Family Matters

                                        Mediation Forum’s services include (but are not limited to) the following:
•         Responsibilities and Rights Agreements
The mother of a child, or a person who has parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child, may enter into an agreement with any other person (biological father or Grandparents) that has an interest in the care, well-being and development of the child.
 
•         Settlement Agreements
The Divorce Settlement agreement gives the parties the opportunity to draw up a settlement agreement that they find best suited to their specific circumstances. The parties also have full contractual freedom to apply the matrimonial property regime applicable to their marriage. The settlement agreement may be drafted to be incorporated in the decree of divorce and made an order of the court.

•         Parenting Plans
A parenting plan must comply with the best interests of the child standard as set out in Section 7 of The Children's Act. As any parent instinctively knows and understands, nothing should come before the health and well-being of your children, and divorce, as difficult as it might be for everyone involved, should NOT change that fact.
The Children's Act, 38 of 2005 ss.33 determines that “The co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child may agree on a parenting plan determining the exercise of their respective responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.(2) If the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child are experiencing difficulties in exercising their responsibilities and rights, those persons, before seeking the intervention of a court, must first seek to agree on a parenting plan determining the exercise of their respective responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.”
A parenting plan may determine any matter in connection with parental responsibilities and rights, including-
  • where and with whom the child is to live;
  • the maintenance of the child;
  • contact between the child and
  • any of the parties; contact between the child and
  • any other person; and
  • the schooling and religious upbringing of the child.

•         Visitation and Access to children
This is also referred to as Contact and Care and will be incorporated in a Parenting Plan or Responsibility and Rights agreement which can be made an order of court.
 
•         Dissolution of a Civil Marriage
The settlement agreement may be drafted to be incorporated in the decree of divorce and made an order of the court. Mediation Forum can also assist you with a DIY divorce.
 
•         Life Partnership Agreements
Life Partnership (also referred to as “domestic partnerships” or “cohabitation”) generally refers to people who, regardless of their sex, live together without being validly married to each other. Men and women living together do not have the rights and duties married couples have and do not generally enjoy formal recognition by the law as married couples do. The rights and duties that marriage confers do not apply. This is the case irrespective of the duration of the relationship. The perception or assumption that living with your partner for a certain length of time amounts to a common law marriage, whereby you will obtain certain benefits, is incorrect.
Mediation Forum can assist Life partners (regardless of their sex) to enter into a cohabitation contract, also called a domestic partnership agreement that regulates their respective obligations during the subsistence of their union and the (patrimonial) consequences of the termination thereof. Such an agreement will usually contain regulations regarding finances during the existence of the cohabitation relationship and deal with the division of property, goods and assets upon its termination. Parties may even include an express provision for the payment of maintenance upon termination. Life Partners who fail to draw up a cohabitation agreement or contract will have no legal protection, unless they can prove the existence of a universal partnership.
The contents and nature of a cohabitation agreement will depend on the needs of the parties and may not include any provisions that are illegal, against the morals of society or contrary to public policy.

•         Maintenance Agreements
Mediation Forum can assist parties to include a Maintenance Agreement as part of the Settlement Agreement to be incorporated in the decree of divorce and made an order of the court. We can also assist mothers in matters relating to the maintenance of a child born out of wedlock, both to claim maintenance for herself immediately before, during, and after the birth and enforcing this right to maintenance. 
 
  DISPUTE REFERRAL FORM

Father's Rights

Many people in South Africa still believe that unmarried and divorced fathers have limited rights in terms of the contact and care of their child(ren), and that the mother has the sole right to decide what is best for the child/children. The Constitution recognises that natural fathers have a right to play a role in their children’s lives as this in the best interest of the child(ren). This marks a break from the traditional thinking where South African law focused more on a natural father’s financial responsibilities to children than his right to be part of their lives.
The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 marked a milestone in how natural fathers’ rights are handled in South African law. Fathers, even Unmarried Fathers, now have a range of rights that they did not have in the past. This is great news since Fathers are as responsible to their child(ren) as Mothers are, and should thus be allowed to play a significant role in their upbringing. The Children’s Act actually focuses not on parental authority and rights, but on the child’s rights. The Children’s Act stipulates that an Unmarried Biological Father will have automatic parental rights and responsibilities only if:
•    at the time of the child’s birth, he was living in a life partnership with the mother, i.e. they were living in a de facto husband and wife relationship and chose not to get married;
•    regardless of whether he was living with the mother or not, he consents to be identified as the Father of the child or applies for an amendment to be effected on the birth certificate that he be registered as the Biological Father of the child in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, or pays damages in terms of customary law; and
•    he contributes or has attempted to contribute in good faith to the upbringing of the child within a reasonable period, and has paid or attempted to pay Maintenance.
A child whose parents were not married to each other at the time of the child's conception or at any time after the birth of the child has the same right to the father’s love and care. We at Mediation Forum can assist fathers to exercise these rights, whether your child was born within or outside of wedlock.
Please call us on 021 824 8551 or e-mail Dispute Referral Form to info@mediationforum.co.za.

 

  DISPUTE REFERRAL FORM

Civil & Commercial Mediation

Mediation attempts to help parties (a firm, a tradesperson, body corporate, even a member of your family) in dispute to hear one another, to minimise the harm that can come from disagreement (e.g. hostility or ‘demonising’ of the other party), to maximize any area of agreement, and to effectively manage disputes. This ensures a reduction in legal and administrative costs and freeing up management time for more productive purposes. The savings gained by avoiding just one court case a year and the advantages for businesses in adopting mediation processes are multifaceted and immeasurable. Successful mediation can even prevent owner-partnerships and small businesses from dissolving.

  DISPUTE REFERRAL FORM

Training

EVER CONSIDERED MEDIATION AS A CAREER?

The Faculty of Law, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus offers options to help you get there:
 

SHORT LEARNING PROGRAMME ON CIVIL MEDIATION

  • 40 hours of training – Monday to Friday - PLUS submission of assignments and a portfolio.
  • Proposed NQF level 8, 12 proposed credits.
  • Assessment during practical role plays and simulations and on written tests and assignments.
  • The minimum admission requirement is a three year bachelor degree (or equivalent) plus a minimum of 5 years post-matric working experience.
  • Course fee of R12 500 plus VAT includes text book, study material, basic stationery, training, assessment, certificate, 5 lunches, 10 teas.


This course has been approved by the NWU Institutional Committee on Academic Standards. It complies with the prescribed 40 hour formal training and standards set by the court annexed mediation rules as one of the requirements for registration as a mediator.

Applications close 30 days prior to commencement of the course. We reserve the right to reschedule or cancel a course should we receive an insufficient number of applications. We can also schedule in-house training on dates that suit your company.

Enquiries: info@mediationforum.co.za
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Registration forms: http://www.nwu.ac.za/faculty-of-law-short-learning-programmes