Rights regarding child custody vary from country to country so it is important to seek legal advice in the country you are in before pursuing any rash action. Sometimes the state favours one parent over the other which can be extremely difficult for both the mother and father of the children. A whole host of rules are based on the custody settlement in most divorces including guardianship and visitation of the children. This becomes even more difficult when children are born out of wedlock, because the kids are often simply forced to live with the richer parent.
In South Africa, it is not advisable for a woman to have children without being married, because rights regarding child custody are extremely patriarchal and insensitive. When kids are born out of wedlock they are immediately assigned the surname of their father, and this stands against women in court. A divorce is never easy for either parent, and it certainly isn’t easy for the children. It is always best to talk with your children about where they will live, what guardianship means and how visitation might work. It is not always easy for a mother or father to spend time together after the event, which makes this even more difficult. It is thus essential that you seek the advice of a lawyer before you pursue any sort of action against your partner.
A divorce is not an easy thing, but staying married to the wrong person is not better. Remember that although you may be a mother or father, you are also a person with your own needs which must have some priority in your life. It is difficult to get maintenance from a parent who will not pay which is why finding a lawyer and getting their advice is essential, particularly about the rights regarding child custody.