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The Equality Court

I read an interesting article in a magazine about three fathers who claim that their rights of contact to their children have been denied.  On their version they believe the family advocate and the police have discriminated against them.

These three men have taken the matter a step further and have taken their cases in a “test case” about to make legal history in South Africa to the “Equality Court”.

One individual points out that the office of the family advocate behaves as if it’s in control of children.  He says that that is “illegal”, and that the High Court is.  He further mentions that certain people at the offices of the family advocate have a reputation for being biased.

Quite interesting are some statistics mentioned.  In the 2009/2010 financial year the police received about 74 000 complaints from fathers about mothers who ignore court orders.  Only one case went to court.

One man further goes on to say that “malicious” behaviour of women is the main reason for fathers being denied contact to their children.  He says that the family advocate simply believes false allegations of domestic violence and alcohol and drug abuse without any investigation.

At the end of the day the final decision on the care and contact of the child rests with the High Court.  The High Court is presented with a family advocate’s report which they can choose to agree with or not.  Often they do agree with it.  I personally have never experienced a “biased” family advocate.  They do however take allegations of drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence seriously.  It is their duty to properly investigate any such allegations.

The fact of the matter is that the family advocates are legally qualified individuals.  They are under extreme pressure usually and have a backlog of work.  Their job is essential as the court itself needs them to do an investigation.  They must however thoroughly investigate allegations of drug and alcohol abuse.  There are always two sides to a story.

I do find that the fact that the police receive as many complaints about parents who ignore court orders and that these matters don’t go to court, to be quite alarming.  Something has to be done about this.  Failure to comply with a court order is contempt of court.  People should be punished for this and the police should intervene.

In my cases I act on behalf of my client, whether male or female, and try to get the best possible result for them.  That is my job as an attorney.  It is good however to see that finally the fathers who have been denied contact for no reason are getting more and more rights.

Related Articles

Challenging the Family Advocate Report

Cape High Court divorces

Domestic Violence

Guardianship of children: recent case


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