Question posted in the Family Law category relating to Eastern Cape
I have a 7 year old child and the father of the child was absent for the 1st 4 years of his life. The past couple of year he's been on & off my child's life. He doesn't contribute anything towards the child.
Recently he has filled a complain to the social workers that I am negligent mother and he wants sole custody of my child. The case is already going to court without even the social worker coming to my house to investigate the claims. Whenever i call the social worker to find out what's going on they are not being upfront - the only information I get is that I have a court date. (I suspect foul play between my child's father & the social worker).
After much thought, I want to counter his claim & get sole custody of my child, Since I've been raising him by myself anyways. Also i want to lay a complain against the social worker on this case as I suspect unethical practice. I need to know how do I go about doing those two things?
Answer to the Question
Hi there and thank you for your question,
I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.
First, there is no such thing as sole custody anymore. The new term is "primary care giver". At the moment, you are the primary care giver to your child. The father is also a care giver. You can't take that away from him.
The only way for him to become the primary care giver is (1) by agreement with you, or (2) through a court order which makes him the primary care giver.
What you should know is that you have to give him "reasonable rights of access" to your child. This might mean once a week for a few hours, or it might also mean on weekends, or such like.
The social worker is not able to make these decisions themselves. Only a magistrate can do that.
What you need to do is to tell the child's father that you are not negligent, and if he says so, he must go to court. Tell him that you know your rights and you know that the court has to serve a notice on you advising you of the court date. And if no notice has been delivered, then there is no court date.
In relation to the social worker, you can complain to the department of health about this person's conduct and of how he/she is lying to you.
If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.
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Information provided by client
How do I go about laying a complain to the department of health?
Answer to the Question
This might be your best bet! SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL SERVICES PROFRESSIONS