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Question
Posted by: FIO | 2010/09/23

Age to approach or be heard in court

Hi there again,

One more thing, at what age is a childs voice considered in the court? I read somewhere that below the age of 8 a child is considered incapable of determining what is in his/her best interests, but after 8 more consideration is given to what the child wants.

Is there any truth to this? And what is considered an appropriate age for a child to make decisions or be considered old enough to make self determination decisions regarding things like which parent to live with etc?

Is the age of 8 written or referred to anywhwere?

Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

With the promulgation of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, our law recognises that children should be given an opportunity, if they are of an appropriate age, to voice their opinions with regard to such issues. The Act does not stipulate an appropriate age when children’s views should be taken into account, it does state that a child of adequate age, development, maturity and intellectual capabilities should have his or her views and wishes considered.

The best interests of the child are paramount, and this is the primary consideration in these kinds of matters. While the Act does not specifically mention the preference of a child, Section 10 of the Act does state that children have the right to participate in an appropriate way. Views expressed by these children must be given due consideration.

Bertus Preller
Family Law Attorney
Abrahams and Gross Inc.
www.divorceattorney.co.za
info@divorceattorney.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: family law expert | 2010/09/26

With the promulgation of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, our law recognises that children should be given an opportunity, if they are of an appropriate age, to voice their opinions with regard to such issues. The Act does not stipulate an appropriate age when children’s views should be taken into account, it does state that a child of adequate age, development, maturity and intellectual capabilities should have his or her views and wishes considered.

The best interests of the child are paramount, and this is the primary consideration in these kinds of matters. While the Act does not specifically mention the preference of a child, Section 10 of the Act does state that children have the right to participate in an appropriate way. Views expressed by these children must be given due consideration.

Bertus Preller
Family Law Attorney
Abrahams and Gross Inc.
www.divorceattorney.co.za
info@divorceattorney.co.za

Reply to family law expert
Posted by: Mandy | 2010/09/25

FIO - don''t despair and worry about if the other party has a bigger and better home the courts have social workers and they will investigate. Contact Claire at Inspired Parenting she will help you. Google Inspired Parenting and follow the link her e-mail address is there and there are also questions and answers from other forum users....Good Luck !

Reply to Mandy
Posted by: FIO | 2010/09/24

Thanks.

It just concerns me when a judge or anyone determines whether or not a child is capable of making decisions that are in his/her best interests. If a child wants to live with mom, or with dad, surely that would make the child happy, and thus be in best interests of child, assuming of course either parent is able to fulfil other criteria related to responsible parenting.

Just because one parent may be able to offer a more fancy home etc, what good is that if the child is not happy?

Reply to FIO
Posted by: Mandy | 2010/09/24

FIO, contact Claire on your question she is qualified in this field.
Inspired Parenting

Reply to Mandy
Posted by: FIO | 2010/09/23

Age of 12 refers to age where child can obtain contraceptives without parental consent. However, when a child needs to make other decisions thaty oertain to daily livem is there an appropriate age for consideration?

Does a six year old know what is in his best interests? He may know what he wants likes etc, but is that necessarily in his best interests? Would the same apply for an 8 year old, or a ten year old? What age would it apply for.

The point is, when is a child voicce heard, and listened to, and respected by a court? Or is the court decision based on forensic analysis conducted by a suitably qualified child psycholigist?

Reply to FIO
Posted by: Mandy | 2010/09/23

I stand to be corrected I believe if the child is 12+ unless the child of 8 is being abused etc then the social workers will also step in.........Good Luck !

Reply to Mandy

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