Divorce Update: Holiday Contact with Your Child/Children – Be Prepared in Advance

By Candice Eve-Friis, Partner in the Child & Family Law department

One of the unfortunate repercussions of divorce is the splitting of school holidays with one’s ex-spouse in respect of time spent with the children of the marriage. Whilst this may seem like quite a simple exercise to someone outside of the situation, it often becomes the subject of urgent and expensive High Court litigation.

So, how do you avoid this?

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Make sure that you discuss and consult with your ex-spouse well ahead of time in respect of how the holidays are going to be split.
2. If possible, try and alternate the holidays between you and your ex-spouse so as to ensure fairness.
3. If any holidays are going to be spent outside of the province, make sure that all details are provided to the your ex-spouse in case of an emergency.
4. If your child/children are of an age or mature enough to be involved in the decision regarding holiday contact, then discuss it ahead of time with them to obtain their views.

Bear in mind that whether there is a court order in place or not, the best interests of the child will always be the overriding factor that a court will take into consideration when considering these types of applications. Furthermore, when it is not possible to hold a Family Advocate’s enquiry on short notice, the court can exercise its discretion as the upper guardian of all children.

For international holidays the formal consent of your ex-spouse who has co-guardianship will be required, as this falls under the ambit of guardianship. The Department of Home Affairs will also require that both parents fill in and sign the necessary forms to renew passports and grant visas for your child/children.

Make sure you have your ducks in row well in advance to avoid any last-minute drama and the costly exercise of rushing off to court.

For more information on the above, please contact:

Candice Eve-Friis
Child & Family Law department
+27  31 575 7506