Parenting plans

Co-holders of parental responsibility are obliged to devise a family plan before approaching the court for relief. This can be done through mediation by a social worker or other suitably qualified persons, including an attorney who is an accredited divorce mediator.

Parenting plans 

Co-holders of parental responsibility are obliged to devise a family plan before approaching the court for relief. This can be done through mediation by a social worker or other suitably qualified persons, including an attorney who is an accredited divorce mediator.

Section 33 of The Childrens’s Act provides:

33     Contents of parenting plans 

1)     The co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child may agree on a parenting plan determining the exercise of their respective responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.

2)     If the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child are experiencing difficulties in exercising their responsibilities and rights, those persons, before seeking the intervention of a court, must first seek to agree on a parenting plan determining the exercise of their respective responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.

3)      A parenting plan may determine any matter in connection with parental responsibilities and rights, including-

a)      where and with whom the child is to live;

b)      the maintenance of the child;

c)      contact between the child and-

i)       any of the parties; and

ii)      any other person; and

d)      the schooling and religious upbringing of the child.

4)      A parenting plan must comply with the best interests of the child standard as set out in section 7.

5)      In preparing a parenting plan as contemplated in subsection (2) the parties must seek-

a)      the assistance of a family advocate, social worker or psychologist; or

b)      mediation through a social worker or other suitably qualified person.

34     Formalities  

1)      A parenting plan-

a)      must be in writing and signed by the parties to the agreement; and

b)      subject to subsection (2), may be registered with a family advocate or made an order of court.

2)      An application by co-holders contemplated in section 33 (1) for the registration of the parenting plan or for it to be made an order of court must-

a)      be in the prescribed format and contain the prescribed particulars; and

b)      be accompanied by a copy of the plan.

3)    An application by co-holders contemplated in section 33 (2) for the registration of a parenting plan or for it to be made an order of court must-

a)      be in the prescribed format and contain the prescribed particulars; and

b)      be accompanied by-

i)       a copy of the plan; and

ii)      a statement by-

(aa)           a family advocate, social worker or psychologist contemplated in section 33 (5) (a) to the effect that the plan was prepared after consultation with such family advocate, social worker or psychologist; or

(bb)           a social worker or other appropriate person contemplated in section 33 (5) (b)to the effect that the plan was prepared after mediation by such social worker or such person.

4)     A parenting plan registered with a family advocate may be amended or terminated by the family advocate on application by the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights who are parties to the plan.

5)     A parenting plan that was made an order of court may be amended or terminated only by an order of court on application-

a)      by the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights who are parties to the plan;

b)      by the child, acting with leave of the court; or

c)      in the child’s interest, by any other person acting with leave of the court.

6)      Section 29 applies to an application in terms of subsection (2).

35     Refusal of access or refusal to exercise parental responsibilities and rights 

1)    Any person having care or custody of a child who, contrary to an order of any court or to a parental responsibilities and rights agreement that has taken effect as contemplated in section 22 (4), refuses another person who has access to that child or who holds parental responsibilities and rights in respect of that child in terms of that order or agreement to exercise such access or such responsibilities and rights or who prevents that person from exercising such access or such responsibilities and rights is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

2)

 

a)     A person having care or custody of a child whereby another person has access to that child or holds parental responsibilities and rights in respect of that child in terms of an order of any court or a parental responsibilities and rights agreement as contemplated in subsection (1) must upon any change in his or her residential address forthwith in writing notify such other person of such change.

b)     A person who fails to comply with paragraph (a) is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

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