Money and kids

 

During the marriage one finds that as a husband and wife you have several relationships in place. There are relationships that connects two people emotionally, physically, spiritually, a sexual relationship, financial relationship and parental etc.

After divorce you are left with only 2relationships that will always be part of your divorced life and that is the parental relationship and financial relationship. Once you understand this and can agree on putting your children first then you will find it easy to manage your divorce. A parenting plan is designed to assist both parents to understand their responsibilities to care for their children.

These are the fundamental principles regarding South Africa Law that relates to your children:

·        The welfare of a child comes first.

·        Children have the right to have contact with both parents, which include adoptive and biological parents. Grandparents also have a right to contact their                grandchildren.

·        Children have a right to food, housing, care, love.

·        Parents also have to care for their children’s emotional and physical wellness.

·        Parents primarily have responsibilities toward their children.

·        This responsibility continues through divorce until your children become self-sufficient and financially independent.

·        Keep in mind that children seem to leave the house a later in life these days…some children stay till age 25-27. They study or battle to find jobs. This has a          huge impact on your own financial stability

·        Parental responsibilities cannot be transferred to another person without a court order. (a)

 

 Maintenance:

During the marriage both parents would know that to care for children is a financial responsibility. This financial responsibility continues after the divorce. Maintenance is a legal and moral duty of BOTH parents.(b)(c)

Maintenance is paid to provide for your children’s needs:

·        Housing

·        Clothing

·        Medical care

·        Education

·        Special care if they have special needs

·        Food etc.

 

Ask a financial advisor to guide you in terms of drafting a budget together with the parenting plan. This will highlight the importance of communication and the financial responsibility of both parents. This will also alleviate some of the fears that both parents might have.

For example a stay home parent that never worked and cannot earn the same income as the ex-partner would need the financial emotional security that she can rely on maintenance and that it will be paid on time every month. 

 The opposite parent might fear that she / he will not see their children again. This fear can also be managed by drafting a parenting that gives days and times of access to children, this becomes a court order that you both have to adhere to. A parenting plan can be reviewed annually and should be review especially when your children gets older and their needs changes.