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17 Feb 2004

Custody of Child
My son is 4 years old and has been living in Ct with his mother for the last years and a half. We have been seperated for two and a half years. I see him at least once a month when he stays with me for week( sometimes longer ). My son and I have an excellent relationship and a very strong bond. We are now contemplating whether he should come to live with me, say from next year onwards. I have a feeling that we need to see child ph. for advice on the best way forward and if this si the best way to go. What would your advice be and could anyone put me in touch with a support group or child ph. as this will involve a change of custody or possible joint custody.

Regards
Answer 424 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Gavin, Lucia sounds like she udnerstands the situation well. If the mother is in agreement with the lad coming to live with you ( presmably with her being able to visit and spend time with him ) and you two are separated bu not divorces, then so far as I know it's up to the two of you to decide as you both think best. If, as is usually the case, there is room for potential conflict and disagreement later on, it could be well worth it, when you two have decided, to get a lawyer to seek a court decision to formalize that agreement and make it more binding.
Lucia is also right that kids are usually more resilient and adaptable than we expect, fortunately, and usually cope pretty well with such changes, especially as he has already maintained a good relationship with you. If the two of you are in agreement with whatever arrangements for custody seem wise to you both, then the court can simply accept and formalize that. An expert's testimony is unlikely to be needed ( your lawyer would advise specifically on that ) unless the issue is contested, if you and your ex differ strongly about what would be best.
Then, if such testimony is really needed, as few good shrinks in SA specialize in giving expert testimony as such, your best bet would be to find a good local child psychologist to see the boy, and prepare a report. You could call the Stellenbosch University Mental health Info centre in the Dept of Psychiatry there, for names of such child srinks in CT.
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