Family Law: COVID-19 Lockdown: Movement of Children Between Parents – Here are the New Regulations

Initially, in terms of the lockdown regulations, the movement of children between parents was strictly prohibited. As such, children were required to remain with one parent throughout the lockdown period.However, on 7 April 2020, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, MP, announced that separated parents were now allowed to move their children between homes during the COVID-19 lockdown, provided that they met certain legal requirements. The main legal requirements were that parents must have either entered into a parental rights agreement or have a court order which contains specific arrangements pertaining to care and contact.

On 16 April 2020, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, MP, announced further amendments to the regulations. The amendment with respect to the movement of children reads as follows:

(9)(a) Movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights, or a caregiver, as defined in section 1(1) of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), during the lockdown period, is prohibited except where arrangements are in place for a child to move from one parent to another, in terms of-

i) a court order; or
ii) where a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan, registered with the family advocate, is in existence, or
iii) the co-holder of parental responsibilities and rights is in possession of a birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate of the child or children to prove a legitimate relationship between the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights: Provided that in the household to which the child has to move, there is no person who is known to have come into contact with, or is reasonably suspected to have come into contact with any other person known to have contracted, or is reasonably suspected to have contracted COVID-19 in the household which the child has to move to.

(b)The parent of caregiver transporting the child concerned must have in his or her possession, the court order or the parental responsibilities and rights agreement or a parenting plan or the birth certificate of the child or children, as required.
The latest amendment allows for parents, who do not have a court order, parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan, to transport children between homes provided that they carry their children’s birth certificates or certified copies thereof, which prove that they are co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights.

It is critical for parents to ensure that they carry the court order and/or parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan and/or their children’s birth certificates/certified copies thereof at all times when transporting their children between households, and that they do not transport their children to homes where there is a person who has contracted COVID-19 or come into contact (or reasonably suspected to have come into contact) with any other person known to have contracted (or reasonably suspected to have contracted) COVID-19.

If you require any clarity on these regulations or have any concerns about the well-being of your children under the current circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for the necessary legal advice. All De Klerk & Van Gend staff are available telephonically and on email for the duration of the lockdown.

For any assistance or guidance contact Catherine Warr at cwarr@dkvg.co.za

This article is for general information purposes and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact us At DKVG Attorneys for specific and detailed advice.

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