KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: In case of divorce

Every child deserves to grow up in a happy, loving home with both parents. But this isn’t always the case; sometimes parents come to an impasse and decide to end their marriage. Although a lot of things change when parents get divorced, one thing remains true; the right to parental care must be upheld.

Every child deserves to grow up in a happy, loving home with both parents. But this isn’t always the case; sometimes parents come to an impasse and decide to end their marriage. Although a lot of things change when parents get divorced, one thing remains true; the right to parental care must be upheld.

This is why article 231 of law no. 32/2016 of 28/08/2016, the law governing persons and family says that there should be an agreement concerning the custody of children and the contribution each of the parents will make to the maintenance and education of the children.

 

This means that each parent must ensure that the children have food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs even after divorce.

 

The reason why it is necessary to spell out such details regarding parental responsibility is because some mothers and fathers have been known to abandon their children after divorce. And some of them use their cultural beliefs to deal with divorce instead of using the law or putting the children’s needs into consideration.

 

For instance, one of the questions that people often answer incorrectly is, who has the right to take children after a divorce? Some say that children belong to their father. However, this not lawfully or even scientifically true. Children belong to both parents.

Thus, regarding custody, article 243 of the law governing persons and family makes special provisions for children under the age of six, saying that they “must live with their mother unless the interests of the children are in danger.”

Otherwise, depending on the circumstance and best interests of the child, custody can be granted to their mother, father or allow them to share custody. Custody can even be granted to another person altogether.

This is not a permanent decision and can change with circumstance. For example, if the parent who is granted custody mistreats the children, the children can be taken away. The parent who does not have custody of the children can visit, talk to them or be visited by them.

“Regardless of which person the children are placed with,” says article 244 of the law governing persons and family,“parents retain the right to supervise the maintenance and education of their children.”

In addition to parental responsibility, children have the right half of each parent’s property in case of divorce. This is according to article 246 of the law governing persons and family. The property is cared for by the parent who is granted custody. Children can later retrieve the property when they become adults.

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