In South Africa, all parents has]ve rights and duties over their child or children. This is collectively known as parental rights and responsibilities. There are times where a parent is not able to fulfil these as desired. This can be due to several reasons such as divorce, separation or in the case of the parents not living together. In such instances, the question of who takes full custody of the child often comes up.

If you’re here then you may be on the road to seeking full custody of your child or children. As child custody lawyers in Durban, we can guide you and make sure that the process is as smooth as possible. First, information is power, so we will be sharing what you can expect when filing for full custody.

How Do You File For Full Custody Of Your Child In South Africa?

When seeking custody of your child or children, you need to approach a court for such a ruling. You can either petition the Children’s Court or the High Court. What happens next is the court evaluating what is in the best interestes of the child.

To get this process started, there are two options. You can seek a social worker’s assistance or approach an office of the Family Advocate. Here you are assisted in the drawing of a parenting plan. Once done, you will complete Family Advocate forms. These forms indicate the Social Worker, Advocate or Psychologist with which the parental plan was prepared. You will then move onto registering the plan in court.

If, at this stage, you are not successful, the next course of action is to go to court. To get this started, you will approach divorce court, or children’s court. According to Section 23 of the Children’s Act No 38 of 2005, the areas considered by the court are:

  • the best interest of the child
  • how well you have contributed to the child’s expenses
  • the commitment that you have demonstrated to the child thus far
  • the relationship that between you and the child

If you, as the mother or father, are claiming full custody, the law expects you to come up with supported reasons the former guardian is not suitable for the role. For more information about child custody law in South Africa, visit our previous post about What You Need to Know About Child Custody.

Are you looking for a child custody lawyer in Durban? We have a team of expert attorneys equipped to support you. Contact The Law Offices of Karen Olivier, a top law firm in Durban. We will make sure that one of our lawyers will assist you and/or provide you with advice.