The Family Advocate deals with endorsements of Settlement Agreements in divorce matters as well as disputes between parents or family members over the parental responsibility and rights of children.
The Family Advocate is there to ensure that Settlement Agreements are in line with the children’s best interests as well as to provide Recommendations when parents cannot agree to custody arrangements during their divorce. This would include vitiation of the children, how often and whether such contact should or should not be supervised.
In the case of an Unopposed Divorce, your attorney will usually provide the Family Advocate with the issued Summons, Particulars of Claim as well as Sheriff return indicating that Service of the Summons etc has taken place on the other spouse. The Family Advocate will then scrutinise the content of the Court documents as well as the Settlement Agreement to see whether this is in the best interests of the children and whether the Settlement Agreement complies with the formalities and wording of the Children’s Act. If the Family Advocate is satisfied, they will endorse the Settlement Agreement and your attorney may proceed to obtain a divorce date for your matter. If the Family Advocate is unsatisfied they will inform your attorney of these reasons and request rectification alternatively, that an investigation is conducted into the best interests of the children. For more information regarding Unopposed Divorces, please see our blog at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/divorce-when-is-it-unopposed/
In the case of an Opposed Divorce, your attorney will deliver a form, which you must sign, as well as the Court Documents, Sheriff Return etc to the office of the Family Advocate. The Family Advocate will then peruse the documents and invite the parties to be interviewed. The Family Advocate will then make recommendations or interim recommendations as to the care and custody of the Children. The Courts will take into consideration any recommendations of the Family Advocate as well as any other experts your attorney may have advised you to hire, should you be dissatisfied with the investigation of the Family Advocate or their Recommendations. It is very important that you consider consulting your attorney thoroughly when divorcing as well as to enquire as to your rights, duties and expectations regarding your children. For more information regarding Opposed Divorces, please see our blog at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/divorce-when-is-it-opposed/
The office of the Family Advocate does not deal with maintenance. It is only concerned with the well-being of the children’s safety, care and custody of the children. For maintenance matters you would need to approach the Courts. Your attorney should advise you on whether to approach the Maintenance Court, Interim Urgent Court or wait for the final Order of the Divorce Court. Your attorney should also advise you during settlement negotiations about maintenance or any other aspect of your divorce.
For more information on the office of the Family Advocate, please visit https://justice.gov.za/FMAdv/f_contacts.html
Contact us today to set up your consultation at https://www.hamelattorneys.co.za/contact/ or on 012 754 3385. Our consultations may be done in person (after lock-down) or at any time, with set appointment online via Skype.