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Filter: Family
Are you a divorced or separated parent during Christmas? Navigate the festive season with a parenting plan.

23 December 2022,  Chang-Lin Dirks

Who gets the kids on which days? Will I be able to take my child to my family in a different... province or country for the festive season? To what extent is my child allowed to spend time with me at my place of residence? Do these questions sound familiar?

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Article
Appeal Court settles debate on when you can claim arrear maintenance

13 April 2022

A friend of yours has been divorced for a few years now. Her ex was supposed to pay maintenance, but... it wasn’t long before he started paying less and less and then eventually stopped. Your friend was just too fearful of conflict to do anything about it and continued to raise her kids by herself. Now however, money is tight and she is wondering if there is anything she can do to get her ex to pay the maintenance he should have paid?

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Article
Can an unmarried father register a child under his surname?

15 November 2021

I’m the father of a newborn daughter. The mother, to whom I’m not married, disappeared immediately after birth leaving me... as sole parent of my daughter. Because I don’t know where the mother is I cannot get the mother’s consent. Without this consent Home Affairs does not want to register my daughter under my surname. I have no idea what to do now. Can you help?

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Article
Can adopted children benefit from a family trust?

14 June 2021,  Elani van Coller

Sometime before his death, my father established a family trust which contained properties that were rented out to generate income... for my mother. In accordance with the trust deed however, once my mother dies, the income from the properties would go to the children of my mother and father. I have an adopted brother and 2 biological sisters. There is now a debate as to whether my adopted brother also qualifies to benefit from the family trust. What is the legal position?

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Article
Can an email qualify as a last will?

14 June 2021,  Millisanté de Wee

My aunt recently passed away suddenly due to Covid-19. In the hunt for her will, it transpired that she had... sent an email to her attorney in which she had asked for amendments to be made to her will and for some of the beneficiaries to be removed. The attorney confirmed that he had not had opportunity to draft a new will before my aunt passed. Can her email be seen as her valid last wishes?

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Article
When do maintenance obligations prescribe?

20 May 2021

My ex-husband has for some time now not paid his maintenance as per the court order. Because I had a... job and was earning a basic income, I just left it as I didn’t want the hassle of trying to get him to pay. Now I’ve been retrenched and have asked him to pay his outstanding maintenance, but he refuses and says his attorney told him that his obligation to pay has prescribed. Surely this can’t be right?

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Article
Who can inherit from a child’s estate?

10 February 2021,  Natalie Steenkamp

I have a friend who has been looking after her grandson since birth when her daughter just walked out on... the child after he was born with deformities. My friend managed to obtain a settlement with the hospital for negligence during the birth and now takes care of the child using the money from the settlement. The child is very sick and may not have much time left with the biological mother suddenly making an appearance to try and claim the remainder of the settlement money. Surely my friend is entitled to the money having taken care of the child all her life? What is the position in law?

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Article
When it's time to get a family lawyer

20 July 2020

Disagreements and relationship niggles are all part of normal family life. We can't all get along, all the time. However,... there may come a time when you realise that the arguments and familial issues you are facing, are of a much more serious nature and that intervention is, unfortunately, an unavoidable necessity. At such a difficult time, an experienced family law specialist can very well be your strongest ally and asset.It is important though, that you first ask yourself if you do in fact, need an attorney. There are many advantages in obtaining the services of a family law attorney to assist you with your legal matter. It may not always be necessary though. The maintenance courts, domestic violence courts and children’s courts are all set up in such a way to make it possible for people to bring and oppose matters in those courts in-person themselves. This means it is entirely up to each individual to decide for themselves whether they want or have to appoint an attorney.Should you decide to appoint an attorney, however, it is advisable that you do so as early on as possible to ensure that you are properly assisted, advised and guided from the very start of your matter.  Once you have appointed an attorney, the next very important step is to get your documents together. Every case is different and depending on the precise nature of your legal matter, your attorney will be able to advise you on what exactly is needed from you. As a general rule of thumb, try to take at least the following documents and information with you when consulting with your attorney for the first time: FOR DIVORCES:  A copy of your marriage certificate. (If you don’t have it or it's in your spouse's possession, you can discuss this with your attorney first. Should your attorney confirm that you must have a divorce certificate, you can collect a new one from the Department of Home Affairs). Remember that after divorce, your marriage certificate will no longer be needed and for this reason, the original marriage certificate is contained in the court file when the divorce is finalised; If married out of community of property, a copy of your antenuptial contract; Copies of your minor children’s birth certificates; Your most recent payslip;  A list of monthly expenses for yourself and your minor children (if applicable); A list of all your assets (both movable and immovable) together with the value thereof, if possible; A list of all your debts, together with the outstanding balances thereof. FOR MAINTENANCE:  A list of your monthly income and expenses; Your payslip for the last three months;  Copies of your bank statements for the last three months;  A copy of your ID; Copies of your minor children’s birth certificates; A copy of your marriage certificate (if you are already divorced, a copy of the divorce order and deed of settlement, if there is one); If an order was already made in the maintenance court, a copy of this order. FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: The general documentation required in terms of FICA legislation, including your ID document and proof of residence; Any proof which you may have of the domestic violence such as photographs, messages, e-mails etc. CHILDREN’S COURT MATTERS: A copy of your ID; The child concerned’s birth certificate; Previous parenting plans, deeds of settlement or agreements of a similar nature;  Any and all correspondence between you and the other parent or party including messages, e-mails and recordings. In my next blog, I'll point out even more useful tips to get the most out of the legal assistance you've obtained.

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COVID-19 in South Africa: will the national lockdown affect my right to see my children?

01 April 2020

I am a divorced father of three minor children. Our children live with their mother primarily and our divorce order... states that I will have them with me for half of every school holiday and on every second weekend. Does this still apply during the national lockdown?

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Article
Chris-Meri Lillie on MedFM: interim maintenance orders

22 February 2019

On MedFm 104.1 Chris-Meri Lillie, your personal family law advisor, recently discussed interim maintenance orders and other legal steps that... can be taken while divorce proceedings have not yet been finalised. 

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Article
What leave is a father entitled to at the birth of his child?

12 February 2019,  Sinenhlanhla Khoza

My wife is due to give birth in two months. I've seen media reports that a father is now entitled... to longer paternity leave, but when I approached my employer to find out I was informed that I am only entitled to three days family responsibility leave. What is the current position?

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Article
Why an antenuptial agreement may be important when getting married in terms of customary law

12 February 2019,  Corlia van Zyl

I am getting married this year in terms of customary law. My fiancé and I are both professional persons and... want to be married out of community of property so we can each manage our own estates. How can we go about doing this?

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