Realising children’s right to participation during the divorce proceedings of parents

Prinsloo, Marli (2021-12)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: To a child, the divorce of his or her parents is a traumatic and life-altering event. The divorce of parents and the proceedings related thereto have the potential to determine how various aspects of a child’s life, such as where they will live and go to school or how often they will have contact with the parent with whom they do not live, will develop. Based hereupon it is safe to say that a child’s parents’ divorce and related proceedings can greatly affect a child. In terms of article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 4(2) of the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the Child as well as sections 10 and 31(1) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, a child, who is capable to do so, has the right to participate in matters that affect him or her by sharing his or her views and having these views considered. Despite having a clear and well-established right to participate in a matter that so deeply affects them, a child’s right to participate in their parents’ divorce related proceedings is often not realised. This thesis will evaluate the various methods of representation and direct participation employed to give effect to the child’s right to participation to determine to what extent the child’s right to participation is being realised or not realised. It is generally accepted that litigation is not the ideal way in which to resolve divorce and related proceedings, especially when children are involved. This thesis attempts to determine whether family mediation as model is better suited to realise a child’s right to participation in this particular context. It does so be placing family mediation as a model in contrast with the traditional legal processes that go hand in hand with divorce related litigation. To achieve the abovementioned, a model of measuring children’s participation is proposed. The proposed model highlights the shortcomings as well as the positive aspects of the various methods of children’s participation in South Africa. This exercise is repeated in the context of Australian divorce related proceedings in an attempt to compare and contrast the two jurisdictions. Finally, the model is also employed to measure mediation as a model to realise a child’s right to participation, in aid of determining whether mediation as a model is better suited to realise a child’s right to participation in his or her parents’ divorce related matters.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die egskeiding van ouers is ‘n traumatiese en lewensveranderende gebeurtenis in ‘n kind se lewe. ‘n Egskeiding en ander gepaardgaande regsprosesse het die potensiaal om te bepaal hoe verskeie aspekte van die kind se lewe sal ontwikkel. Hierdie aspekte sluit onder meer in waar die kind sal woon en skooltoe gaan, en hoe gereeld hul die ouer by wie hul nie woon nie, sal sien. Gebaseer hierop is dit regverdig om te sê dat ‘n kind se ouers se egskeiding en gepaardgaande regsprosesse, ‘n groot impak op die betrokke kind se lewe kan hê. ‘n Kind het, in terme van artikel 12 van die United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, artikel 4(1) van die African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the Child sowel as artikels 10 en 31(1) van die Kinderwet 38 van 2005, ‘n reg om deel te neem in aangeleenthede wat hom of haar beïnvloed. Dit behels onder meer dat die kind hul siening mag deel, en daardie siening in ag geneem word. Ten spyte van ‘n kind se duidelike en gevestigde reg tot deelname, gebeur dit gereeld dat hierdie betrokke reg nie gerealiseer word nie. Hierdie tesis evalueer verskeie metodes van verteenwoordiging sowel as direkte deelname te evalueer ten einde vas te stel tot watter mate die kind se reg gerealiseer word, aldan nie. Daar word oor die algemeen aanvaar dat litigasie nie die ideale manier is om egskeidings en verwante aangeleenthede te benader waar daar kinders betrokke is nie. Juis hierom poog hierdie tesis om vas te stel of gesinsbemiddeling as model meer geskik is om die kind se reg in die betrokke konteks te realiseer. Dit word gedoen deur tradisionele litigasie te vergelyk met gesinsbemiddeling. Ten einde bogenoemde oogmerk te bereik, word ‘n model wat verskillende vlakke van deelname meet, voorgestel. Die model werp lig op die tekortkominge sowel as positiewe eienskappe van verskeie metodes van deelname in Suid-Afrika sowel as Australië. Die model word ook gebruik om gesinsbemiddeling as model te evalueer om vas te stel of dit die kind se reg realiseer terwyl dit die tekortkomige van tradisionele litigasie aanspreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/123965
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