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Changed regulations regarding contact rights with your child(ren) during the lockdown

DISCLAIMER – THE REGULATIONS REGARDING MINOR CHILDREN WERE MADE PUBLIC ON 7 APRIL 2020, SUBSEQUENT TO THE PUBLICATION OF THIS ARTICLE. HERE IS THE LINK TO OUR ARTICLE DEALING WITH THE NEW POSITION

“My name is Wandile. My wife and I are divorced, and we have a shared residency regime with our minor child. President Ramaphosa announced the countrywide lockdown to run from the 26th of March 2020 until the 16th of April 2020. I saw your previous article stated that the children cannot be moved between parents, and that the children must stay put with their primary caregiver until after the lockdown. Is this still the case? It’s been so long since I have seen my son, I cannot do this anymore. Please advise if there is some good news for us parents? Thank you so much in advance for all your help!”

Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu released a regulation on the 07th of April 2020. In the said regulation, an amendment of paragraph 6 of the Directions published in the Government Notice of 30 March 2020 takes place.

The said regulation released yesterday states a Social Worker’s report is deemed to be sufficient for the admission of service users in treatment centres and Halfway Houses during the lockdown period.

Furthermore, the regulations released yesterday also state that the movement of children between co-holders of Parental Responsibilities and Rights or a caregiver, during the lockdown period is PROHIBITED, except in the following circumstances where arrangements are in place for a child to move from one parent to another in terms of:

  1. A court order; or
  1. Where a Parental Responsibilities and Rights Agreement or a Parenting Plan, registered with the Family Advocate, is in existence.

The above two points are provided that:

  1. in the household to which the child is to move, there is no person who is known to have come into contact with, or is reasonably suspected to have come into contact with, a person known to have contracted, or reasonably suspected to have contracted, COVID-19; and
  1. The parent or caregiver transporting the child concerned must have in his or her possession, the said court order or agreement, or at least a CERTIFIED copy thereof.

In short, if there is no court order in place, stay put with your child(ren). Protect your well-being, but most important, protect theirs. Where there is a court order in place, do not abuse it – use it wisely and only for the benefit of the children.

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