When I started the topic on single mom’s, my intention was to touch on all aspects that affect them, the child, the father and most importantly, how the rest of the world can help. In part 1, we looked at the general overview of some of the things that single moms go through in life, challenges they face and how society can play a role in lifting this burden. In part 2 however, I want to touch on issues that are extremely subjective as I have encountered a vast amount of situations that don’t victimize single moms like part 1 of my series portrays, instead they bring out an unhealthy aspect that I have hope will enlighten most.
In our society, there are some mothers who find themselves alone after a bad divorce or failed relationship. In some of these cases, the women carry a lot of resentment and bitterness towards the man. Regardless of whether the man is stepping up to the occasion or not, they just want to inflect pain on him and unfortunately they use the child to do this. I have seen enough scenarios whereby women withhold visits from the father as a manipulative stance to get what they want. Some exaggerate the financial needs of the child to the father so they can profit from that. Women who do this paint a bad picture for the rest of the women who have the real needs and rights. People end up generalizing and single moms are seen as ruthless and senseless because of a minority.
Some justify their actions of withholding visits by saying they are not receiving any financial help from the fathers. Be that as it may, why then use the child as a tool to get money. There are many other ways of addressing that problem which does not involve hurting your child in the process. A valid excuse of domestic violence or other heavy criminal activities can be reasons for eliminating visits. Supervised visits in some occasions can be much better alternatives to restricted visits. Bottom line is, growing up without a father is not an easy thing for a child. They will always have questions that need to be answered and voids that need to be filled no matter how superb you are at your job of being a mom. Most men who feel deprived of their rights, tend to take the matter to court, which is a tiring process for all parties. Lawyers of South Africa say “Battling maintenance and visitation rights with an ex-spouse can be a difficult and unpleasant part of divorce proceedings. Bear in mind, however, that despite the difficulties between you and your estranged partner, your children should still come first, and you need to minimize the negative effects of the divorce on them as much as possible”
Going to court to claim ridiculous amounts of money for child support is also another route to be avoided. In determining what amount is fair to claim for maintenance, you need to work out how much you actually need to pay for your children each month. If you only have custody of your children once a month, you cannot in fairness claim for their full monthly expenses. If you come into maintenance court asking for a reasonable amount as opposed to an outrageous sum of money, the courts are likely to look more favorable on you. When claiming for maintenance, you also need to be cognisant of what you used to pay for your children, and ensure this does not suddenly escalate to unrealistic levels. For instance, if your child did not have private piano, swimming and violin lessons before the divorce, it would be unreasonable to suddenly demand that the maintenance amount covers all of this as well.
I’m not an expert in family law, but what I do know is that a mother has to put her child’s needs first before her own.