South Africa: Family Law

SOUTH AFRICA AND CHILD ABDUCTION: Some Information from the Family Advocate's Office 

How does the Convention work?

The Central Authority in South Africa applies, on behalf of the applicant, to the Central Authority of the country to which the child has been taken. The requested Central Authority or their designated representative should on receipt of the application, take immediate steps to:

  • Discover the whereabouts of the child
  • Prevent any further harm to the child
  • Attempt to secure the voluntary return of the child, otherwise initiate or facilitate judicial or administrative proceedings in that country with a view to obtain the return of the child to South Africa or the securing of rights of access to the child
  • Provide or facilitate the provision of legal aid and advice

If a child has been wrongfully removed to South Africa or retained in South Africa, the Family Advocate, appointed as Central Authority, will receive the documents from the other country's Central Authority. The Family Advocate will study the application and if the application is well founded in terms of the legislation, will effect proceedings to locate and return the minor child.

Checklist for applicants:

In order to facilitate the processing of an application by the Central Authority for the R.S.A., the parent left behind or the parent seeking to secure effective exercise of rights of access/visitation must ensure that the application contains the following documents:

  • Prescribed questionnaire in English
  • Recent photographs of the child(ren) and of the abducting parent
  • Certified copies of birth certificates, preferably unabridged
  • Proof of parental rights, such as court orders (and agreements of settlement, where applicable) regarding the custody, access & guardianship
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate, where applicable
  • Details of the child(ren)'s and/or the abducting parent's whereabouts or possible location
  • Sworn translations to English of all relevant documentation, if in a foreign language

Designation and Contact Details of Central Authority:

The Chief Family Advocate of South Africa has been appointed as Central Authority for South Africa. 
The Chief Family Advocate for South Africa is Advocate P I Seabi.

Contact Details:

Room 9.36 West Tower, Momentum City Walk, c/o Prinsloo & Pretorius Streets,
Private Bag X81, 

Tel:+27 12 357 8021

Providing wise and experienced legal counsel to international families for many years

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