Family courts and attorneys request both Mediation and the compilation of a Parenting Plan in line with the new requirements for a divorce procedure. In terms of Section 33 (1) of the Children’s Act, (38 of 2005), the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child may agree on a Parenting Plan to determine the implementation of their responsibilities and rights relating to the child.
The Mediation sessions include tailoring a Parenting Plan to meet the needs of the unique family and in particular the children. The number of sessions is usually determined by the family and the level of co-operation exercised between parents. Mediation usually occurs pre-divorce although some issues can be tackled during or after a divorce. Child-inclusive-mediation (CIM) is an effective method of determining how parenting can be implemented to meet the child’s unique and specific needs. Depending on the age of the child, the child is consulted with regards to the finalisation of the Parenting Plan.
A Parenting Plan is a written agreement made between the parents of a child/ren containing aspects pertaining to:
- the care of the child (e.g. decision-making related to emotional, psychological, educational, spiritual, physical well-being)
- contact with the child (e.g. living arrangements)
- financial responsibility for the child (e.g. maintenance, educational and medical expenses)
- the appointment of a parent-substitute for the child
- incidental matters
- and any other aspect of a parental responsibility for the child
which are related to the raising of the child/children that are being discussed by the mother or other person having parental responsibilities upon the biological father or other person having an interest in the care, well-being and development of the child.