How to find a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, South Africa

Divorcing your parents

I was interviewed by two radio stations yesterday to give commentary on a major decision made by the Cape High court recently. The case involved a 16 year old high school child from Milnerton who successfully was allowed to live semi-independently from her parents.

According to the reports on the case there had been problems between her and her parents, and her father had hit her on the face with a cellular phone which he felt that she could not have. On the minor child’s version her father had anger management issues and was overprotective. One of the problems, on the minor’s version, was that the father was unhappy with the cellular phone, because it may lead to her interacting with other boys.

The father in his opposing papers stated that the home was a loving home, and that all three daughters were deeply loved. He further stated that he wished to prevent her from associating with any bad elements, and that she was rebelling against the household rules.

In the end the minor spoke to a teacher at her school about the household problems. One of her complaints was that she felt that her parents were trying to get her away from her friends in Milnerton, as they had enrolled her at an Afrikaans school, and she did not feel comfortable being taught in Afrikaans.

The end result of the case was that the minor child was allowed to live independently from her parents. Her parents may now have contact with her for a few hours per week at a neutral venue, and have telephonic contact with her, and they furthermore have to continue with their legal duty to financially support her.

Some of the criticism on the case would be that the breaking up of family homes is a very drastic move, and that this should only happen in practise in exceptional circumstances. I heard some commentary on the radio also from people who stated that the minor child may well have been more at fault than her parents. One caller stated that she had a daughter who had used a cellular phone to be rebellious.

Some people may however well believe that this was however the correct decision made by the court, and that the parents in this case may have become overprotective. In this case the minor child had not actually been emancipated, but the court had allowed the child to live semi-independently. It seems as though the judge made his decision in the best interest of the minor child, which was the correct thing to do.

In other countries it happens a lot more regularly than in South Africa that minors are allowed to live independently from their parents. Each case is different and must be looked at independently however. This was a most interesting decision by the Cape High Court and may well be used as a precedent by our courts in future cases.

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