Legally Speaking

This weekend I received a call from a very frantic grandmother, she has a grandchild living with her and is the only one maintaining the child She wanted to know:

What her rights as a grandparent are?

I advised her grandparents often find themselves in a tug of war when a divorce comes into play as they have restricted or no access to their beloved grandchildren. The New Children’s Act 34 of 2005’s main objectives are, amongst others to:
• make provision for structures, services and means for promoting and monitoring the sound physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional and social development of children;
• strengthen and develop community structures which can assist in providing care and protection for children;
• promote the preservation and strengthening of families;
and calls for
• the prioritization of the best interest of the child,
• the right to the child being able to participate in any matter concerning that child,
• a child’s right of access to court.
The Children’s Act makes provision for interested persons such as grandparents to apply to court for interalia contact.
It also makes provision for any person having an interest in the care, well-being and development of a child to apply to the High Court for an order granting guardianship.
The Court in making its order will consider and take into account:
• the best interests of the child;
• the relationship between the applicant(Interested Person) and the child
• the degree of commitment that the applicant(Interested Person) has shown towards the child
• the extent to which the applicant(Interested Person) has contributed towards expenses in connection with the birth and maintenance of the child; and
• any other fact that should, in the opinion of the court, be taken into account.

These types of matters may in certain circumstances be rather complicated and therefore it is best that you obtain the best legal assistance you can afford.

Serisha Mewa is a professional assistant to Claudia Garella founder of Garella Attorneys which specializes in the practice of law!