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To relocate with children is not always that easy and the main consideration will always be what is in their best interests. Relocation within the Republic:The Children’s Act does not set out consent procedures for relocation within the country. The Act does stipulate however that co-holders of guardianship over a child can exercise their parental rights and responsibilities independently and without the consent of the other guardians rights.

This means that a parent, with whom the child permanently resides, can independently and without the consent of other parent, decide to relocate with the child within the country.However, section 6 of the Act states that a child given his age and maturity and a person who has parental rights and responsibilities in respect of that child must be informed of decisions in matters concerning the child which would significantly affect the child.

Furthermore section 30 of the Act stipulates that a co-holder of parental rights and responsibilities must consult and give consideration to the views of other co-holders of rights and responsibilities as well as the child when making decisions which is likely to change significantly, or to have a significant adverse effect on, the co-holder’s exercise of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child. This includes decisions which would affect contact between the child and the other co-holder of parental rights and responsibilities, such as decisions to relocate with the child to another province or city.

Relocation outside of the Republic:Section 18 of the Children’s Act sets out rights and responsibilities parents have in respect of their children.These include the right and responsibility to care for the child; to maintain contact with the child and to act as guardian of the child. Furthermore the Act stipulates that the person acting as guardian must inter alia give or refuse consent to the child’s departure or removal from the Republic or for the application of a child passport.For the most part guardians can make decisions without consulting or getting approval from others who hold guardianship over the child.

However, when it comes to a decision to depart with a child or to remove a child from the Republic all those who have guardianship over the child must give consent before relocation with the child can materialise.If a guardian refuses to consent to the removal of the child from the country, the parent wishing to relocate will have to approach the High Court to obtain consent from the court.

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Author – Jessica Gooding

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