Children have a right to love and respect from both parents, and these qualities are important yardsticks when determining custody and the contact that each parent will have with the child. If a custodian parent abuses his or her position by poisoning the minds of the children against the other spouse, such person may be deprived of custody.A functional family is one which encourages and creates an atmosphere within which all the family members can best realise their potential. It is thus essential that parents create a “safe harbour” for children and a home atmosphere which is conducive to the well-being of the child.
It has become very popular in South Africa for parents to agree on joint custody, where the duties in the raising of each child are attended to by both parties jointly.
It is ideal to evaluate a custody dispute in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of at least a legal representative, a social worker and or clinical psychologist. The behavioural experts in the team have the task of answering questions relating to parental fitness of the parties honestly and objectively.