CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS IN JOHANNESBURG, RANDBURG

WHY DO I NEED LEGAL REPRESENTATION WHEN DEALING WITH A CHILD?

 Where the parents are married and have reached an agreement it is very important that a divorce settlement agreement is properly drafted to deal with the various issues pertaining to children, and to balance the responsibilities and rights of the parents, especially in respect of contact/visitation and maintenance.  We have the experience to make sure that you and your child’s rights are protected.

Where the parents are married and are unable to reach an agreement in respect of children the divorce becomes opposed, which means that it becomes more complicated and you need advice from a specialist family law attorney.

We have a boutique legal firm which has been practicing since 2003 and we can provide you with specialist family law advise and guidance, and can bring a court application on your behalf.  The judge will rely on a report from a specialist which deals with children.  We have a wide network of experts such as Advocates that specialises in children, Social Workers that can draft expert reports and the like.

UNMARRIED PARENTS

Where the parents are not married and have reached an agreement it is very important that a proper Parental Responsibilities and Rights Agreement is drafted to deal with the various issues pertaining to children, and to balance the responsibilities and rights of the parents, especially in respect of contact/visitation and maintenance.  We have the experience to make sure that you and your child’s rights are protected.  Some parents erroneously believe that a hand shake agreement is good enough.  This is not the case.  For example the Maintenance Act requires that maintenance agreements are made an order of court.  In other words if a person starts paying maintenance late or not at all, you have no legal protection.  It especially becomes a nightmare if one parent dies without a proper written agreement in place.

Where the parents are unmarried and are unable to reach an agreement you need expert advise on how to deal with the dispute.  We have a wide network of experts such as Advocates that specialises in children, Social Workers that can draft expert reports and the like, and we can assist you to bring the relevant court application to protect your and your child’s rights.

 

Children are protected by various legislation.

The law that deals with children is the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005 which states that the best interest of the child is paramount.

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS

Parental responsibilities and rights are the following;

(a)       The right to care for the child,

(b)       The right to maintain contact/visitation to the child,

(c)        To act as a guardian for the child,

(d)       To contribute towards the maintenance  of the child.

GUARDIANSHIP

Guardians have to assist or represent a child in administrative, contractual or legal matters which includes school and medical related issues.

GUARDIANSHIP AND BOTH PARENTS CONSENT

Both guardians consent is required under the following circumstances;

(a)       Should you wish to take your child outside the boarders of South Africa,

(b)       Should you wish to permanently relocate with your child outside the boarders of South Africa,

(c)        To obtain or renew your child’s passport,

(d)       Should you wish for your child to be adopted by a third party,

 WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN ONE GUARDIAN UNREASONABLY WITHHOLDS HIS/HER CONSENT?

If a guardian unreasonably withhold his or her consent you have to obtain court order from the relevant Court. The Courts in South Africa that deals with children is your local Children’s Court, or the High Court of South Africa. Only the High Court of South Africa has jurisdiction in respect of guardianship issues.

DO MARRIED FATHERS HAVE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS?

If the father is married to the mother he automatically has parental responsibilities and rights.

WHEN DO UNMARRIED FATHERS HAVE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS?

An unmarried father acquires full parental responsibilities and rights if he was living with the mother in a permanent life partnership when the minor child was born.

A father can also acquire full parental responsibilities and rights if;

(a)       He is identified on the child’s birth certificate as the father or if he pays damages in terms of customary law, and

(b)       If he is involved in the child’s upbringing and,

(c)        If he pays maintenance for the child.

The mother can also sign a Parental Responsibilities and Rights Agreement with the biological father.

RESIDENCE OF CHILDREN

DIVORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS AND CHILDREN

When parents get divorced, they will enter into a divorce settlement agreement which deals with the following;

(a)       With which parent the child will live permanently also referred to as primary residence,

(b)       Shared residence has also become popular in terms of which the child rotates living one week with one parent and the next week with the other parent.

(c)        What the other parent’s contact/visitation to the child would be, and

(d)       What maintenance the other parent has to pay for the child.

WHAT IS PRIMARY RESIDENCE?

This is when the child lives permanently with the custodian parent.

WHAT IS SHARED RESIDENCE?

This is when the child does not have a permanent home with one parent, and contact/visitation is equally shared: for example the child lives one week with the mother and one week with the father.

WHAT IF THERE IS A DISPUTE IN TERMS OF PRIMARY RESIDENCE AND CONTACT/VISITATION IN A DIVORCE?

The parties must attend mediation with either the Office of the Family Advocate, a Social Worker or a suitably qualified person such as a Psychologist, in an attempt for the parties to mediate an agreement.

If the parents are still unable to agree the matter will be referred to an expert namely the Office of the Family Advocate, a Social Worker or a Psychologist to do an investigation and report as to the best interest of the child.

This report will be presented to the Divorce Trial Court at the end of the divorce, or can be referred to the Court before the divorce is finalised in a Rule 43 application.

CHILDREN IN DIVORCE

RULE 43 ORDERS & CHILDREN IN DIVORCE

Where a parent is not satisfied with current maintenance or contact/visitation in respect of a child, and the divorce is opposed, the parent can immediate apply for an interim order for maintenance and or contact/visitation.

WHAT IS THE OFFICE OF THE FAMILY ADVOCATE?

It is an organ of state which renders free services to the parties when there is a pending legal action.  The Office of the Family Advocate will provide a recommendation to the Court in respect to the child’s residence and the other parties contact.

WHAT IF THERE IS A DISPUTE ABOUT MAINTENANCE FOR A CHILD DURING A DIVORCE?

Where a divorce matter is opposed, the divorce trial court will make an order for maintenance in favour of the child.

Opposed divorces can take a long time, at which time the custodian parent can apply to the Court for interim maintenance for the child, which is also referred to as a Rule 43 Order.

The custodian parent may also refer the issue of maintenance of the child to the local Maintenance Court.

PARENTING PLANS

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS AGREEMENTS OF UNMARRIED PARENTS

Where the parties are unmarried it is advised that the parties enter into a Parental Responsibilities and Rights Agreement which deals with the father’s right to care for the child, right to main contact/visitation to the child, to act as guardian to the child, and which specifies what maintenance the father will pay in respect of the child.

We have vast experience in drafting a Parental Responsibilities and Rights Agreement.

NEED TO CONSULT WITH OUR CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS IN JOHANNESBURG? CONTACT OUR CUSTODY ATTORNEYS TODAY.

Contact Info:
44 Olympic Rd, Blairgowrie, Randburg, 2194
Phone: 011 886 0242  |  082 332 8072

Email:
tracy@tsattorneys.net
marc@tsattorneys.net