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"If she no longer wants to have contact with him, that is her choice": A mother opens up about why shared custody isn't the best for her child
"Right from the beginning, my ex-husband was really never part of my 9-year-old daughter’s life so they have never really had that father-daughter bond." A mom shares her experience of shared parenting post-divorce.
One mom who wrote to us to share why co-parenting isn't always in a child's best interest. (iStock)
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Parent24 recently published an article highlighting the limited amount of time fathers are allowed to spend with their children after a divorce, and the importance of having both parents in a child's life. It resonated with one mom who wrote to us to share that in cases like hers, shared parenting isn't always in a child's best interest. 

Read the article this mom is referring here: Are joint custody and shared parenting a child’s right?


Are you a divorced parent? What is your take on joint custody and shared parenting post-divorce? Are you an expert in family law who knows what to do in situations expressed in this reader's letter? Share your story and expert advice by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  


Here's her letter:

"The plan was that she'd see him for supervised visits at a public place every second weekend for 3 hours"

"I enjoyed reading this dad’s story, and to some extent, agree with his opinion of children needing both parents in their lives.

"Having said that, I’m still in the process of getting divorced, it’s been 2 years since I signed those divorce papers (almost as long as we were married) and I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. 

"Right from the beginning, my ex-husband was really never part of my 9-year-old daughter’s life so they have never really had that father-daughter bond like the dad from the article.  

"We were together for 8 years before we got married and now thinking back to our lives then, I shouldn’t have said I do. I was abused physically, mentally and financially. 

"Last December, we were requested to attend a meeting at the Family Advocate to discuss custody and visitation, the plan was that she'd see him for supervised visits at a public place every second weekend for 3 hours and my daughter said she was happy with this arrangement as long as someone is with her when she sees him.

"That Saturday the visit ended up being only an hour long since he had to rush off for 'work in Durban', which both my daughter and I knew was a lie as he is still unemployed, and a mutual acquaintance contacted me to let me know he was still in their area the whole weekend. 

"He would just pop up out of the blue" 

"Since then he has not contacted me to arrange visits with her, instead, he would just pop up out of the blue in our area and show his face for a few minutes with her, usually with someone and 90% of the time he was high. 

"I knew this due to his bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. My daughter’s behaviour started to change towards my partner and I after her father had been around; she would be rude and disrespectful towards us and I even noticed a drastic drop in her marks at school. I decided to take her to a child psychologist to see what was up. 

"We arrived at the offices and my daughter said she wanted to speak to the psychologist alone. My daughter had told the lady she no longer wanted to see her father as every time he came around she would have feelings of concern for her safety as well as mine, to an extent that she would not be able to concentrate on her school work fearing he would just pop up anywhere, anytime and harm us.

"I have since contacted the Family Advocate and arranged for a follow-up meeting with my daughter so that she can advise on her wishes. He has read the emails to the Family Advocate but recently just showed up in our area looking for my daughter, and when she saw the car she ran and jumped into my car and laid on the floor saying, 'Mommy!! Why is he here? Didn’t you tell him I don’t want to see him?', with tears in her eyes she said he’ll see her in my car and decided to run into my friends flat and hide there until he left. 

"He casually drove passed my car, not sure if he even noticed I was sitting in it, and left. My daughter came out of the flat and went to play with her friends again. 

"Whatever choice she makes I will give her my support"

"All I want is for my daughter to be happy and healthy, and even more importantly, I want her to be mentally healthy. If she no longer wants to have contact with him, that is her choice and whatever choice she makes I will give her my support. 

"I am very fortunate to have met a wonderful man that stepped in and stepped up to being a stepfather to my daughter. She loves him to bits and you would never say this is her stepfather by the way they interact and the bond they have formed, he always makes sure she feels loved and safe. So, she has a good father figure in her life and my father also plays an important male role model figure in her life. 

"So yes, I fully agree with children needing to have a say in what the plan of visitation should be, if any, because at the end of the day it will have a direct impact on them.

"I, however, don’t agree that both parents are always needed in the child’s life if one parent is impacting a child negatively. Of course, as said in the article I read, every situation, every divorce and every child is different because of the things that were experienced." 

Are you a divorced parent? What is your take on joint custody and shared parenting post-divorce? Are you an expert in family law who knows what to do in situations expressed in this reader's letter? Share your story and expert advice by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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