The decision to relocate with a child can be a difficult one, especially when it involves moving far away from the other parent. Child relocation can be a particularly contentious matter, and it can weigh heavily on both parents. For this reason, it is advisable to seek legal advice during this process to ensure that you are making informed decisions and to avoid unnecessary conflict.

The Children's Act of 2005 provides a framework for determining parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a minor child. From this, it is clear that South African law recognises the importance of both parents in a child's life. When a marriage is dissolved, both parents typically retain guardianship of the child unless a court order states otherwise. Therefore, if one parent wishes to relocate with their child outside of the borders of South Africa, they must obtain written consent from the other parent even after separation. If the other parent withholds their consent, the relocating parent will have to apply to the High Court for permission to relocate with the child. 

There is no specific legislation that regulates child relocation, and each case is decided on its own merit. The High Court will only grant permission to relocate if it finds that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. To determine this the court will look at the reason why the parent wishes to relocate as well as the relationship between the child and each parent. The court will also consider the impact that relocating will have on the child and how it will affect their lives.

The court may also take the child's wishes into account, depending on their age and maturity level. The court may then appoint a social worker to interview the child and make an assessment, after which they will make a recommendation to the court based on their findings.

Child relocation cases can be lengthy and expensive, and they can take a toll on both the parents and the child. It is often best for parents to try to reach an agreement through mediation or negotiation, rather than going to court.

At Cawood Attorneys, we understand that every situation is unique, and we are committed to providing our clients with sound legal advice and support throughout the child relocation process. Our experienced attorneys will guide you every step of the way and answer any questions you may have to put your mind at ease. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our qualified attorneys or feel free to browse our website for more information.

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