CHILD CUSTODY APPLICATIONS & SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS
Any person with an interest in the care, well-being or development of a child may apply to the High Court for an order granting guardianship. The court must take several factors into account, including the child’s best interests and the relationship between the applicant and the child.
In most cases, both parents remain holders of full parental rights and responsibilities upon divorce or separation. A detailed settlement agreement is drawn up, addressing all the necessary issues in respect of parental rights and responsibilities. This includes which party will have primary residence of the child, the contact the minor child will have with the other parent, major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, maintenance payable by each party and what to do in the event of the parties being unable to agree on a certain aspect.
Although the settlement agreement is made an order of court, both parties should always act in the best interest of the minor child. If circumstances change, a party has the right to deviate from the agreement and approach court again for an amendment of the terms and conditions thereof, alternatively the suspension or termination of the other party’s rights.