The Court, High Court or Attorneys request Social Workers to conduct investigations and compile reports with recommendations to present in court.
Investigations regarding the psycho-social functioning of parents can be requested by an attorney acting on behalf of one parent or both parents as well as from the Offices of the Family Advocate or for an interim ruling of court.
The same procedure will be followed if there are problems with the current "care" and "contact" agreement, which one of the parties are not satisfied with.
A Parenting Plan is drafted by a Social Worker after consultation with the parents on a prescribed format and which contains specific particulars. An application in terms of Section 33(2) for the registration of a parenting plan with the Family Advocate's Office can be made or it can be made an order of court.
A Parenting Plan is needed for your child/children after the divorce of their parents or where holders of parental responsibilities & rights are not living in the same area or household. The Parenting Plan provides structure and gives guidelines which promote the best interest of the child standard (section 7 of the Children's Act 38 of 2005). It is of paramount importance that this plan is included in your settlement agreement.
It is a report which a Social Worker compiles after investigation of a person or a family in terms of their psycho- social functioning which include the following: personal information, contact details, financial circumstances, physical and emotional health, employment, family relationships, religion, social activities, evaluation, planned intervention, recommendations.
An investigation consists of numerous consultations with parents, children, other key players and institutions. The Social worker may be given a mandate from an attorney, the court or the parties involved to conduct the investigation.
An Interim Court order can be made by the High Court. The application is done after the divorce summons has been served and there is a dispute over primary residence of the children, maintenance of children and parent and contact between parents and children. The Social Worker will do an investigation regarding interim primary residence and interim contact when there is a dispute between the parents or where the safety of the children is at risk with one of the parents.
Biological Mothers and Married Fathers have full parental responsiblities & rights.
The biological father of a child who does not have parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child in terms of section 21, can acquire full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child as referred to in the CHILDREN'S ACT 38 OF 2005.This means that an unmarried father may have the same parental responsibilities and rights as a married father.
Other people may also be assigned specific parental responsibilities and rights and an agreement is entered into