Who is a solo parent?
It could be someone who is married, divorced, separated or never been married. Society is generally unkind to women who parent alone outside of marriage and sympathetic to those who solo parent within a marriage. Those ones are considered as unfortunate in their relationships. There is a growing number of single ladies who are procreating without need for a husband or a marriage relationship. Until outlawed, these ladies are part of the society they live in and issues such as this concern them too.
Not all people choose to be solo parents? For those who have become single by virtue of death, there isn’t much of a choice and it would be a bit unfair to imagine they chose such. The same goes for those ladies who become solo parents because of the consequences of rape?
When a couple fall out of love with each other and acknowledge that the relationship has died, they need to understand that the parent/child relationship that has ensued does not die. Even if the love feeling of parent/child ebbs the legal relationship doesn’t have an end.
A child is entitled to be raised by both parents, despite the physical separation of his parents. A child has rights under the law even when the parents have severed their own rights as a couple. When couples fight, and separate, the child or children can only live with either of the parents at any given time. Custody is not reward for a well fought fight. Custody is an arrangement of convenience for the purposes of the emotional well-being of the child. It is not a gift to one parent to the exclusion of the other parent. An award of custody is a joint responsibility regardless of who gets the daily living together.
Custody is not a licence or sentence to sole parenting. Parents need to put aside their feelings of hate or aggression and face the joint task of looking after the kids. Parenting is not only about money but about a child’s mental and emotional upbringing. Each parent has as much responsibility for that as the other.
Why would a parent not wish to be involved with the upbringing of their child?
- When paternity is denied.This is a serious issue and needs to be resolved as soon as the medical tests can be done to determine a child’s paternity. Kudos to the fathers who bear responsibility for a child that is not their but there is no legal requirement to do so. There however is a legal requirement of a father to look after a child born as a result of his relationship and one who carries his DNA. The law is able to compel the man to take the test where he is not willing to do so.
- Where there is a new family. When a party starts to build a new family, they may not want the child or children of their former relationship in their new family structure. There are many people, men and women, who fight for custody only to hand the child over to a member of their extended family. This is not the intention of winning custody. Custody must never be seen as a trophy for winning a war. The deprived parent may apply to court to set aside the custody order and ask to be granted the custody.
- When there isn’t enough money to go round and extended family or church and society responsibilities takes precedence This reason is simply irresponsible. There are many who because of societal pressure are unwilling to look after their children properly. They are seen in high society living irresponsible lives. Law requires that even where the parent is unable to contribute financially they must contribute emotionally and responsibly
- When the absent parent wants to punish the available parent or wants custody at all costs.When love dies, many times it births resentment and aggression. To this end, the parent who doesn’t have the physical custody, but who has a financial responsibility simply doesn’t pay. The maintenance fees that are not paid remain as debt to the available parent, and may be enforced by a court bailiff.
- When there was never an agreement to have the child and the mother felt that was a way to keep the man Unfortunately the deception of a mother doesn’t absolve a father from responsibility for his child. It is always best not to have unprotected intercourse with a woman, when a man does not wish to have children with.
Solo parenting is not fun. It is a lonely and emotionally stressful experience. It is important to ask for help even from the other parent and never a show of weakness. The paramount consideration, when one asks for help or takes decisions on behalf of the child, should always be the child’s best interest.
Solo parenting will always be, as long as people fall in and out of love. It should therefore be viewed as a responsibility that each parent has for all times. When a child knows that though his father and mother are no longer together, but that they still care about him, it helps to build the child into a strong and responsible adult.
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I am Sisi Lawyer and I troubleshoot legal issues in troubled relationships of the heart. Why not make a comment here or send me an email at email@example.com