Child Issues in Divorce
WELFARE OF THE CHILD
In any proceedings before any court where the custody or upbringing of a child is in question, the court is asked to regard the welfare of the child as the first and paramount consideration. The factors to consider in determining the welfare of the child are not exhaustive and include; continuity of care given to the child, the child`s sense of security, the child`s own wishes, the parents` wishes, the age of the child, the cultural makeup of the child, material circumstances of the parents and also that siblings should not be separated.
As a general rule, the court takes the view that siblings should be cared for by the same parent. If a split custody order is sought, then the parents must file affidavits in support of such a split custody order and explain in what way this would be in the best interests of the children.
CARE AND CONTROL
Care and control refers to which parent the child lives with on a day-to-day basis. There may also a situation in which care and control of children is split in much the same way as there is a split custody order. This would involve the children splitting their time equally between both parents’ homes.
Generally, the non-custodial parent of the child will have access to the child. Such orders can be governed by a court order or may be sorted out between parents privately. Access orders can be liberal, reasonable or supervised depending on factors such as the child’s needs and wishes.
Each parent has a legal obligation to provide maintenance for their child up to the age of 21 years old. This position remains the same regardless of who has custody and whether the child is illegitimate.
The Courts will usually order parents to support the child until the child finishes tertiary education; thus, when the child is nearing the age to attend university, the parent can apply to vary the maintenance order to take into account the increase in the amount of school fees.
Our lawyers look at the unique circumstances of each case, and explain your rights and responsibilities, in order to help you make the right informed decisions as to the welfare of your child.