In most cases, children under the age of 18 are considered minors, and the persons holding parental responsibilities and rights (usually, but not always, their parents) are tasked with safeguarding their well-being. At Vermeulen Attorneys experience has taught us how to resolve children’s matters swiftly, non-confrontationally (if possible) and cost-effectively.
Our dedicated family law attorneys, candidate attorneys, and paralegal staff members practice exclusively in the areas of family & matrimonial law and have elected to specialise in this field. We assist clients in the High Court, as well as the Children’s Court.
Our clients have peace of mind knowing that their matters are dealt with by specialists in the field. We can assist clients from all walks of life with a wide variety of matters relating to minor children, some of which are set out in more detail below.
Care and Contact In Respect Of Minor Children
Most disputes surrounding minor children occur in respect of care and contact, as well as primary residence of the said minor children. There are various ways in which these types of disputes can be resolved. These may include:
- Negotiation and/or mediation
- Litigation through the Children’s Court or the High Court;
- Intervention by the Office of the Family Advocate;
- Preparation of a Parenting Plan
We are well-equipped to assist our clients to traverse matters related to the care and contact of minor children.
Termination and Assignment of Parental Responsibilities and Rights
The Children’s Act makes provision for the termination and assignment of parental responsibilities and rights. These types of matters are often very complex and fraught with potential pitfalls.
Our dedicated family law attorneys frequently assist clients seeking to terminate the parental responsibilities and rights of persons holding such responsibilities. Conversely, we often assist clients who do not yet have responsibilities and rights in respect of a minor child to attain same.
Rights of Unmarried Fathers
The Children’s Act has profoundly changed the responsibilities and rights of unmarried fathers. Whereas unmarried fathers used to have very little rights, they now acquire full parental responsibilities and rights if they comply with the conditions set out in the Children’s Act.
We are well-equipped to assist unmarried fathers to establish and enforce their rights in respect of minor children.
Relocation with minor children
Section 18 of the Children’s Act places severe and profound limitations on parents who intend to leave the borders of the Republic of South Africa with minor children. Relocations with minor children have, therefore, become much more complex and cumbersome in recent years.
Our specialist relocation lawyers assIst our clients to attain the necessary and relevant court orders and/or documentation to enable them to relocate or emigrate with minor children.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Courts deal with matters relating to minor children in South Africa?
- In South Africa, most matters relating to minor children are dealt with by the Children’s Court or the High Court. Matters relating to the guardianship of minor children can only be dealt with by the High Court;
- All other matters can be dealt with by the Children’s Court or the High Court.
Do I need to go to Court if I have entered into a Parenting Plan?
Not necessarily. A Parenting Plan can be made an Order of Court or registered with the office of the Family Advocate. In general, making a Parenting Plan an Order of Court makes it easier to enforce, while registering it with the office of the Family Advocate gives more flexibility.
I am an unmarried Father, what right’s do I have with regards to my child?
The other parent of my child shows no interest in him/her. Can I terminate or suspend their parental rights and responsibilities? Yes, in terms of Section 28 of the Children’s Act, the rights of a person in respect of a child may be terminated or suspended. In order to be granted such an Order, however, you must show the Court that the suspension will be in the best interests of the minor child. The Court will also consider the attitude of the person whose rights are being challenged towards the exercise of such rights and responsibilities in respect of a child.
Yes, in terms of Section 28 of the Children’s Act, the rights of a person in respect of a child may be terminated or suspended. In order to be granted such an Order, however, you must show the Court that the suspension will be in the best interests of the minor child. The Court will also consider the attitude of the person whose rights are being challenged towards the exercise of such rights and responsibilities in respect of a child.