A child is not a pawn!

The best interests of the child(ren) are paramount in all matters regarding the child.

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From the outset, I need to state that I will not entertain any matter where the best interests of the child(ren) do not carry 1st priority. As an officer of the Court, it is my duty to protect the best interests of the child and as such, under my hands, I will not tolerate any scenario where the child becomes the pawn in any matter.

Parental alienation syndrome in short refers to the scenario where one parent (or care giver) “poisons” the mind of the child and it results in the child becoming alienated from the other parent. The definition of abuse in the Children’s Act is so broad that parental alienation could be interpreted as harming the child psychologically, which of course would have disastrous effects on the terms of care and contact with the child.

The enactment of the Children’s Act brought about a radical change in thinking with regards to parental rights. The Children’s Act brings about a dramatical mind shift regarding the rights of parents/guardians. The act inter alia sets out the principals relating to the care and protection of children and defines parental responsibilities and rights. Gone are the days when we used to refer to “child custody”, and we welcome this new era where the focus has shifted to “care” and “contact”.

Prior to a Court granting a decree of divorce, the Court first need to be satisfied that a signed parental plan, endorsed by the Family Advocate, be in place.

Hence, the need for a detailed and thoroughly thought through parental plan speaks for itself.

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My name is Tineke van Rooyen and I practice as an attorney in Jeffreys Bay, thereby servicing the greater Kouga District.

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