parental rights, responsibilities, and legal advice for fathers. Understand how to navigate issues like false accusations and maintenance disputes.

(FAQ) – Fathers Parental Rights and Responsibilities

1. Are a biological father’s rights the same as a married woman’s, man’s or biological mother’s rights?

Answer: If you comply with Section 21 of the Children’s Act, then yes, a biological father has the same rights as a married man, married woman, or biological mother. There have been numerous constitutional pronouncements in 2021, 22, and 2023 that further enshrine this.

2. Are my rights automatically equal to those of a married man or woman?

Answer: If you comply with Section 21 of the Children’s Act, then yes, your rights are automatic and equal.

3. What rights do I have as a married man or biological father?

Answer: If you comply with Section 21 of the Children’s Act, then you have automatic, joint, equal, shared, 50/50 rights and responsibilities in contact, care, guardianship, and maintenance from birth under specific conditions. Mothers do not have more rights than the father or the child; we are all equal before the law.

4. Can I demand joint, equal, shared, 50/50 contact, care, guardianship, and maintenance?

Answer: Yes, as a married man, these rights are automatic, and as a biological father, if you comply with Section 21 of the Children’s Act, you are entitled to joint, equal, shared, 50/50 rights in contact, care, guardianship, and maintenance. Nothing less is acceptable. A mother’s rights do not exceed those of the father. The constitution, specifically Section 9.1 of the constitution, tells us we are all equal before the law.

5. How should parenting and maintenance plans be detailed?

Answer: Plans must be specific, covering everything from clothing expenses to school fees. They should include specific times for phone calls and video conferencing. email us at for more information

6. Is Parental Alienation Syndrome considered child abuse?

Answer: Yes, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) officials say that Parental Alienation Syndrome is implicit within the DSM-5-TR, specifically nested within the parent-child relational problem (PCRP) classification, and thus recognizes PAS as child abuse, and it should be criminally prosecuted. It’s essential to educate yourself on this matter.
F4J SA is specifically campaigning internationally to have the definition of PAS included as a specific form of child abuse within the DSM 5. Further, we are lobbying the South African government to have it classified as a form of child abuse with immediate retributive actions for those who perpetrate and those who aid a parent in perpetrating PAS.

7. How can I protect myself against false protection orders?

Answer: Challenge false allegations within 15 days, demand evidence, and report false accusations to relevant authorities.

8. How can I handle threats and manipulation from lawyers and advocates?

Answer: Follow the legal procedures outlined in question 7 and demand all meetings be held in camera. Further, no lawyer, advocate, psychologist, or social worker can issue you a directive or an instruction unless this has been court-ordered before the instruction. Even then, question its validity. For lawyers, etc., to have an instruction issued, they must go to court to have said instruction issued. Contact us should you require support. Simply put, lawyers, etc. are not judges and magistrates; lawyers, etc. cannot issue demands, edicts, or instructions; only a competent judge or magistrate can issue you an instruction. This instruction must be legal and not compromise your constitutional rights. Now your constitution Simply put, lawyers, etc. are not judges; they cannot give you orders.
Parental co-ordinators must be court-mandated, they can only operate and give instructions within the parameters of the court order. For instance, they can not cancel a parenting plan. If the parenting plan is causing undue conflict then they must refer the matter back to the courts.

9. What are the responsibilities regarding maintenance?

Answer: Maintenance is the joint, equal, shared responsibility. Both parents must contribute within their reasonable ability to pay for the child’s upkeep. Maintenance is for the child and the child alone. Only items such as school uniforms and school clothing, medical aid, and extramural activities are specific to the child. As the child is enjoying 50/50 contact with both parents, things like rent, water, light, etc. do not form part of the maintenance.

10. Who decides which school the child attends?

Answer: Both parents are legally responsible. If there’s a disagreement on school fees, the parent desiring a more expensive school must cover the additional costs. Please note that F4J has been unsuccessful in having fathers’ rights enshrined regarding the education of their children. Please see our letter sent to the Minister of Education regarding the plight of fathers regarding their rights and responsibilities in educating their children. The minister of education does not view fathers as essential to the education of their children, let alone equal to mothers.

11. What if I can’t afford school fees?

Answer: You may qualify for exemption based on a prescribed formula. Ensure you apply for an exemption if needed.

12. Why should parenting plans and maintenance orders be specific?

Answer: Specificity avoids ambiguity. Reduce verbal agreements to writing immediately, and get them court-ordered promptly.

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