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Termination and Suspension of Parental Responsibilities and Rights


Termination or Suspension of parental responsibilities is a sensitive legal process with significant emotional and legal implications. It is typically pursued to protect a child’s well-being and can arise from various situations. This blog delves into the reasons for termination, the legal proceedings involved, and the consequences of such decisions.

2. What are Parental Responsibilities and Rights

As defined by the Children’s Act, 2005, parental responsibilities and rights may be full or specific, encompassing the care, contact, guardianship, and maintenance of the child. When it comes to guardianship, this includes managing the child’s property and legal affairs, and giving or refusing consent in legal matters concerning the child.

3. Termination vs Suspension of Parental Responsibilities and Rights (“PRR”)

In terms of Section 28 of the Children’s Act, PRR can be terminated or suspended. Termination permanently ends a parent’s responsibilities and rights, whereas suspension temporarily pauses them. Termination is usually irreversible, highlighting its seriousness, while suspension may allow for future reinstatement under certain conditions.

4. Who can Request Termination or Suspension

The following parties may request termination or suspension in terms of Section 28(3) of the Children’s Act:

  • A co-holder of parental responsibilities and rights.
  • Any person with a significant interest in the child’s welfare.
  • The child, with the court’s permission.
  • Any person, acting in the child’s interest with the court’s permission.
  • A family advocate or a representative of a state organ.

5. Which Courts can Deal with Termination and Suspension Matters

Section 28(1) of the Children’s Act provides that the High Court, divorce courts in divorce matters, or children’s courts are empowered to handle applications for the termination or suspension of parental responsibilities and rights.

6. Factors the Court will Consider

The court will consider several factors when deciding whether or not to terminate or suspend parental responsibilities and rights, including but not limited to:

  • The best interests of the child, as set out in Section 7 of the Children’s Act.
  • The child’s relationship with the parent in question.
  • The parent’s commitment to the child.
  • The nature of the personal relationship between the child and the parents or caregivers.
  • Any other facts which the Court believes should be taken into account


Terminating or suspending parental responsibilities and rights is a sensitive and complex process, requiring empathy and sensitivity. It demands a careful assessment of the child’s best interests and the parent’s circumstances.

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