PRIMARY RESIDENCE AND CONTACT
When a relationship or marriage ends and separation or divorce begins, if Minor Children are involved, they should be the main focus of the situation. Who gets Primary Residence (Custody) of the Minor Children? What are the Contact (Access) arrangements? Is there a Parenting Plan in place?
Experience has shown that Mothers in general largely believe they have entitlement in this regard. Often they are right and they are deserving of and are granted Primary Residence of the Minor Children.
Alas, sometimes they not only assume that Primary Residence is their automatic right but they further believe that they are permitted to receive maintenance and deny access rights to the Fathers. Their theory is based on the premise that they can hold the children to ransom for more money, material gain or some form of bargaining about holidays and etcetera. In these matters they are wrong.
All too often, Parents become selfish and lose sight of what is best for their children. When this happens, their reasoning becomes seriously flawed and their methodology of using the Minor Children as bargaining tools is deplorable.
Over the years, man has been conditioned to believe that the foregoing is the norm and he has no option but to put up, pay up, and give up. He feels he should consider himself fortunate if he’s allowed to be included in his Minor Children’s lives even occasionally. A victim of bigoted indoctrination, he accepts that Fathers have no rights, so he goes with the flow.
Fathers have been brainwashed by old wives’ tales into believing they have no rights whatsoever – they mistakenly think they are expected to just walk away and forget – leaving them helpless and emotionally abused.
By the same token, Mothers have some deep rooted fear that Fathers will try to use their higher earning power to weight the scales in their favour.
But the law doesn’t work like that.
Children are of major importance and when couples separate whether married or not, the Minor Children’s welfare must be dealt with most carefully – they must come first. Unfortunately, they often suffer the most as they are not treated as people but rather as possessions of the Parents – not children but chattels.
Who then gets awarded primary residence of the children? Who wants it? Which parent will go to the necessary lengths to show the Court that they can provide the children with a good life? It’s not necessarily the parent with the most money. Children can’t be bought, and they can’t be ignored.
It’s the parent who really cares and wants to be with the children and put them first; who wants what’s best for them and wants to provide it; who understands the meaning and importance of family.
Years ago, that parent was automatically assumed to be the Mother. Nowadays, more and more Fathers are stepping forward and proving their worthiness to be considered as a good as the Mothers - and, in a growing number of cases - a better and more suitable parent.
The tests applied by the Courts are quite simple – what is in the best interest of the Minor Children.
All parents who are involved in any aspect of family law find the experience emotionally exhausting and sometimes financially draining. It is exactly because of the high emotional costs and the financial risks that either parent needs good legal representation. A Mother or Father must obtain the services of a Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorney, one who will be sure and represent their and their children’s best interests and protect their rights.
There is no secret selection method; one simply hires the services of an Attorney who specialises in these matters. It is wise to choose the best you can afford and, one with whom you can communicate effectively in order to work through all the complications of your particular situation. Martin Vermaak Attorneys’ Specialist Divorce and Family Law team have a great deal of experience with such matters and ensure that the Minor Children’s best interests are always treated as a priority.