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’. 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. As part of the laws protecting children's rights in South Africa, based on Section 20 of the Children’s Act No 38 of 2005, the biological married father of a baby has full parental rights and responsibilities if: If he is married to the child’s mother, or If he was married to the child’s mother at- … This process establishes the “adoptability of the child” which must be proven before an adoption can be granted. 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. South African family law is concerned with those legal rules in South Africa which pertain to familial relationships. “It is undesirable to have laws that are vague, unclear or contradictory, particularly when they affect children,” she said. Voluntary termination of parental rights is a case when biological parents complete the required paperwork or ask the judge to terminate their parental rights. 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. 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. She serves on the Executive Committee of the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa. One must bear in mind that step-parent adoption, like any other adoption, terminates the parental rights and responsibilities of the birth parent. 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. However, when the court does make these changes, they will consider what’s in the child’s best interests. 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 … The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides that a parent has the following rights and responsibilities towards his/her child: to care for a child; to keep contact with a child; 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. South African Law does not make specific provision for Grandparent rights over their Grandchildren. The. This had a profound impact on the children involved and detracted from their right to have their best interests considered. Alternative options include approaching a legal aid clerk or … The application may be done earlier in the process at some courts. 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. A parent can contact an attorney for support; however, this may come at a hefty cost. There is a common misconception that if the biological parent has not contributed towards financial maintenance of the child, his/her consent is not required. With the rising costs of living and education, being solely responsible for all of the costs required to care for a child is no doubt a significant weight on the shoulders of a single parent. Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter. Elke Day is an accredited adoption social worker with ADOPTICARE. 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. Situations vary, so the best option is to discuss your circumstances openly with the social worker assisting with the adoption. 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 the alternative, the centre sought an order declaring these sections of the Children’s Act unconstitutional and invalid. This Act is seen as the next step in what has been over a decade of initiatives by the Department of Justice to strengthen the South African maintenance system and to put into place remedies to deal with those who fail to comply with their duty of maintenance. South African laws have extensive human rights standards that are applied to children’s welfare in the country. Here section 10 of the Act is of use. This is only. SIGN IN If due process is not followed, the adoption can be challenged in court. 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 … 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. GRANDPARENTS’ RIGHTS UNDER THE NEW LAW. Step-parent adoption, like any other adoption, terminates the parental rights and responsibilities of the birth parent. 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. 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. 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. They occur in the same households and share the same drivers. No annual fee increase for pharmacy professionals next year – council, General However, any children born of the subsequent marriage will be taken into consideration when calculating maintenance. Although the new Children’s Act provides for unmarried mothers and fathers in South Africa to have equal parental responsibilities and rights in bringing up and supporting the child, mothers have a distinct advantage when it comes to the primary residence of the child and where the child will live permanently. 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. 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. JOIN PREMIUM The child must have a medical report and the social worker would need to assess the child and the relationship between the child and the step-parent. These are persons who voluntarily pro… The normal rules of civil proceedings in a magistrate’s court apply. 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. 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”). 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. 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 adopting parent must go through a screening process. Because they want the child to have both parents' privileges, they will release only if there is "good cause" to approve the request. 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 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. 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. 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. The Presiding Officer will check that they understand the implications of signing consent to the adoption of the child. Health department suspends screening at Beitbridge, Covid-19 On 9 September 2015, the Maintenance Amendment Act No. 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 second part of the adoption process is to establish whether the person adopting is “fit and proper” to do so. The centre asked for an order declaring that section 230(3) of the Children’s Act did not preclude a child from being adoptable in instances where the child had a guardian and where the person seeking to adopt was the spouse or life-partner of the guardian. If the child is 10 years old, or mature enough to understand the process, they must also sign consent at court. 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. 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. 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