Guardians of the galaxy… The needs & requirements of minor children

05 Sep 2023

The needs and requirements of minor children are a vast galaxy of intricate concepts regulated by a minor child’s guardian.

In terms of the South African Children’s Act (38 of 2005) a minor child’s biological parents automatically have parental rights and responsibilities, which include guardianship. A guardian must administer and safeguard a child’s property, assist or represent a child in contractual or legal matters and consent or refuse any consent required by law.

In South Africa, single parents are often faced with the predicament of being unable to solely consent for their children to travel, apply for a passport or visa, undergo certain medical procedures etc. The minor child’s biological mother and father, regardless of whether both parents have any involvement in the child’s life, must jointly consent to these major decisions.

The Adams & Adams Family Law team recently came to the rescue of a single mother and her minor child. The father abandoned the child before the age of one and has not exercised any of his automatic rights and responsibilities as the biological father for years. The mother was unable to apply for the child’s passport without the biological father’s consent resulting in the child being unable to enjoy a trip to Disney Land with his mother and other family members.

The biological father was requested to attend the Department of Home Affairs to sign the required paperwork to allow the child the opportunity to travel, however due to his lack of interest in the child he simply ignored the requests.

The mother’s legal team lodged an urgent application to the High Court in Pretoria requesting that the court order that the mother has sole guardianship of the child. The Court considered the best interest of the child and agreed that a child should not be held at ransom by an uninvolved parent. The order was granted and the mother is now able to solely apply for the child’s passport and visa.

The Adams & Adams family law team has extensive experience and knowledge and are able to assist parents in ensuring the child’s best interest is safeguarded.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Shani van Niekerk

Shani van Niekerk is a senior associate at Adams & Adams' CPL department. Her speciality and passion lie in matrimonial disputes and family law, inclusive of Domestic Violence and Harassment... Read more about Shani van Niekerk


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