Unmarried fathers to get full access to children in new bill

Unmarried fathers to get full access to children in new bill

A proposed amendment will give biological fathers in South Africa full access to their children. 

New father

A new section in the Children’s Amendment Bill, states that both parents must agree on the residence of a child and that it should not affect the joint exercise of parental responsibilities.

“The residence of a child must be determined in accordance with the best interests of the child and may include – (a) residence with both parents where the parents are living together; (b) residence with one parent,” the bill states.

If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the proposal is that the parties seek mediation services. 

“If there is a dispute between the parents of a child as to his or her residence, the matter must be referred for mediation to a family advocate, social worker or such other suitably qualified person as may be prescribed before approaching the relevant court,” the bill says. 

If one parent believes the other parent is unfit to be a parent, the bill says to approach the courts.

The bill proposes that a person who “prevents that person from exercising such [access] contact or such [parental] 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,’’ unless there's a court order citing that the other parent cannot be allowed access to the child. 

Read the bill here: 

Children's Amendment Bill

The bill also sheds light on children that were conceived through artificial insemination. 

Artificial fertilisation Children's Amendment Bill

Image Credit: iStock  

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