Parental Rights & Responsibilities
The relationship between a parent and child is one of the most unique and intimate relationships that the law attempts to regulate. It is not an exaggeration to say that raising children is one of the most challenging (yet rewarding) tasks in life. A child-focused approach that prioritises their best interest and needs isn’t just good parenting; it’s an obligation set out in our country’s laws. Knowing and understanding these legal rights and duties of parents in South Africa empowers moms and dads to step up and do their best!
The rights and responsibilities of a parent is enshrined in the Children’s Act 38 of 2008 (the “Children’s Act”) and can be defined as a complex set of rights, duties and responsibilities, which have to be exercised in the best interests of the minor child. These rights and responsibilities include the following elements namely: caring of the child, maintaining contact with the child, to act as a guardian over the child and to contribute to the maintenance of the child.
The law, which aims to protect children, while respecting parent’s rights, acknowledges that there is no such thing as the “perfect parent”, but emphasises that parents have to do what’s in their child’s best interest.