BACK TO CITIZEN Guardianship on the other hand is the right to administer the child’s property, to assist the child in administration, contractual or other legal matters, and to consent to a child’s marriage, adoption and departure from South Africa, application for a passport, or … Tracing of the “other” parent in a step-parent situation is sometimes difficult but in the long run, the more information that is provided to the social worker assisting with the adoption, the better. The rights and roles of parents on school governing bodies in South Africa Noleen Van Wyk University of South Africa Pretoria, South Africa The South African Schools Act of 1996 mandates the establishment of school governing bodies (SGBs) comprising parents, educators and non-educator members of staff. The formal enquiry takes place before a magistrate in a maintenance court, which essentially performs the functions of a civil court except that the Magistrate is given far greater rights to descend into the arena and to play an inquisitorial role. It shifted the focus from the rights and power of the parent, as embodied in the word “custody”, and brought children’s rights to the fore (denoted by the word “care”). BACK TO PREMIUM The normal rules of civil proceedings in a magistrate’s court apply. Health department suspends screening at Beitbridge, Covid-19 As of 2015, more than half of the South African population was living under the official poverty line, and homes headed by black African women are at greatest risk of impoverishment. A parent can contact an attorney for support; however, this may come at a hefty cost. With thanks for input from Marlise Viljoen (Adopticare) and Katinka Pieterse (Supervisor: Adopticare; Director: Abba Adoptions), Elke Day is an accredited adoption social worker with ADOPTICARE. The Children’s Act specifies that only organisations or social workers accredited to do adoption work may provide adoption services, so it is also vital to ensure that the person or organisation you are using has been accredited by the Department of Social Development to do adoption work. There have been many queries about step-parent adoptions and there seems to be little information regarding what is involved in the process from a South African perspective. The exception is the parent who is the spouse/ partner of the one applying to adopt in a step-parent adoption situation. Private social workers are a good option but there is currently no binding regulation of fees in private practice, so the best would be to ask for a breakdown of their rates at the beginning so that you can make an informed choice. However, any children born of the subsequent marriage will be taken into consideration when calculating maintenance. The. School Drop-Off and Pick-Up Most stepfathers want to be fully involved in the lives of their stepchildren and help their spouse with parenting responsibilities. Situations vary, so the best option is to discuss your circumstances openly with the social worker assisting with the adoption so that she can find the best way to proceed according to the Children’s Act provisions. This is a formal agreement that becomes a court order. South African law does not make specific provision for grandparents’ rights over their grandchildren. © 2021 All4Women.co.za All rights reserved. Before signing consent each person must have counselling from an Adoption Accredited Social Worker with regard to what consent entails and the implications thereof. According to the Mbalo Brief by Stats SA, most South African children are raised in single-parent families. The court was also asked to declare that section 242 of the Children’s Act did not automatically terminate all the parental responsibilities and rights of the guardian of a child whose spouse or life partner sought to adopt the child. Practice Guidelines on National Adoption, Department of Social Development. She said the centre had received numerous telephone calls and e-mails over recent months from parents, step-parents and practitioners who had been turned away by the Children’s Court when seeking to apply for a step-parent adoption. Mkhize says UK minister’s claims on Covid-19 variant ‘incorrect’, Africa With the current attention to the high levels of gender-based violence in South Africa, it is important to note that this ruling is not aimed at criminalizing parents. In your divorce, the judge will determine what is in the best interest of the child and base his custody and visitation decisions on that factor. General Step Parents Rights Because a step parent is not biologically related to a child, she has no rights in regards to that child's placement, health or welfare. Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter. the first step in protecting children more from physical violence in the home. One must bear in mind that step-parent adoption, like any other adoption, terminates the parental rights and responsibilities of the birth parent. Section 10 of the Children's Act, [119] which incorporates the provisions of article 12(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into South Africa's domestic law, thereby complying with South Africa's obligations in that regard, [120] provides that every child who is of such an age, maturity and stage of development [121] as to be able to participate in any matter concerning that child has the … South African family law is concerned with those legal rules in South Africa which pertain to familial relationships. Somizi has words for Cele’s 9PM bedtime – “We are not your children”, Of course – 2020 ends with a hippo in Jo’burg, Exhaustion, anxiety, weird smells – We explore the common and bizarre Covid-19 after effects, Facebook erupts following racist lockdown post referring to ‘monkeys’. Parental Rights in South Africa The court can grant an order that can limit parental responsibilities and rights, depending on the nature or circumstance of the matter of course. If the child is 10 years old, or mature enough to understand the process, they must also sign consent at court. Having focused on adoption in some form or other over the last 15 years through adopting 2 children herself, running an adoption support group, being part of setting up Botshabelo Children’s Home and working at Abba Adoptions, she has extensive experience in this field. In South Africa, we have the Children’s Act 38 (Act 38 of 2005), which came into effect on 1 April 2010. This is not true. CCL attorney Carina du Toit said in court papers the application was on behalf of two specific children as well as all other children affected by the present interpretation of the Act. An appointment will then be made at the Children’s Court that is in their area and they will sign the consent before the Presiding Officer. Situations vary, so the best option is to discuss your circumstances openly with the social worker assisting with the adoption. One of the Categories of “Persons who may adopt a child” in the Children’s Act, is: “ …a married person whose spouse is the parent of the child, or by a person whose permanent domestic life–partner is the parent of the child”. Some rights are inherent upon the union of the stepdad and the child's biological mom, while others can be obtained by order of the court. This does not mean that the step parent does not have an obligation to ensure that the child is well cared for, but rather that the step parent has no right to dictate who has access to the child. The parties involved can for example agree that the biological parent giving up his/her parental rights is allowed to phone the child on his/her birthday or visit the child under supervision once a year. Unfortunately, as a step-parent, you don’t have any rights to custody and/or visitation in South Carolina unless you have adopted your stepchildren. These are obligations owed by certain persons towards a child, including, caring for the child, maintaining contact, acting as a guardian and providing maintenance (s 18).5 The Children’s Act5 also recognises the role played by persons who have no parental rights and responsibilities in respect of a child. South African Law does not make specific provision for Grandparent rights over their Grandchildren. The real work begins now. Copyright is secured automatically when you create an original work that people can see or hear such as a book, painting or music. The CCL contended the failure to include a child being adopted by his or her step-parent or domestic life partner in the list of children who were adoptable breached the child’s constitutional right to family or parental care and to have their best interests considered paramount. The Presiding Officer will check that they understand the implications of signing consent to the adoption of the child. GRANDPARENTS’ RIGHTS UNDER THE NEW LAW. Voluntary termination of parental rights is a case when biological parents complete the required paperwork or ask the judge to terminate their parental rights. Once this process has been followed, the reports are submitted to the Department of Social Development, and once they have provided an approval letter, the reports are submitted to court. The adopting parent must go through a screening process. Consent granted outside South Africa must be signed in the presence of and attested to by an officer in the service of a South African diplomatic or consular mission, or by a judge, magistrate, justice of the peace or public officer of the country concerned. “It is undesirable to have laws that are vague, unclear or contradictory, particularly when they affect children,” she said. This process establishes the “adoptability of the child” which must be proven before an adoption can be granted. If due process is not followed, the adoption can be challenged in court. Single motherhood in South Africa is a huge problem because it puts a severe psychological and financial strain on both mothers and children. With the implementation of the Children’s Act (2005)5 South African law moved from a narrow focus on biological parents to the concept of ‘parental responsibilities and rights’. Any child (a person younger than 18 years of age) may be adopted, where: 1. s/he is an orphan and there is no legal guardian/s or caregiver/s willing to adopt him/her; 2. his/her parent/s or legal guardian/s cannot be established; 3. s/he was abandoned, for example, the child had no contact with his/her parent/s or legal guardian/s for at least 3 months; 4. s/he was abused or neglected by his/her parent/s, legal guardian/s or caregiver/s; or 5. s/he needs a permanent home. var googletag = googletag || {}; These are persons who voluntarily pro… New Covid-19 variants: What we know so far, in 500 words, Health Formalities of Marriage in South Africa Same-Sex Relationships Unmarried Parents and Children Parental Rights and Responsibilities Care and Contact (Custody) of Children Divorce In South Africa Divorce Process in South Africa Division of Assets in Divorce Divorce and Retirement Funds Rule 43 and Interim Maintenance Divorce a Missing Spouse There is actually not a big difference in the process between step-parent adoption and regular adoption. In the alternative, the centre sought an order declaring these sections of the Children’s Act unconstitutional and invalid. No annual fee increase for pharmacy professionals next year – council, General Because they want the child to have both parents' privileges, they will release only if there is "good cause" to approve the request. Judge Andre Louw heard legal argument and reserved judgment in the application by the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Child Law (CCL) even though Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini did not oppose the application. If a parent re-marries in community of property, his/her proportionate contribution to the child’s maintenance will come out of the joint estate. This had a profound impact on the children involved and detracted from their right to have their best interests considered. However, when the court does make these changes, they will consider what’s in the child’s best interests. Once the adoption is finalised, the child may take the step-parent’s surname and the step-parent will have full rights and responsibilities towards the child as if the child were born to him or her. In signing consent for the adoption by the step-parent, the biological parent must realise that the implication of this is that should the couple ever get divorced, the adoptive parent will have the same rights towards the child as if the child was born from their marriage, and would have the right to apply for custody in this situation. Since googletag.cmd = googletag.cmd || []; var googletag = googletag || {}; Step-parent adoption, like any other adoption, terminates the parental rights and responsibilities of the birth parent. South African laws have extensive human rights standards that are applied to children’s welfare in the country. For instance, section 28 of the Bill of Rights which constitutes the second chapter of the South African Constitution, 1996 (Act No 108, 1996) contains nine broad rights of children. Cape-Town based family law attorney Juan Smuts from Abrahams & Gross Attorneys says in terms of Section 21 of the Children’s Act of 2005, “An unmarried biological father will only have automatic parental rights if he’s living with the mother in a permanent life partnership and consents to … Step 5: The formal enquiry. The choice of social worker to assist in the adoption is important because the social worker will take you through the process and ensure that the legal process has been followed correctly. Both biological parents have to sign consent for the adoption unless one of the parents is deceased in which case a death certificate must be submitted. A step-parent is under no obligation to support a step -child. Many welfare organisations prefer to refer step-parent adoptions to private social workers as the process is time-consuming and their primary focus is assisting children in need of care. The child has the right to spend Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with the respective parent and visitations rights for fathers in South Africa also allow the father to spend some time with the child on the father’s birthday and on the child’s birthday if the child would like this. They occur in the same households and share the same drivers. The new Children’s Act 38 of 2005 Law does however provide for third parties who have an interest in the care, wellbeing, or development of a child to apply either to the High Court or the Children’s Court (as the case maybe) for an Order for Care, Contact or Guardianship over minor children. References: The Children’s Act, No. This is only. SIGN IN The step-parent would need to be screened, which entails various interviews and assessments being done and includes a home visit, a marriage assessment and an individual assessment. According to the Act, people who may bring such an application include: co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child; anyone with sufficient interest in the care, protection, well-being or development of the child; the child, acting with the leave of the court; The process involved to declare the child adoptable depends largely on the age and maturity of the child, which determines whether the child would have to sign consent to their adoption at court. This is not taken lightly and this is why there is quite an extensive process to follow. It is possible to have a Post Adoption Agreement put in place where a contract regarding communication or visitation and provision of certain information may be made. Once the adoption is finalised, the child may take the step-parent’s surname and the step-parent will have full rights and responsibilities towards the child as if the child were born to him or her. Even if the divorce settlement has awarded sole custody to one biological parent, the consent of the other biological parent is still required in adoption matters. To be fully involved in the lives of their stepchildren and help their spouse with parenting responsibilities children..., ” she said this process establishes the “ adoptability of the birth parent best! When biological parents complete the required paperwork or ask the judge to terminate parental! Detracted from their right to have laws that are vague, unclear or contradictory, particularly when they children. Adoption social worker with ADOPTICARE ask the judge to terminate their parental rights responsibilities... 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