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New lockdown custody rules exclude parents without court-ordered plan - expert

8 April 2020 5:57 PM
Tags:
co-parenting
court order
children's rights
Lockdown
lockdown rules
joint custody
parenting plans
lockdown custody

Child maintenance expert Felicity Guest says the new lockdown rules exclude co-parents without court orders and those in the process of divorce.

The government has published new amendments allowing parents with joint custody to move their children between their respective homes during the lockdown.

The Social Development Department amended the regulations under the Disaster Management Act on Tuesday night.

Previously, children of separated parents were not allowed to move around during the lockdown period.

Despite the new regulations, Guest says children's rights are still being violated because the amendments exclude co-parents without court papers.

This is contrary to what a previous family law expert told CapeTalk on Tuesday morning.

Under the new regulations:

  • parents have to be in possession of an existing court order where the parental responsibilities and rights agreement registered with the family advocate are outlined;

  • the house where the child is set to go must be coronavirus free - this means there must be no one living there who is even suspected of coming into contact with a person who may have contracted the virus; and

  • the parent transporting the child must have at least a copy of the court order or official agreement setting out the visitation rights with them at the time of travelling.

Guest adds that the amendment does not clarify what happens in the cases where the parents live long distances from each other, across different provinces.

Constitutionally, this is still not quite correct.

Felicity Guest, Founder at Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa

The decision still hasn't gone far enough.

Felicity Guest, Founder at Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa

There are many parents that co-parent that don't have a court-ordered parenting plan.

Felicity Guest, Founder at Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa

They have got on well and have co-parented up until this point. They are missing in this directive because they don't have a court-ordered parenting plan.

Felicity Guest, Founder at Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa

Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:


8 April 2020 5:57 PM
Tags:
co-parenting
court order
children's rights
Lockdown
lockdown rules
joint custody
parenting plans
lockdown custody

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