Parental Responsiblities and Rights during the Holiday Season – Can contact be refused?

The rights of parents to have contact with their children during the holiday season

It is that time of the year where schools are closed and most parents can take off work. This is either due to being allowed to take some leave days or the business itself is closed during that period. Whatever the reason, parents wants to spend time with their children during the holidays. And rightfully so. If parents are children live in the same home, there would not be much of a problem regarding contact. Or no problem at all. Parents and children would see each other every moring and before going to sleep. The challenge arise when parents and children do not live in the same home.

Parenal Responsibilities and Rights of parents

Alot has been written on the top of parental responsiblities and rights on this website. Extensive reference is made to relevant sections of the Children’s Act. However, to simply things, parental responsiblities and rights refers to the parental responsiblities and rights a parent has to look after a child. That can be in the form of food, shelter, clothing, education, visitation and so on. Basically, to form part of the child’s life in a meaningful way. Parental responsiblities and rights refers to  responsiblities and rights. They go hand in hand. You cannot say you have a right to have contact with your child, but not interested in execising your responsibility of feeding and clothing the child. The law does not work that way.

What should parents do if they are not allowed contact during the holidays?

Firstly, it is the right of the child to have contact with both parents during their school holidays. It not not neccessary the right of the parents as the law focuses of what is best for the child. Seconldy, it is the duly and responsiblity of both parents to ensure that they make it possible for both parents to have contact with the minor child. This is so, despite the issues and differences the parents might have.

What do you do if contact is frutrated?

If they cannot come to an agreement, then it is stronly recommened that they have the issue mediated as soon as possible. There are many people that can assist in mediaton. That can be someone you both trust and respect or a professional personal trained in family mediation. With regard to someone you trust and respect, it could be your religious leader, family elder or a trusted friend. Regarding professionals, that can be a social worker, lawyer, pyschologist or someone with mediation training. It is best to make use of some who has family law experience. However, it is not always neccessary depending on the issues at hand.

What do I do if mediation is now possible or unsuccessful?

Mediation will not always be successful. Howewer, depite it now always being successful, many benefits comes from a mediation session. For one, the parents would be one step closer in understanding what the issues are, at least from the other side. That can be invaluable as it often happens, couples usually speak or argue past each other when they are alone. In a mediation setting, whether formal or informal, the are forced to listen to each other.

However, if the mediation session is unsuccessful or not possible, then the the law comes into play. Before going to court, you may want to consider seeing an attorney or advocate if you can afford it. They may consider the option of sending the other parent letter and try to resolve the matter out of court. Often it works and it is something you may wish to consider. However, if it is something you cannot afford, or it does not yield any noteworthy results, then approaching the court is your next option. This we deal with next.

When to approach the Court when it comes to care and contact disputes?

It does not benefit the child nor you to execise contact or care which is not adequate. In other words, if you should have more contact to your child, you should fight for it. The same applies to a parent who is abusing his or her parental responsibilities and rights. If you feel that they are doing so, the situation must changes which is in the child’s best interest. This could mean affording him or her last contact and care.

Therefore, if speaking to the other party, mediation, or lawyer’s letter does not work, then taking it to a court of law is the only viable option. The Court is the upper guardian of all minor children. Therefore, it overrides the rights of both parents. It can therefore limit, take it away or increase or assign parental rigths. Ultimatley, the Court would decide what is best for the minor child involved.

Can I urgently have contact to my child during the holiday season?

If you are denied adequate contact rights to your minor child, you have the right to urgenly approach the court to relief. The High Court would need to be approach for urgenly relief. The Children’s Court may be able to assist, but not as fast as the High Court would. However, the High Court can be expensive if you are making use of attorney and advocates.

Therefore, to avoid approaching the High Court and have your matter heard in the Children’s Court, do not wait until the last minuite to enforce your rights. Especially when it comes to end of year holdiday contact.



About the Author

Advocate South Africa

Legal Advisor for Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd
Call 0211110090
For appointments: https://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice

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