy | 2015/10/25

I have been caring for my great grand daughter since the age of 1year old.....her parents are unmarried ....father paid maintenance until recently , but mother never maintained ....i had an objection that as she is now 5 1/2 years old that she cannot sleep with her father in his bed ...is this legitimate? now the mother has removed the girl from my care ....i was never paid at all for caring for her ...what is my position now?

Reply to Sandy
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/08/04

Please I need an opinion, I have a 3 and a half year old girl. There is a Court order in place allowing her to sleepover at her fathers one Saturday a month, but the problem is that this order was made when my ex still lived in SA. He is currently living in Zambia and only returns to SA for 8 to 10 days every three months, and only calls our daughter twice in those three months. So every time he is in SA he wants her to sleep over for 10 days, there is more history to the story, but in short do you think I'm unreasonable to only let her sleepover for 5 days since she doesn't see him for three months, she is still so small and sometimes she only wants to visit him and not sleep over and he hardly makes telephonic contact, I have to take her out of school (even though she still in preschool) she misses all her extra activities since his visits is rarely during school holidays. He sees it as he must make up the visits for the three months which he missed during his time in Zambia.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Gert Kruger | 2010/06/25

My daugter has a girl, age one. There has not been a meeting to discuss parental plan. She now got a summons from the high court in connection with visitation. He want to have her from friday afternoon untill sunday afternoon, every second weekend. What can we do about this as we think she is to young to sleep over

Reply to Gert Kruger
Posted by: G-Dad | 2010/04/07

You have a similar scenario I had, my son was 18 months and my daughter was 4 years at the time I started the divorce proceedings, it was recommended by a psychologist as well as FA and social worker that they can not see any grounds for supervised visits and suggested sleep overs every second weekend, now each case is based on merit and not all fathers and mothers is the same, I do not know if he get up at night if the child cry ect, and no there is no law stating at what age kids can sleep over, obviously a baby that is breast feeding can not sleep over. In some cases the father had removal access from 8H00 to 17H00 every second weekend and 1 hour on a Wednesday until the child reaches the age of 3 years, but most cases the kids are allowed to sleep over at 18 months.

I doubt that the courts will grant you sole custody as most of the custody status is based on a parenting plan drawn up either between the parents of with assistance of the FA or a social worker. Both parents normally get equal rights and responsibilities with or 1 parents place primary residence and another parent weekend and holiday removal access or both parents joint residence, this can only work of both parents are committed to act in the best interest of the child and live nearby.

I suggest you contact some place like pro-care for guidance or the FA.

Reply to G-Dad
Posted by: family law expert | 2010/04/07

There are guidelines with regard to a child’s age, in the case of an infant visitation can be only during the day, with nights spent back with the mother. In South Africa it is recommended that sleep over kicks in at age of 3- 4. But this is subject to the ability of the father and the mother’s confidence in handling the child. The law will support a mother if she feels the child is too small to sleep over for an entire weekend.

If a couple are unable to reach an agreement on the reasonable access terms it must be referred to the Family Advocate. A meeting is then held with both parties and a child psychologist will access the child (provided she is old enough). Both parties are then asked what they would like and why.

Based on the assessment of the child and the meeting with the parents, the Family Advocate makes a decision as to what they deem to be the best interests of the child.

This decision then becomes a court order.

A judge can force a mother who is using her children to manipulate her ex-husband to put her own needs aside and do what is best for the child. Which would be allowing the children to see him the father.

If a decision is reached without the need of the Family Advocate to intervene, they still need to endorse the divorce settlement before the divorce is granted. Again this enables them to ensure the decision is fair and reasonable.

Again, it depends on the ability of the father to care for the child whilst in his care and also what will be in the best interest of the child.

The courts hardly ever award sole custody these days.

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za

Reply to family law expert | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/03/30

I have a 4 month old. His father will come see him once during the week, and then demand on some Friday afternoons his Mom pick him up to spend the day. Some times he does not visit the child in days. And the day he feel like visiting he messages to say he is going to come around in an hour. If i say i have already had plans to go out to family or friends for the day, he get upset and make up stories that i do not want him to come and visit. For eg. He saw his child last Wednesday, he messages the Monday he is going to pick up the child and take him to his mom. I said i have plans already. He had a good party long weekend and not once came to wish his son happy easter whatsover, but they just demand when they feel it suits them.They just expect me to jump when they snap there fingers. I do to have and my son is part of my life and my plans. His mom wanted a meeting with me, but her son (my child's father) said he was to drunk to come. His Mom then said I will see him in court as he will be taking me to court to get joint custody. He can't even visit my child for longer than an hour, how can he apply for joint custody if he drink and party from a Thursday to a Sunday. He does not even give me more than R1000 for child support. Please advise if he has any right to claim joint custody?

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