Custody (or Care and Contact as it is now been re-defined in the Children’s Act) can be a sore point for parents.
Who should have custody? What visitation rights does the other parent have? Can we have joint-custody are all questions that run through your mind when divorcing or when you have a break-up after having lived together.
It would be advisable to consult your attorney, to give detailed advice on your specific circumstances as no 2 cases are alike.
The most important consideration would be the best interests of your child or children.
However, generally, primary custody is granted to one of the parents and the other parent will have reasonable visitation rights. The visitation rights that are generally recommended are as follows:
- If the child is under 6 months then usually the other parent will usually have the right to regular contact with their child either a few times a week for approximately 1 hour, or for approximately 3 hours on a Saturday or a Sunday.
2. When the child is approximately 1,5 years to 3 years old, then the other parent would usually have access for the whole day of either a Saturday or a Sunday, collecting the child in the morning and returning the child at the end of the afternoon. Usually, telephone or other (Skype etc) contact may also be allowed for approximately an hour or so a few days a week.
3. From approximately 3 to 5 years, then the other parent would usually be allowed to have contact with the child for an hour an evening for a few days a week as well as every second weekend (sometimes sleep-overs may be allowed, dependant on the circumstances of the matter).
4. From approximately 6 years, the child would usually have the same telephone/other contact for approximately 1 hour, for a few days a week as well as every second weekend and every second school holiday.
Please note that the above are just general visitation rights and each case will be different, depending on their unique circumstances and facts of the case.
Parents who were living together, but not married, may elect to utilize the offices of the Family Advocate for investigation or may agree to a suitable professional such as a social worker to provide Recommendations as to care and contact. The Children’s Court may also be approached, however, the option you elect to follow may vary dependant on your specific circumstances. Contact your attorney to thoroughly discuss your options.
Parents who are in the process of divorce would either have their Settlement Agreement endorsed by the Family Advocate or the matter will be referred for investigation by the Family Advocate. For more information on Settlement Agreements in Unopposed Divorces please see our blog at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/divorce-when-is-it-unopposed/
Alternatively, the parties may, in certain circumstances, involve experts, in addition to the Family Advocate, such as social workers to provide testimony and reports to the Court for determination on the aspect of care and access of the minor children. For more information on Opposed Divorces please see our blog at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/divorce-when-is-it-opposed/
Above, much reference has been made to the Family Advocate. In order to better understand the role of the Family Advocate please see our blog at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/family-advocate-who-are-they-and-what-do-they-do/
Please note that the above is just in general and your matter, rights and the best interests of your children may vary dependant on your unique circumstances.
It also cannot be stressed more that the office of the Family Advocate does not deal with maintenance issues. You should seriously consider discussing maintenance queries with your attorney as to your specific maintenance needs for your children.
Contact us today to set up your consultation at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/contact/ or on 012 754 3385. Our consultations may be done in person (after lock-down) or at any time, with set appointment online via Skype.