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Barend B.
Barend B., Legal Consultant
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1356
Experience:  BLC LLB (Pret) LLM (Augsburg)
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A brief explanation on our situation, My partner and I have

Customer Question

A brief explanation on our situation,
My partner and I have been living together now for a while, she has a minor and is married.
Almost 3 years ago she left her ex-husband due to adultery and abuse (have photos as proof of abuse).
He simply refuses to sign the divorce papers and is using the minor child to make our lives hell.
1. He is aggressive and threatens / swears at us all the time.
2. We have simple rules in our house to help her little girl, bed time is 9pm, she is 11 years old so has to sleep in her own room and she has to study during the day after school because she is having issues at school. He refuses to support this and tells her that if she doesn't want to follow our rules it's ok, she has to call him and he will come sort it out. He keeps telling her that he will take her away from us and go to court, basically mentally abusing the child.
3. He is always drunk, she herself said she is scared of driving with him when he is drunk.
4. She does not have a bed at his house, she has to sleep with him in his bed.
5. We gave her a contract cellphone so that we can call her, he simply took the phone and is now using it himself, refusing to give it back.
6. He does not pay any maintenance, we came to an arrangement of him paying the school fees at least, we received a letter saying he doesn't pay school fees and that we should find another school (she is in a small private school).
7. When she get's pocket / birthday money he always takes it and never gives it back to her.
8. Everything we are trying to achieve he tries to break down, there is a lot of jealousy involved here as we are moving on with our lives and hes not.
9. He does not care about anything, how well she is doing in school, emotionally coping, nothing. He keeps on telling her that we are sending her to boarding school which is not true and she is scared of going. He is always trying to interfere with everything we do.
Please advice on what actions we should take.
Kind Regards.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Barend B. replied 8 months ago.

Good afternoon,

I can relate to your situation. My daughter is almost 11, and I face a similar situation where I don't agree with her mother on her upbringing, even though not quite as extreme as in your case.

The first thing you must do, is to make an appointment with a child psychologist. The courts makes orders which are in the best interest of the child. The mental abuse is not in the best interest of the child. It is even your partner's DUTY to do something about the mental abuse and try to stop it. There have been court cases where a mother, who did not do anything to stop verbal abuse, was herself convicted of child abuse. So it is very important to get the child to a child psychologist. The child psychologist will give you guidance as to what might be in the best interest of the child and will also help the child to understand why she is getting mixed messages from the adults.

Secondly, the father does not need to sign any divorce papers. The attorney should simply place the matter on the roll and let the law takes it course from there. If he defends the divorce, then it is going to take a long time, but at least he can't stop it.

Thirdly, your attorney should apply for a Rule 43 order for interim maintenance pending the finalisation of the divorce, together with custody of the child, and only supervised visitation by the father until the Family Advocate has finalised its report and until he has made adequate provision for the child to sleep over.

Fourthly, you should also apply for a family violence interdict. Violence is not limited to physical violence, but also emotional and financial bullying. In the family violence interdict you can prevent him from bad mouthing you or your partner, swearing at you, telling lies, and forcing him to pay the school fees (but the latter can also be addressed in the Rule 43 order) and refund the pocket money and costs of the cell phone.