WHAT IS A PARENTING PLAN?
A parenting plan sets out how parents will exercise their respective responsibilities and rights.
It is a written agreement drafted by both parents with the help of a neutral party such as a mediator.
This document is the fundamental agreement in respect to co-parenting arrangements.Parenting plans are the mechanism assisting parents with how to exercise their parental responsibilities and rights after separation or divorce.
The Parenting Plan must be drafted in accordance with the best interests of the child(ren) principle as set out in the Children’s Act.
Parenting Plan must be in a prescribed form and include solutions in respect of to the following factors:
- where and with whom the child is to live;
- the maintenance of the child;
- contact between the child and any other person; and
- the schooling and religious upbringing of the child.
Once the plan is finalized, it is signed by both parents and becomes legally binding.
DO BOTH PARENTS HAVE PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITY IN RESPECT OF MINOR CHILDREN INVOLVED IN DIVORCE?
Yes. In terms of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 these parental rights and responsibilities include the responsibility and right:
- To care for the child;
- To maintain contact with the child;
- To act as guardian of the child; and
- To contribute to maintenance of the child.
REVISED PARENTING PLANS
Parenting plans need to be revised, as children’s developmental needs change over time. Reviews can range from every six months to every year, depending on the child’s age.
Co-parenting starts the day the decision is made to separate has been made. Even the most amicable separations need a plan for future co-parenting. Putting your children’s best interests first, no matter how much you may dislike their other parent, is the key to co-parenting.
Circumstances change, people move, children grow and develop and what once worked may not be working now, if this is the case a mediator will be able to help work through the issues and draft a revised parenting plan or assist in reaching agreements relating to issues such as primary residence, visitation rights, contact, maintenance and other matters.
PARENTAL RIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITIES
(1) A person may have either full or specific parental responsibilities or rights in respect of a child.
(2) The parental responsibilities and rights that a person may have in respect of a child, include the responsibility and the right-
(a) to care for the child;(b) to maintain contact with the child;(c) to act as guardian of the child; and(d) to contribute to the maintenance of the child.
(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), a parent or other person who acts as guardian of a child must -(a) administer and safeguard the child’s property and property interests;(b) assist or represent the child in administrative, contractual and other legal matters; or(c) give or refuse any consent required by law in respect of the child, including-(i) consent to the child’s marriage;(ii) consent to the child’s adoption;(iii) consent to the child’s departure or removal from the Republic;(iv) consent to the child’s application for a passport; and(v) consent to the alienation or encumbrance of any immovable property of property of the child
(1) The biological father of a child who does not have parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child in terms of section 20, acquires full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child- (a) if at the time of the child’s birth he is living with the mother in a permanent life-partnership; or (b) if he, regardless of whether he has lived or is living with the mother-
(i) consents to be identified or successfully applies in terms of section 26 to be identified as
the child’s father or pays damages in terms of customary law;(ii) contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute to the child’s upbringing for a reasonable period; and
(iii) contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute towards expenses in connection with the maintenance of the child for a reasonable period.
(2) This section does not affect the duty of a father to contribute towards the maintenance of the child.
(1) (a) Before a person holding parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child takes any decision contemplated in paragraph (3) involving the child, that person must give due consideration to any views and wishes expressed by the child, bearing in mind the child’s age, maturity and stage of development.
(b) A decision referred to in paragraph (a) is any decision-(i) in connection with a matter listed in section 18(3)(c);(ii) affecting contact between the child and a co-holder of parental responsibilities and rights;(iii) regarding the assignment of guardianship or care in respect of the child to another person in terms of section 27; or
(iv) which is likely to significantly change, or to have an adverse effect on, the child’s living conditions, education, health, personal relations with a parent or family member or, generally, the child’s well-being.
(2) (a) Before a person holding parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child takes any decision contemplated in paragraph (b), that person must give due consideration to any views and wishes expressed by any co-holder of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.
(b) A decision referred to in paragraph (a) is any decision which is likely to change significantly, or to have a significant adverse effect on, the co-holder’s exercise of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.
(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.
Office Number: 079 496 7164
Marici M Corneli: 082 254 1677
Carmen C Scott: 081 760 6419
854 Frhensch Street
0044 Pretoria (Tshwane)
Marici Corneli is an architect of change in the field of Mediation. She journey’s alongside people in Mediation assisting them in their way forward. Her motto is:
“Let`s get understanding and closure with every successful agreement in every mediation we journey through.” – Marici