How to find a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, South Africa

Child custody to the father

These days it is quite common for the children in a divorce situation to end up living with their father more than their mother. Single father families are very often formed by divorce, but sometimes also by the death of a wife or partner. Is a single father family in the best interests of the child?

A single father household may consist of a father and his children only, a father, his children and a cohabiting partner or a father, his children and extended family. The most common situation is a father and his own children.

Studies have shown that fathers who are single are usually younger than married fathers, but not as young as single mothers. Usually single fathers have fewer children than married fathers, but are more likely to live in households with relatives.

What effect do mothers and fathers have on educational achievement? Studies have shown that in low income communities, fathers’ influence has been found to be more significant than the mothers’ for boys but not girls. Fathers, according to the studies, exert greater influence than mothers on boys’ educational choices. Studies also show that fathers’ risk- avoidance behaviour has a positive impact on sons’ (but not daughters’) educational attainment and that fathers’ income predicts sons’ (but not daughters’) years of schooling. The studies show that in hierarchical communities, fathers’ influence may be more powerful on children of both sexes.

One of the points of concern for single custodial fathers is that related to work issues. Single fathers sometimes have to work late and travel for business. Studies show that a family support system is very important when raising children and the single father often struggles to establish and maintain such a support network. Studies show also that the single father often struggles establishing an appropriate level of intimacy with his daughter when she reaches teenage years.

The Constitution says that we are all equal in the eyes of the law and that is why our law favours joint custody these days. Joint custody allows fathers equal participation in the lives of their children to the mothers. Joint custody does not mean however that the children always spend time in both homes.

If the children end up living with their father, this does not mean that their mother is a bad parent. This could be for any number of reasons. It could be for example that the mother moved out of town due to her work, and that the children are better off staying in the same house and same neighbourhood where all their families are.

Growing up without a father can cause difficulties in a child’s life, such as distress, anger, self-doubt and bullying. But when the child ends up with a mother who is struggling to cope financially or struggling to be a single parent, this also leads to many difficulties for the child. Only a social worker or family advocate can really decide what is in the best interests of the child in each specific case.

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