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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2018/05/08

Co-parent driven by hatred and animosity

My ex has become extrodanarily difficult. He refuses to answer any questions I have regarding the kids, and insteads hurls insults and abuse at me. He refuses to take the kid's best interest into account, but instead is actions is driven by a need to spite me. He is for instance making it very difficult for me to take the kids on a family holiday with my entire family in July, for what appears to be no reason as he will still have the kids half of the holiday. Over and above this, yesterday he in so many words told me he will let me take the kids in July (i.e. do what is in the kids best interest) only if I agree to write off R50K which he owes me as determined by a court of law. This is flatout bribery. I don't know what to do anymore, or where to turn to next. He is making it absolutely impossible to coparent with him, as he's clearly lost sight of the kids and what they need in all of this, and is driven purely by a hatred and animosity towards me, a need to spite me, and his own financial gain. These are just the latest happenings in 8 years worth of this behaviour. Some of which were even worse, like when he took my son for a circumsicion without even mentioning it to me (which I thankfully found out about and stopped before it happened) and then insisted I pay him back the money for the specialist. I can't afford these legal battles anymore. I also want the kids to have a good relationship with him, as they can only gain from it. He refuses counselling. I'm at my wits end

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2018/05/24

Hello Anon,
Firstly, I'm sorry that someone, I don't know who, has caused needless delays in putting your question to me, so I can answer it. 
It is sad, and sadly common, that after a divorce, one of a couple gets mean, vindictive and uses the child(ren) as weapons or bargaining chips in an ongoing war with their former spouse.  I think this should be recognized by society and courts as child abuse, and should be penalized. 
What's not clear to me from your message is the basis of this situation. You mention a court of law, so I assume there was a case and a formal divorce where the court decided on matters such as custody,visiting / access rights, maintenance, and so on.
What were the terms and conditions laid down there, and is he keeping to the requirements of that set of decisions ? If not, you could return to the court and ask it to enforce the decision it had reached.  Such a court is required to consider primarily the best interests of the child(ren), and except if the court found that there was some significant risk to the child from access to you, it should have required that the child should have reasonable access to you, but you need to get good legal advice on this.  Insisting that you write-off a large financial debt a court has already decided is due to you, sounds very dodgy.
It may be fortunate that if the initial decisions have already been made by a court, using cheaper facilties such a the Family Advocate may be possible, to enforce those agreements.

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