Children and Custody

Children, Parent Rights and Plans

The Act that regulates matters pertaining to children (minors) is the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. All Magistrate’s courts have a Children’s Court in South Africa.

The Act deals with parents responsibilities and rights, care and contact. Previously referred to as access and custody.

The Children’s Act makes provision for parenting plans. A parenting plan defines the roles, rights and responsibilities over a child. The plan can deal with maintenance, contact, care, primary residence, schooling, religion, etc. The main objective of all parenting plans is to act in the child’s best interest.

Parenting Plans are often used in divorce proceedings or after a divorce if a parent is experiencing difficulties in contact with the minor child. The parent will approach the Children’s Court to intervene. The Children’s Court will often advise that a parenting plan is drafted, registered with the family advocate and made an order of court.

The High Court is the upper guardian of all minor children and matters can be referred to the High Court, however the cost implications are considerably higher.

It is very important to highlight that a parent denying access to a minor child for no reason and breaches a parenting plan that was made an order of court could be liable to a fine or conviction for up to one year.

Please note that the information provided on this page is not intended to replace legal advice but purely a guideline.

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