Legal and Practical Aspects of Child Custody, Visitation and Maintenance: A Case Study in SNNP Regional State
Although divorce disrupts the marital bond thereby terminating marital rights and obligations, each parent’s obligations to the wellbeing and upbringing of children (custody, visitation rights, and maintenance) persists. This article examines the practice of courts with regard to child custody, visitation rights and obligation to supply maintenance in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) Regional State. The experience of various court decisions in SNNP Regional State with respect to these matters is explored. Since the laws do not have detailed provisions that regulate the various issues of child custody, visitation and child support, there is inconsistency in judicial decisions. Many decisions do not distinguish between physical and legal custody. As a result, the legal and physical custody of the child usually rest on the same person. With regard to visitation, there is variation in court decisions although the conventional arrangement seems standard visitation. In some cases, courts specify the duration and form of visitation. However, in many cases, courts do not indicate how and when visitation shall be allowed. There are cases where courts overlook the issue of visitation. There is also inconsistency in court decisions with regard to child support. These problems call for detail provisions to ensure consistency and predictability in child custody, visitation and child support decisions.
Key termsFamily · Divorce · Child custody · Visitation · Maintenance