Father battles for 3 years to finally see his child. This he did with the help of a social worker, lawyer and the court. He now has regular contact to his child.
Custody, Contact and Guardianship are parental responsibilities of all parents. Once the child is born, both parents not only have a right but a duty to form part of a child’s life. This is also the right of the child. Therefore, a parent cannot deny the other parent from exercising his or her parental responsibilities and rights. The Courts have a duty to ensure that a child’s best interests are met when approached. It is therefore of paramount importance that parents ensure that parental responsibilities and rights are exercise and enforced where necessarily. This includes the responsibility of paying child maintenance.
Before we head into the article, let us first outline what the law says on the parental responsibilities of parents. In the end, we will deal with the law regarding the inclusion of a father’s name on the child’s birth certificate.
Read further to what the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 says about parental responsibilities and rights. You can skip this section by clicking here.
The Children’s Act 38 of 2005
Section 18 of the Children’s Act 38 of 38 2005 states the following:
“(1) A person may have either full or specific parental responsibilities or 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 marriage
(ii) Consent to the child adoption;
(iii) Consent to the child departure or removal from the Republic;
(iv) Consent to the child application for a passport; and
(v) Consent to the alienation or encumbrance of any immovable property of the child.
(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 guardianship of a child is necessary in respect of matters set out in subsection (3)(c).”
[ps2id id=’care-id’ target=”/]
Father’s right to his child
If you are a parent and confronted with a situation where you are denied rights to your child; read on. Notwithstanding this article has been written in relation to the rights of a father; a mother can find it useful too.
Mike was a typical office worker, age 25. He lived with his parents and was studying part-time to earn his teaching degree. This is where he met Mary, on a Saturday morning, when visiting the campus library. She was in her final year of medicine. One thing led to another and 6 months later, Mary fell pregnant. Marry came from a wealthy family. Her father was a businessman and her mother a psychology professor. What’s more, Mary was the only child. When her parents found out who the father was, they forbid her to see him. According to them, he was unworthy of their daughter.
Read on to find out the meaning of Care and Contact as provide for in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. You can skip this section by click here.
Meaning of Care
The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 defines care as follows:
Care in relation to a child, includes, where appropriate-
(a) Within available means, providing the child with-
(i) a suitable place to live;
(ii) Living conditions that are conducive to the child’s health well-being and development; and
(iii) The necessary financial support;
(b) Safeguarding and promoting the well-being of the child;
(c) protecting the child from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, degradation, discrimination, exploitation and any other physical, emotional or moral harm or hazards;
(d) respecting, protecting, promoting and securing the fulfilment of, and guarding against any infringement of, the child rights set out in the Bill of Rights and the principles set out in Chapter 2 of this Act;
(e) guiding, directing and securing the child education and upbringing, including religious and cultural education and upbringing, in a manner appropriate to the child age, maturity and stage of development; guiding, advising and assisting the child in decisions to be taken by the child in a manner appropriate to the child age, maturity and stage of development;
(g) Guiding the behaviour of the child in a humane manner;
(h) Maintaining a sound relationship with the child;
(I) accommodating any special needs that the child may have; and
(j) Generally, ensuring that the best interests of the child is the paramount Concern in all matters affecting the child;
According to the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, contact means the following:
Contact in relation to a child, means-
(a) Maintaining a personal relationship with the child; and
(b) If the child lives with someone else-
(I) communication on a regular basis with the child in person, including-
(AA) visiting the child; or
(Bb) being visited by the child; or
(ii) Communication on a regular basis with the child in any other manner,
(AA) through the post; or
(Bb) by telephone or any other form of electronic communication;
[ps2id id=’care2-id’ target=”/]
Mike tried very hard to find out how the pregnancy was going along. All cell phone calls were blocked and he was refused access to Mary’s home. He felt obligated to make some type of contribution towards the gynaecological and other medical expenses. He spoke to his family about the situation, and they too were very stressed out. This would be the first grandchild and experienced a profound sense of responsibility.
They met Mary once and liked her very much. She was smart, pretty and easy going. They then consulted with a family lawyer. The advice was to wait until the child was born and then to enforce parental responsibilities and rights. The lawyer, however, wrote a letter to Mary saying that Mike wants to be part and parcel of the child’s life, even before the birth. Furthermore, Mike wants to contribute towards the medical expenses incurred thus far and any future expenses. Needless to say, the letter was ignored. The Lawyer then advised that they wait until the child was born and then enforce his parental responsibilities and rights.
The Birth and Registration
Obviously, Mike was not at the birth of his child. That saddened him very much. Mike then found out through a friend of Mary that she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The name Mary gave him was Mark. That was great news for Mike. His parents were also very happy. When Mary registered Mark at the Department of Home Affairs, she did not stipulate that Mike was the father. As Mike thus far did not spend any money on the birth or on his son, he opened an investment account where he deposited money into each month.
Mike then set up a meeting with his lawyer. He explained to him that he wanted to see his son, who was almost 2 months old. The lawyer knew this was a sensitive matter, in that nothing was known about the current circumstances of Mary and Mark. They needed to approach this matter very delicately. All that Mike wanted at this stage was to see his son.
The lawyer then wrote a letter to Mary asking that his client, Mike, could see Mark for a few minutes at a convenient place and time for Mary. The lawyer made use of the office of the Sheriff to serve the letter to ensure that Mary receives it. On receipt of the latter, Mary showed it to her father. Her father then met with his lawyer. They replied to the letter advising that Mary wants nothing to do with Mike. According to them, it would not be in the child’s best interests for Mike to make any contact with him. They advise that should Mike persist in wanting to meet with Mark, they are instructed to launch an application to the court for harassment.
Mikes’ lawyer then again advised him of his rights. The difficulty that he had was he knew nothing about the personal circumstances of Mary and Mark. All he knew was that Mark was about 4 months old, living with Mary and her parents. He did not know whether Mary was working or studying, whether Mark was being breastfed and so on. It is therefore difficult to enforce one’s rights, or demand for rights to be enforced under those circumstances. Mike’s lawyer then recommended that a social worker is approached for advice and support on this matter. It is possible that the social worker could mediate the matter.
When Mike met with the Social worker he told her everything he knew about Marry and Mark. However, information after the birth of Mark was limited. Basically, all he knew was that he was a boy. He did not even know his son’s date of birth. The Social worker appreciated the sensitivity of the matter. She agreed that due to not knowing what the actual circumstances were, the way forward is challenging. Although Mike is the father of Mark and has parental rights, that should not be enforced without considering Mark’s best interests.
The Social worker then agreed that she will try to contact Mary. She sends Mary a letter advising her that she was instructed by Mike to arrange contact between him and his son. Needless to say, Mary did not reply to the letter. The Social worker subsequently decided to call Mary. Mary answered and said she doesn’t want to speak to the social worker and that she must leave her alone. The Social worker then met with Mike and his lawyer, and they concluded that the only way forward was to ask for the help of the Court.
The Court Application
Mikes lawyer then drafted an Urgent Application to the Western Cape High Court. The relief requested was for reasonable supervised contact until Mark is a year old, and then unsupervised contact. What was also requested, was an Order that the Office of the Family Advocate investigates the matter and provide a report to the Court? The Application was filed and served on Mary. Needless to say, she appointed attorneys to oppose the application.
Mary submitted an opposing affidavit. Her argument was that Mark does not know his father, and it would be best that he only has contact when he is considerably older. But for now, contact rights should be suspended. Mike obviously replied with a replying affidavit.
First High Court hearing date
On the hearing date, the Court played it safe. The Judge first wanted the Office of the Family Advocate to intervene and provide a report for the Court to consider. Mike’s advocate did not argue with the Judge on this point. The matter was then postponed for a period of 3 months for the report.
Family Advocate’s Report
On the return date, the Court had before it the report of the Office of the Family Advocate. They consulted with Mike and Mary, and it so happens, they came to an agreement regarding phased in contact rights. It was agreed that contact would be exercised at her home, once a week for the first 2 months. Thereafter contact would be every week until Mark is a year old. Once he turns 1, Mike would be able to take Mark with to his home for a period of 4 hours. Further contact would then be relooked at once Mark is 2 years old. At this point, overnight contact may be considered.
Mike also offered to pay child maintenance and put Mark on his medical aid as a beneficiary. Mary was happy to hear this as she was the one who solely supported Mark. Her parents were getting fed-up with all the expenses involved.
Next High Court date
The Judge was very happy that the parties came to an agreement. She subsequently made the agreement and Order of Court. According to the report, Mike met Mark at the Office of the family advocate and spent about a half an hour with him. The report also stated that Mike visited Mark at Mary’s home and bonded. Therefore, according to the Court, this was the best type of arrangement as the parties drafted their own agreement. If they did not settle the matter, the Court could make an Order, which both parties may be unhappy with or unwilling to implement. The Court, therefore, made the settlement agreement an Order of Court.
Father’s name on the birth’s registry
Mike exercised contact as per the High Court Order. When he requested Mark’s birth certificate in order to put him on his Medical Aid Scheme, he noticed his name was not on it. Mike then approached the Department of Home Affairs for a change of the birth records. Mary co-operated and the changes were made. Mike was now mentioned as the father on Marks’s birth certificate.
This is the law applicable
Section 11 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992
Section 11 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992 deals with the amendment of birth registration of a child born out of wedlock. An extract of the Act is as follows:
Amendment of birth registration of child born out of wedlock
(1) Any parent of a child born out of wedlock whose parents married each other after the registration of his or her birth, may, if such child is a minor, or such child himself or herself may, if he or she is of age, apply in the prescribed manner to the Director-General to amend the registration of his or her birth as if his or her parents were married to each other at the time of his or her birth, and thereupon the Director-General shall, if satisfied that the applicant is competent to make the application, that the alleged parents of the child are in fact his or her parents and that they legally married each other, amend the registration of birth in the prescribed manner as if such child’s parents were legally married to each other at the time of his or her birth.
(2) If the parents of a child born out of wedlock marry each other before notice of his or her birth is given, notice of such birth shall be given and the birth registered as if the parents were married to each other at the time of his or her birth.
(4) A person who wishes to acknowledge himself to be the father of a child born out of wedlock, may, in the prescribed manner, with the consent of the mother of the child, apply to the Director-General, who shall amend the registration of the birth of such child by recording such acknowledgement and by entering the prescribed particulars of such person in the registration of the birth of such child.
(4A) An amendment of the particulars of a person who has acknowledged himself as a father of a child as contemplated in subsection (4) and section 10(1)(b) of the Act shall be supported by the prescribed conclusive proof of that person being the father of the child.
(5) Where the mother of a child has not given her consent to the amendment of the registration of the birth of her child in terms of subsection (4), the father of such a child shall apply to the High Court of competent jurisdiction for a declaratory order which confirms his or her paternity of the child and dispenses with the requirement of consent of the mother contemplated in subsection (4).
(6) When the court considers the application contemplated in subsection (5) the provisions of section 26(b) of the Children’s Act shall apply.
Although Mike and Mary never became a couple again, they learned to accept the reality of their situation and tried to make the best of it. If there were any issues, they always referred back to the Order the Court made. Even though it took Mike almost 3 years to obtain regular contact, he says it was worth it.
Sharing is Caring
This and other articles and posts found on this website are written by Adv. Muhammad Abduroaf to assist people with various family law related issues they may have. If you find any of our articles, free resources and posts interesting, or possibly useful to others, please share it on Social Media.
Should you require any other legal services and advice, not related to family law, visit Private Legal.
Purchase a Consultation with us from our Online Shop, by clicking here.
View some of our other Child Articles Articles below
Zoom webinar during Woman's Month hosted by Advocate Muhammad Abdurof - Child Custody and Relocation Below the video are some of the questions posed by the registrants that were not answered during the webinar held on 21 August 2020 at 11:00, hosted by Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf. Q: The father has only been paying half the maintenance - he was only covering the minor schooling. Now he has decided to study full time and stopped paying the minor school fees. The minors Contract at school has been terminated and is currently not attending school. I am unable to find a school at this time since half the year is gone. I am currently filing a maintenance application. A: We presume that there is no maintenance order in place. If that is the case, approaching the maintenance court is the correct thing to do. It sounds unreasonable for the father to only pay half the maintenance. The same applies to him stopping paying school fees. The court would listen to both sides and decide what is a fair amount for the father to pay despite him deciding not to work. If there is a court order in place, the court should enforce ...Read More
Child Relocation, Passports, Custody, Surname Change, and the High Courts – Simplified What does Child Relocation, Passport disputes, Custody issues, and surname changes have in common? They are all matters which a court of law resolves if the parties cannot do so. Other than child custody issues that can be resolved by the Children’s Court, disputes in relation to Child Relocation, Passport Disputes and Surname changes for minor children are dealt with in the various Provincial High Courts in South Africa where the child ore parties reside. Much has been written in this website regarding child custody, relocation of minor children, and passport disputes. They have however not been dealt with simultaneously in one article. This is what this article intends to do. It basically provides the intertwined application of the law. With the rise in relocation and disputes regarding care and contact in South Africa, this article would be useful for many parents. However, if you wish to view some of the articles already written on the aforementioned topics, feel free to click on the following links: - Minor children born out of wedlock – Whose surname should they have? - Passport Application for my child. I cannot find ...Read More
Child Custody, Maintenance, Divorce, Relocations, and other Questions and Answers Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd provides professional legal advice to their clients through the following options: Face to Face (At our location in Cape Town); Telephonic (We call you on the South African Landline / Mobile number provided); Video (We make use of Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp Video Call) If however, you have a quick and simple family law advice question you wish to ask, feel free to post it below. There would, therefore, be no need to set-up a consultation and pay a fee. The question may relate to any of the following: Child Maintenance; Child Custody; Divorce; Relocation of minor children; Change of minor children's surname; Guardianship rights; Passport consent issues; Domestic violence; Parenting Plans; and so on. Useful family law Articles Below are a few useful articles written by us. Child Relocation, Passports, Custody, Surname Change, and the High Courts – Simplified What does Child Relocation, Passport disputes, Custody issues, and surname changes have in common? They are all matters which a court of law resolves if the parties cannot do so. Other than child custody issues that can be resolved by the Children’s Court, disputes in relation ...Read More
Child custody legal advice and services Child custody is a complex legal matter as it involves a number of factors to consider when handling a child custody case. Judging from our years of experience, we found that the parents involved often lose track of the bigger picture while emotions override. At our law offices, our job is to help parties involved keep a level head form a legal perspective and guide them as to what will be the best way forward. Sometimes a matter has been blown out of proportion while the parties involved often expect us to perform miracles – this is not how it works in the world of law. We have found that executing our legal expertise can become a very complicated ordeal when there is little co-operation. It is however, essential to highlight that the main responsibility of the family legal expert is to advise and guide you with the best way forward from a legal standpoint. The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 – child access to grandparents In doing so, we have constructed a number of family legal articles containing free, expert legal advice. We have used the common issues potential clients come to us ...Read More
How do you go about getting custody of a child? Gaining child custody can be a dreadful legal battle as parents often make irrational decisions based on their own emotions and not that of their child/children. Often, the legal expert will be referring to the Children’s Act as a guideline to the way forward. The focus of the Children’s Act however, is on the child’s rights rather than the rights of parents and highlights the best interest of the child. In turn, the legal expert will guide the parents along the way should parents be too self-absorbed in the tension and conflict of a divorce. Our legal consultancy boast a well experienced, professional, family legal expert who will be advising you through the process. For more details on how to gain child custody, click on the articles below which contain free, expert legal advice: How do I get full custody over my child? Parental child abuse in custody cases What does it mean when you have primary residential custody? What happens in custody dispute where one parent is mentally ill? How to go about getting joint custody? Joint custody however, will require both parents to be on the same page as ...Read More
How do I obtain contact, custody or visitation to my child? I need some advice and assistance. Issues of child custody, visitation or guardianship rights are usually difficult for parents to deal with. Parents have an inherent right and duty to form part of their child's lives. Here we refer to parental rights and responsibilities. However, it often happens that parents of a child cannot see eye to eye as to what is in their child's best interests. More often than not, when parents are divorced, separated, or not living together, issues arise regarding the children they share. And then there is the case where parents want full custody over their children. These issues may range from the amount of contact the other parent may have, the school the child may attend, or what extra-mural activities the child should pursue. Either way, should parents not be on the same page, outside help may be required. Read on to find out more about the law, factors and your rights. With some advice, your situation may become easier. What are Parental Responsibilities and rights to a child? Know your rights: The terms used to refer to the rights and responsibilities of parents ...Read More
Paternity disputes and Scientific DNA Testing in Child Legal Matters Paternity disputes are not uncommon in our courts of law. What sparks them varies, however, all disputes are messy. For one, the mere allegation that he is not the father of the child may directly or indirectly affect the dignity of the mother, and that of the child. In other words, it is suggested that she had more than one sexual partner at the time, and the child was born from such a relationship. Nonetheless, the issue can speedily be resolved through scientific DNA testing. Paternity - Legal Settings There are two common legal settings where a parent (or alleged parent) would dispute paternity. The one would be in a child maintenance dispute, where the father alleges that he is not the biological father of the child, and therefore cannot be ordered to pay child maintenance. The other situation would be in a child custody or visitation dispute. Here the mother would allege that the man is not the father, or he denies paternity. Paternity Dispute Scenarios There are other scenarios where paternity can become an issue. One would be in the case of inheritance. A parent would allege that ...Read More
Child Custody Law in South Africa What exactly is child custody? Child custody refers to the legal order or instruction by the court to the parents of their child/children. The term Custody on its own, simply means to care or protect for. Hence child custody is concerned with the protection and care of a child by the parents. When it comes to the Children’s Act in South Africa, your legal expert/professional will tell you that the Act aims to have the child’s best interest in place. With that being said, the Act covers a number of legal aspects and rights regarding the child. Attorneys (Lawyers), Advocates and other legal professionals, will make use of the Act to ensure that they are doing things legally correct. The Children’s Act can be applied to parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, teachers and so forth. Sole Guardianship Sole guardianship refers to one parent having full custody of the child. Some may interpret this wrongly and think that the other parent will no longer be able to see the child. This is not the case. It is however, commonly understood that the mother is usually awarded sole custody. This too, is no longer the case. Should ...Read More
Family Law Legal services - Child custody, divorce and child maintenance Our family law consultancy have a range of family law legal services for your convenience. Our specialized legal services are child maintenance, child custody and divorce. To top it off, we are situated in the heart of the buzzing CBD at Suit 702, 7th Floor, The Pinnacle, corner of Strand and burg Street, Cape Town, South Africa. Feel free to visit us at our offices in a safe, central setting and enjoy professional, confidential, legal consultations at its best. Our specialized legal services are: Child Maintenance Ante-nuptial Contact Change Matrimonial Property Regime Child Adoption Child Custody and Access Domestic Violence Protection Family Trust Registration Fast Unopposed Divorces Non-Compliance with maintenance orders Parenting Plans Postnuptial Contract Registration Pre-nikkah Agreement Should any of the above legal services interest you, feel free to call our offices on 021 424 3487 and have our receptionist make an online appointment for you. Child custody and legal advice… Like any other family legal matter, child custody involves a number of factors. When it comes to the legal aspect, the Children’s Act is used as a guideline on how to go about parental legal rights. We’ve found ...Read More
Parents with Psychiatric disorders No parent is perfect. And no one can help it if they suffer from some psychological disorder. However, when it comes to parenting, mental health does play a role regarding the issue of child custody. In other words, a parent with a psychological disorder would find it hard to be a child's primary care giver, if the child would best be cared for by the other parent. This is assuming that the other parent in this case is capable of caring for the child. This article is connected to the topic Child Custody and Visitation Court Applications. It may be useful to read up on it before proceeding to read further. Otherwise, read on to find out more about parental child abuse and the legal aspects surrounding it. When should you consult with a lawyer? Seeing that you are dealing with parental rights and responsibilities, it is best to first try to resolve issues with the other parent. If that does not work, then try mediation. Should that still not work, see a lawyer who would advise you on what would be best for you and your child. If need be, a Court application would have ...Read More
Frequently Asked Questions on Child Custody - South Africa We proud ourselves on our knowledge of family law, and related matters in relation to South African Law. This includes issues and questions surrounding child custody, divorce and child maintenance. Feel free to browse through this question and answers sections below. Should you not find the answer to a child custody question you are looking for, feel free to post your child custody question at the bottom of this post. What does it mean when you have primary residential custody? It means that the child primarily resides with you. For example, the child will only visit the other parent every second weekend. What is a joint residence order? The child resides with both parents. Usually on an equal basis. What is joint custody of a child? This is the situation where both parents care for the child. How can you get custody of your child? If you want custody of your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children's Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child's best interests. How do I file for joint ...Read More
Child custody for fathers During our years of experience in dealing with child custody battles, we have found it common for fathers fighting for child custody and wanting to know more about their legal rights. Unfortunately, a father paying child maintenance will not be guaranteed full child custody of a child. For more on father’s rights in child custody, click on the links below and read our free, expert legal advice article on how to go about your legal rights as a father. Child custody visitation access- questions and answers Child custody frequently asked questions Father refused contact to his child. What are his rights? Father's parental responsibilities and rights to his child. How do I get full custody over my child? Parental child abuse in custody cases- Cape Town What does it mean when you have primary residential custody? What happens in a case custody dispute when one parent is mentally ill? Feel free to call our law offices on 021 424 3487, or our national number on 087 701 1124 if you’re residing out of Cape Town. We are conveniently situated in the heart of the buzzing CBD at The Pinnacle, Suit 702, 7th floor, corner of Strand and Burg ...Read More
International Family Law matters, applicable to South Africa Divorces are not only limited to people living in the same country. Often, you will find that one spouse lives in South Africa and the other in a different country. They want to get divorced but do not know how to go about it. The question now is, which country and which court should divorce them? We regularly receive these types of queries from people living in the Middle East and the United Kingdom. The same problem arises in the case of parents living in different countries, but there are complications regarding contact and access to their minor children. Let's say, one parent, lives in Cape Town and the other in Taiwan. How does the parent living in Taiwan enforce his contact rights to his child in South Africa? Does he or she approach the court in Taiwan? Or should he or she approach the Court in South Africa? And Lastly, there is an issue regarding child maintenance. What happens in the case where one parent lives in Cape Town and the other in New York? How does child maintenance work? Can the parent living in Cape Town with the children obtain ...Read More
Is it possible for an unmarried father to obtain full custody of a 10-year-old child and not the mother? – A simplified family lawyer’s perspective. By Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf There is a common misconception that if a child was born out of wedlock; only the mother can be the primary caregiver of the child concerned. This may however generally be the case. However, it is presumed by some that if a mother cared for the child since his or her birth, the father would not be able to be the child’s primary caregiver. In other words, the child would always live with the mother, and never with the father. We do not blame our clients for thinking so. That is the stereotype. As the world changes, so does the law. The popular scenario regarding single parenting? We are often approached by fathers who have a child that was born out of wedlock. He and the mother most probably lived together when the child was born. But things did not work out between them. The mother moved out and lived with her parents or on her own. The father would then regularly have contact with the child. The type of contact ...Read More
Can a parent appeal a child custody order granted by the High Court or Children’s Court? In resolving disputes regarding child custody or guardianship (parental rights and responsibilities) matters, a court will usually be approached. The court is also the upper guardian of all minor children within its area of jurisdiction. A parent or interested party may approach the Children’s Court or the High Court when it comes to parental rights regarding a minor child. The High Court, however, has greater jurisdiction when it relates to issues associated with guardianship rights. As demonstrated below, the courts’ decisions may be reviewed by a higher court. However, before approaching the court, the parties should first try to resolve the matter through entering into a parenting plan. How are child custody court proceedings initiated? A parent or interested party would make an application to the court. In the High Court, this would be done with a Notice of Motion and Founding Affidavit, served on the other parent or interested party. An interested party would be someone who cares for the child or significantly forms part of the child’s life. For example, a step-parent, grandparent, or aunt. Once the founding papers are served, the ...Read More
Frequently asked questions when it comes to parental responsibilities and rights of parents having issues or difficulties in co-caring for their children. As things evolve, so does the legal question surrounding child custody, contact and care. For example, not too long ago, children were generally seen as best being cared for by mothers as opposed to fathers. Fathers would usually get custody if the mother was incapable of caring for a child. Now the law focuses solely on what is best for the child under specific circumstances. Therefore, it often happens that primary care is awarded to fathers where there are no social welfare issues involved. Moreover, a lot of attention is given to the voice of the child. This depends on the child’s age and level of maturity. We decided to answer various popular questions on parental rights and responsibilities when it comes to children. Below are 11 popular legal questions and answers Our Lawyer comes across. Further below are some frequently asked questions that you can apply your mind to. Does a mother have more rights over a child than a father? The father of my child never had contact with the child since before my child’s birth ...Read More
Frequently Asked Questions on Child Custody - Cape Town We hold a wealth of knowledge on family legal matters, in relation to South African law. This includes issues and questions surrounding child custody, divorce and child maintenance. Feel free to browse through the question and answers below. Should you not find the answer to a child custody question you are looking for, feel free to post your divorce question here. For more questions on child custody, visit this page. Can you change the baby's last name without the father's consent? No, you require his consent. If he does not want to give consent, then you may approach a court of law. This answer is based on the presumption that the father has parental responsibilities and rights over the child. Do I have parental rights if I am not on the birth certificate? Yes, it is possible that you have. How do you change your last name on your birth certificate? You need to apply to the Department of Home Affairs. How do I apply for child maintenance in South Africa? You should approach the maintenance court. Can you change your child's surname? Yes, you can. Both parents should consent. How ...Read More
I am concerned about my niece's wellbeing. Is it possible for me to obtain rights of custody and guardianship over her? The parents are still alive but divorced. We often receive enquiries from family members of minor children wanting to know whether they can obtain rights of custody or guardianship over a minor child. The client could be a grandmother, an aunt, or in some instances, a former step-parent. Let us take you through a scenario where an aunt wishes to obtain sole custody and guardianship over a minor child. Should you be an interested party wishing to obtain parental responsibilities and rights over a minor child; feel free to contact us for a legal advice consultation. The scenario: The minor child is being primarily cared for by the paternal aunt The parents of a minor child, age 16, are married and living together. The minor child, who is in grade 10, frequents the home of her paternal aunt. The parents live very busy lives, and often have to travel overseas on separate business trips for extended periods. The minor child sometimes doesn’t see her parents for weeks on end. Nonetheless, she is well cared for by her aunt, during ...Read More
Parents with Mental illnesses in child custody and care matters in South Africa Biological parents are the ones who have parental responsibilities and rights over their children. Not grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on. Parental responsibilities and rights refer to caring, maintaining and acting as guardian for the child, to mention a few. Mothers automatically have parental responsibilities and rights of care, contact and guardianship, and fathers may either have it or acquire it. This depends on the facts of the case. The obligation to maintain your child however always applies. Various factors are looked at when deciding what is best for a child Having said the above, how parents exercise their parental responsibilities and rights would differ from case to case, especially if the parents are not living together. In such a case, various factors and circumstances will be looked at in determining what is best for the child. As would be seen later, in the case of a dispute in relation to how separated and divorced parents should exercise care and contact, expert advice needs to be considered. What this article deals with is how to resolve the issue of parental responsibilities and rights of care and contact ...Read More
Child Maintenance and Child Custody Difficulties in light of the National Lockdown - (COVID-19) Host: Felicity An Guest (Child Maintenance Difficulties SA) Panel: -Muhammad Abduroaf (Advocate) – www.ourlawyer.co.za/advocate -Nicole Lawrence (Attorney) - Attorney & Director of Nicole Lawrence Attorneys, Cape Town [email protected]
071 456 9105 (Firm cell number) -Ayesha Karim (Attorney) - Director at Ayesha Karim Attorneys- Durban (KZN) [email protected]
-Dr. Lesley Ann Foster – Woman’s Rights International – www.masimanyane.org.za ...Read More
Questions parents ask in child custody disputes. What are some of the difficulties parents face when dealing with child custody issues and problems? When parents have issues and difficulties regarding their parental responsibilities and rights, they often go online for answers. These issues can relate to contact rights or guardianship issues. One parent may want to have more contact, and the other parent refuses such a request. Or a parent wants to relocate with a minor child, and the other parent refuses guardianship consent. Whatever the issues are, they need to be resolved in the child’s best interests. Read on for some interesting questions parents ask online. Does the abuse of alcohol affect the outcome of a child custody case? Abusing alcohol is very dangerous. Not only for you but for your relationship and parenting as well. If a parent abuses alcohol in the presence of a child, then the child is in danger, or at the very least, in a potential neglectful situation. If both parents abuse alcohol, then the case is much more serious and social welfare needs to get involved. On the issue of a child custody case, the abuse of alcohol is material and would play ...Read More
Child Custody battles. What are the frequently asked questions mothers and fathers pose when it comes to children disputes? Our courts are inundated with child custody matters. Parents who were once in love and supportive of each other, now find themselves embroiled in a very sensitive and emotional legal battle. The question that is posed; who can best care for the minor child? Is it the mother or the father? Should things remain the same, or is a change warranted. As you would see below, when deciding on where a child should primarily reside, the court would need to determine what is best for the child. The court is hardly concerned with the wishes and preferences of the parents. Their interests are secondary. However, the court has to consider all factors. That includes the domestic situation of both parents and their ability to care for the child. I am worried about my child custody case. How can a father lose a child custody battle? A father will lose a child custody battle if he cannot prove that it is in the child’s best interest that he has custody over the child concerned. It is important when either parent wants a ...Read More