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Emigration and relocation from South Africa – Children’s Rights and that of Mother and Father

Emigration and Relocation from South African with the minor child

Legal Resources and Advice regarding emigration and relocation from South Africa to the UK, USA etc.

Are you intending on relocating to any one of the popular destination countries below?

  • United Kingdom (UK)

  • Australia

  • United States of America (USA)

  • New Zealand

  • Canada

  • Angola

  • Botswana

  • Chile

  • Zimbabwe

  • Germany

  • Netherlands

  • Swaziland

  • Israel

  • Portugal

  • Mozambique

  • Ireland

  • Malawi

  • Switzerland

  • Namibia

  • Greece

Are there possible consent issues regarding passports, and relocation or emigration? If you answered yes,  have a look at the articles on this website that you may of use.

Consent for Relocation and Passport Application for minor children

The father does not want to consent to a passport and the Relocation from South Africa with my minor child. What are my rights?

Relocating from South Africa with your child - When do you need consent from the father? Relocation - If you were born and raised in South Africa, it does not mean that you have to live there for the rest of your life. There are opportunities elsewhere in the world to live and continue your life's journey. This may include a neighbouring country, or on another continent like Europe. Wherever it is, there are a few things to consider should you wish to relocate with your minor child. This is especially so if you are not relocating with the father. If you are the only parent to your child, then this article may not apply to you. This is where we will start off this article. The other parent when it comes to relocation If you are a mother and was never married to the father of your child, the father may have guardianship rights. This would be the case even though the father's name is not mentioned on the child's birth certificate. This is so as the Children's Act affords certain rights to unmarried fathers. Therefore, if an unmarried father has parental rights and responsibilities of guardianship, his consent is required. This we deal with next. Guardian's Consent for relocation and passport - What does the law say? The Children's Act states the following: 18 Parental responsibilities and rights (1) A person may have either full or specific parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child. (2) The parental responsibilities and rights that a person may have in respect of a child, include the responsibility and the right- (a) to care for the child; (b) to maintain contact with the child; (c) to act as guardian of the child; and (d) to contribute to the maintenance of the child. (3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), a parent or other person who acts as guardian of a child must- (a) administer and safeguard the child's property and property interests; (b) assist or represent the child in administrative, contractual and other legal matters; or (c) give or refuse any consent required by law in respect of the child, including- (i) consent to the child's marriage; (ii) consent to the child's adoption; (iii) consent to the child's departure or removal from the Republic; (iv) consent to the child's application for a passport; and (v) consent to the alienation or encumbrance ...
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Child born out of wedlock - Rights of parents

Child born out of wedlock: Mother will not consent to her surname change and to be registered as her biological father. What can I do?

My Child was born out of wedlock: Her mother will not consent to her surname change and for me to be registered as her biological father. What can I do? It often happens that a child is registered at the Department of Home Affairs with the mother’s surname, and later the father wants the child to have his surname. The opposite is also true. This is when the child has the father’s surname, and the mother wants her to have her surname. This often happens in cases of children born out of wedlock, or in cases where the parents are divorced. So, what can a parent do to change the child’s surname? Read on to find out the answers below. Then there is the other scenario where the details of the father are not provided when registering the child with the Department of Home Affairs. One reason for this could be that the mother is not certain who the father is, or just does not want him to be associated with the child. Either way, that section of the child’s birth registration is left blank. Now, what can such a father, or child do under such a situation? We approached Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf, a Family Law Expert for some advice on this issue. Read on if you want to know more. What is a surname? A surname connects you to your family, ancestors and heritage. On a rare occasion, your last name can be an omen that you carry with you for the rest of your life. Each parent would prefer to have their offspring have their family name to connect their child to them. But sometimes, getting it right can be a challenge, especially if the child’s parents are not married and do not share the same surname. You may find the following articles interesting: How do I get full custody over my child? Parental Child Abuse in Custody Cases Relocate with a minor child. Parent Refusing Consent for a Passport Father being refused contact with his child! What are his rights as a Father? Father's Parental Responsibilities and Rights to his Child Urgent Access to your Children without a Lawyer Parenting Plans and the Law What happens in a custody dispute where one parent is mentally ill? How to win your child custody and access court case – Tips and Tricks Most people get married, and the wife ...
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Relocation and Passport Application consent for a minor child

Consent for minor child for relocation and passport application

I intend to leave South Africa and relocate with my minor child of the National Lockdown. What do I need to be aware of? Have a look at the checklist below. With Covid-19 and the National Lockdown in South Africa, many things have changed. People re-looked their lives and started thinking differently about the future. As international travel is phasing in, relocating to another country may be something you have strongly considered. Now can you do it with your minor child? Reasons people relocate to other countries There is no reason to only live in one country for your entire life. Your work or partner in life may force you to leave South Africa and relocate to another country. Many people relocate to the United States of America, United Kingdom, Asia, and the Middle East, to mention a few. You may even want to go back to your country of birth. Relocating with a minor child When a parent wishes to leave South Africa and relocate to another country with a minor child, there are certain things he or she needs to be aware of. In essence, it is the issue of consent from the other parent or co-guardian. The reason for requiring consent is due to the prescripts of the Children's Act. Section 18(3) of the Children's Act states the following: (3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), a parent or other person who acts as guardian of a child must- (a) administer and safeguard the child's property and property interests; (b) assist or represent the child in administrative, contractual and other legal matters; or (c) give or refuse any consent required by law in respect of the child, including- (i) consent to the child's marriage; (ii) consent to the child's adoption; (iii) consent to the child's departure or removal from the Republic; (iv) consent to the child's application for a passport; and (v) consent to the alienation or encumbrance of any immovable property of the child. Sections 18(4) and 18(5) states: (4) Whenever more than one person has guardianship of a child, each one of them is competent, subject to subsection (5), any other law or any order of a competent court to the contrary, to exercise independently and without the consent of the other any right or responsibility arising from such guardianship. (5) Unless a competent court orders otherwise, the consent of all the persons that have ...
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What are the rights of unmarried mothers and fathers wanting to travel overseas with their minor child if consent is refused?

What are the rights of unmarried mothers and fathers wanting to travel overseas with their minor child if consent is refused?

I am an unmarried mother. I want to take my child with me on a holiday overseas, but the biological father of my child does not want to give consent and co-operate. What are my, and our child’s rights for a passport and to visit the United Kingdom? South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We have mountains, seas, forests, lakes, and dams. It is the ideal holiday destination, and a countless number of people flock to our shores every year. But now and again, South Africans want to leave our borders and go on holiday to another country. For this, one usually only requires an air ticket, passport, and a visa. And of course, some money. Now the process of traveling overseas would be simple if you are an adult going on your own, or with another adult. What if a single parent wants to travel overseas with a minor child? But what if you want to travel overseas with your minor child? When we say minor child, we refer to a child under the age of 18 years old. Under normal circumstances, both parents would co-operate in applying for a visa and a passport for the minor child. But what if this is not the case? What if one parent does not want to consent to the minor child going overseas with the other parent? Let us explore the issues and laws involved. The parenting scenario – unmarried parents and the child Let’s say a couple had a child together and they are now separated. They were never married. The father was actively involved in the child’s life since the child’s birth. He paid child maintenance regularly and visited the child often. However, when the child was three (3) years old, he had challenges in obtaining regular contact with the minor child. Father approaches the Children’s Court The father then approaches the children’s court and he was awarded reasonable contact. This entailed him having the minor child every second weekend and a half of the school holidays. Telephone and special days' contact were also incorporated in the Court Order. The mother approaches the maintenance court The mother then took the father to the maintenance court, as according to her, the amount he was currently paying was not enough. The matter was then resolved and it was ordered that the father pays for all ...
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Relocation with minor child from South Africa

Frequently asked questions regarding relocation and consent when it comes to minor children

Frequently asked questions regarding relocation and consent when it comes to minor children Relocation - Are you planning on relocating to another country or moving to a different province within South Africa with your minor child? Are you concerned about the issue of consent from the other parent? Below are some frequently asked, and related questions on the topic. We would encourage you to post and answer some of the questions, or just leave a comment. Parents often decide to relocate with their minor children. However, they do not always understand the legal requirements and implications involved. For example, can they just leave the country with the minor child or do they require the other parents' consent? Furthermore, if consent is required and refused; what are the remedies available to that parent? With regard to the issue of moving from one province to another, unless a court order stipulates otherwise, consent is not required. However, the relocation from one province to another could have an effect on existing parental responsibilities and rights. Under these circumstances, a variation of the court order would be warranted. There are therefore also other issues involved when it comes to relocation. For example, what contact would the other parent who remains in South Africa have to the minor children after relocation? The aforementioned questions and a range of other related questions may be posed and answered below. Feel free to post your question should this blog post not have answered it. Can I move from South Africa to the United Kingdom with my child without the father's permission? If the father has parental responsibilities and rights of guardianship, his consent is required for the relocation to the United Kingdom. For example, if the father and the mother were married, then under those circumstances unless an order of court determines otherwise, the father's consent is required. If the father was not married to the mother, but in a long term relationship when the child was born, and involved in the child’s life after birth, then his consent under the circumstances would also be required. What do I do if the father refuses to consent to relocate to Germany? If a parent refuses to provide the necessary consent for relocation to another country, in this case, Germany, then the Court must be approached. Basically, you would ask the court to dispense with the requirement of the father’s consent ...
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Passport Application fro a Minor Child where father cannot be found or does not give consent.

Passport Application for my child. I cannot find the father to give consent at the Department of Home Affairs

Passport Application for a minor child: Mother cannot find the father to provide the necessary consent at the Department of Home Affairs. The Application is therefore refused. Passport Application for a minor child: It is not easy being a single parent, and at the same time, the primary caregiver of the child. This is even so where the other parent pays child support and regularly sees the child. This article deals with the situation where the father of the child is missing. He, therefore, does not pay any child support, nor has a relationship with the child. This causes a problem when it comes to issues of guardianship rights. For example, when the mother wants to enrol the child in a school or provide medical consent. The question would always arise - "where is the father?", or "did the father give his consent?" When it comes to official matters, for example, the application for a passport, then things become more complicated. This is where the issue of parental consent for the application for a passport is looked at. Now let us first deal with the law. Parental Responsibilities and Rights of Fathers In short, if a father was married to the mother, he would automatically have full parental responsibilities and rights to the child born from them. This includes the rights of care, contact and guardianship. If he was not married to the mother of the child, he can acquire parental responsibilities and rights. In short, in order for the unmarried father to acquire parental responsibilities and rights, he has to form part of the child's life. He may also attempt to do so and the mother hinders it from happening. In the latter situation, he would still acquire parental responsibilities and rights. The Unmarried Father's Rights The unmarried father can acquire parental responsibilities and rights to his child in a number of ways. They include paying child support, visiting the child and so on. Therefore, not all fathers would have parental responsibilities and rights over their children. Some fathers just impregnated the mothers and went missing. Such a father cannot rock up, 12 years later and demand to take the child with him to the movies. I think you understand the point  we are trying to make. What is the legal effect of having parental responsibilities and rights over a child? Should a father have parental responsibilities and rights ...
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Passport Applications for a Minor Child - Parent Refusing Consent and to Co-operate

Passport Application of a Minor Child and Consent – Department of Home Affairs

Passport Applications for minor children: What you need to know - Department of Home Affairs - Questions  and Answers Should you require any advice on an application for a passport of a minor, where the co-parent refuses to consent or co-operate;  feel free to set up a consultation with us. You may call 0211110090 or click here to do it online. Leaving South Africa, and visiting another country is something many people do on a daily basis. The reason, therefore, could either be for a holiday, business, a death in the family, and so on. Or it might be to relocate to another country to start a new life, either alone, or with your spouse or children. Whatever the reason is, you require a passport when leaving South Africa. For an adult, all you need to do is visit your nearest Department of Home Affairs Offices, with proof of identity, and the prescribed fees, and take your picture, fingerprints, etc. However, if you are a minor child, under the age of 18, it is not that simple. You would need to go with both your parents, and they need to provide their consent. Parental Consent and Co-operation for a Passport Application of a Minor child According to Section 18 (3) of the Children's Act, both parent's consent is required for a minor's application for a passport. This is why we refer to consent and co-operation. Co-operation in the sense of going with to the Department of Home Affairs and giving the consent. Now, this can cause a problem should a parent not agree to the application for a passport. Therefore, one of two things could happen in practice should there be children involved. Either the parent would have to go overseas without the children, or not at all. Before we deal with such a scenario in detail, a bit later, let's look at the law in a bit more detail. A child's Constitutional right to a Passport Our Constitution, Act 108 of 1996 is the supreme law of the Country. All laws and practices should be in line with it. Therefore, it's always a good idea to find out what it says. Section 21(4) of our Constitution states the following: "Every citizen has the right to a passport." This is a fundamental right. The question would then be asked, if that is a fundamental right, why would you still require ...
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Relocation - Refusal of Consent for passport and removal

Relocate with minor child. Parent Refusing Consent for a Passport

Parent Refusing Relocation, and Passport Application for Minor Child Often times, a parent would want to travel overseas, relocate or emigrate, and take the child with. However, the practical aspects thereof are not that easy. For starters, your child requires a passport. And what does the law say about passports of a minor child? As you would see later, both parents holding parental responsibilities and rights of guardianship should consent to a minor child obtaining a passport. That is a requirement in Law. But let’s say your child already has a passport. Can you still take your minor child out of the country or relocate? Yes, you can, as long as you have the consent of the other parent. This article does not only apply to parents of minor children who are not married to each other or separated. It applies to all parents of children holding parental responsibilities and rights over them, married, separated, or divorced. Before we move on, let us look at the most popular countries South African's relocate to. Popular relocation countries for South Africans If you wish to emigrate from South Africa, there are many places in this world to consider. Some would be more ideal than others. But it all depends on the reason for the relocation. Here is a list of the top countries South Africans and emigrating to: United Kingdom (UK) Australia United States of America (USA) New Zealand Canada Angola Botswana Chile Zimbabwe Germany Netherlands Swaziland Israel Portugal Mozambique Ireland Malawi Switzerland Namibia Greece If you intend to relocate to a country or region not mentioned above, read on, this article still applies to you. The parent refuses to consent to emigration Parents of minor children differ on many things. Sometimes it's minor issues. For instance, which clothes the child should wear. However, some disagreements are serious and exhausting.  For instance, what school should the minor child attend, or extra-mural activities to partake in? What school a child attend can affect the contact rights of parents when they live in separate homes. Now turning to this article. What if one parent wants to go away on holiday or relocate with the child, and the other parent refuses to give consent. One obvious reason to object to a relocation would be that the parent that remains in South Africa may not see the child for some time. This becomes a problem if ...
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Marriage Contract - Antenuptial - Prenuptial Agreement

Execute and Register your Antenuptial or Prenuptial Contract

Execute and Register your Ante-nuptial or Prenuptial Contract Marriage is a big step for any two people to take. It is the start of a life together. Getting married is further a legal act where the law affords a married couple with certain rights and responsibilities. For example, the couple has a legal obligation to maintain each other. They may further not marry anyone else whilst so married. And of course, where this article comes into play, married spouses, unless they entered into an ante-nuptial, or prenuptial contract, have a joint estate. In short, there is no longer two separate estates, but one estate, belonging to both of them, in undivided shares. Antenuptial or Prenuptial Contract An Antenuptial or Prenuptial Contract is a legal contract, entered into between you and your intended spouse, outlining the matrimonial property regime, and any property or assets to be included or excluded therein. It is drafted and then executed before a Notary Public. The contract would then be registered at the Deeds Office. Remember, it must be executed before you get married either by you and your spouse or a person having a special power of attorney. If it is not done before you get married, you would be married in community of property. The only way to change that would be to approach the High Court for consent to change it. That can be very expensive. Out of Community of Property Now let’s say, you and your intended spouse do not want to have one estate, but continue having your own estates while you are so married. This would be useful if you are a business person. Should things go bad for one spouse, then only that estate would be affected. For example, in the case of insolvency, the creditor would only be able to sequestrate your personal estate and not that of the other. And if things go well, and you get hold of some wealth, the wealth would only belong to you and not your spouse. Should you divorce your spouse, then you walk away with only that what you own. For the latter scenario to apply, you should get married Out of Community of Property with the exclusion of the accrual regime. And for that, you need to enter into an antenuptial, or prenuptial contract with your spouse before you get married. Accrual Regime Now let’s say you want to ...
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/ Family Law
changing your matrimonial property regime

Steps for changing your marriage from in community of property to out of community of property

Changing your matrimonial property regime from in community of property to out of community of property Are you married? Do you know what is your matrimonial property regime? To register your Antenuptial Contact, Click here. Are you married in Community of Property? Do you want to change your matrimonial property regime to Out of Community of Property? Did you not know that a marriage Out of Community of Property was possible when getting married? There is legal relief for you and your spouse. In Community of Property All civil marriages are automatically In Community of Property.  This means that there is one estate shared between wife and husband. Therefore, if anyone of the spouses incurs a debt, that debt belongs to both of them. Out of Community of Property The other option is to get married Out of Community of Property. This means that there are two separate estates and each party is responsible for his or her own debt. For some people, this would be a better option, especially if you are a business person. Accrual system The usual process to be married Out of Community of Property is to enter into an antenuptial contract before the marriage. The contract will have clauses in it stating: That there shall be no community of property; That there shall be no community of profit or loss; and That the accrual system provided for in Chapter 1 of the Matrimonial Property Act, no 88 of 1984 is expressly excluded from the marriage. However, if you did not do so, there is a way of changing your matrimonial property regime from In Community of Property to Out of Community of Property. For this, you need the consent of the High Court in your Jurisdiction. Here you will make use of section 21 of the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984. Getting the High Court’s Consent to change your matrimonial property regime to Out of Community of Property Once you and your spouse have decided to change your matrimonial property regime to Out of Community of Property, you would need to approach the High Court in your area for consent. If you know the law, legal process, Court rules, and procedure, you and your spouse can do it on your own. If you cannot do it on your own, an attorney would be able to do it for you. This the attorney may attend ...
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2 thoughts on “Emigration and relocation from South Africa – Children’s Rights and that of Mother and Father

  1. Hi, would it be possible to assist with answering one question for me please?
    I am a single mother of 16 year old boy.
    There is a parenting plan and maintenance order in place.
    The father emigrated to the UK last year. Address unknown. But planning to visit family and his son next month. In contact with his son on whatsapp.
    He has stopped maintenance payments.
    My question is: CAN ANYTHING BE DONE…..? I AM STRUGGLING TO COPE FINANCIALLY.

    1. Good day
      Lay a complaint at the maintenance court for non-compliance. Advise them that he will be in SA soon. They can then get everything in order to charge him for contempt of court when he is in SA. The court may advise you otherwise, or assist you differently.

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