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Pretoria - The grandparents of a 10-year-old boy have turned to court to have a parenting plan for the child approved.
The couple want to ensure the boy’s biological parents, who appear incapable of caring for him, stick to the values and norms the grandparents had set for him.
The couple, who live in Midrand and cannot be identified to protect the boy, submitted a fully-fledged parenting plan to Pretoria High Court Judge Selby Baqwa.
The plan was carefully worked out by a social worker in conjunction with the grandparents and the biological parents. All the parties undertook to abide by it.
The judge made the parenting plan an order of court.
If one of the four parties contravenes any of the plan’s clauses, they could be held in contempt of court.
The child is living with his grandparents, although they do not have formal custody over him.
The parenting plan will afford them some rights over the child.
The grandmother said she was at first totally against the mother’s pregnancy, as the unmarried parents had a stormy relationship.
However, her heart “melted” when she held the baby in her arms shortly after his birth.
Ever since birth, the child has spent most of his time with his grandparents and they played a fundamental role in his life.
She said they did not approve of his parents’ unstable lifestyle.
His mother eventually abandoned him and he was left in his father’s care.
The child showed behavioural problems at school and was aggressive towards his classmates.
The biological father eventually moved in with the grandparents, who then took care of the child full-time. The father eventually moved out, leaving his child behind in the care of the grandparents.
The grandparents want the child to have a good relationship with his parents, but are unsure what he is exposed to when his parents remove him from their care - on the rare occasions that happens.
The child is thriving at school and the grandparents did not want the situation to deteriorate to what it had been. They also feared what would happen if the child needed urgent medical treatment, which they could not consent to as they are not his legal guardians.
The biological parents agreed that the grandparents would be the guardians. They also agreed on the child’s schooling and undertook not to badmouth each other.
A clause reads that the biological parents will not expose the child to music, films or television shows not appropriate for his age.
If they cannot reach an agreement on any aspect of raising the child, the parties would submit themselves to mediation.
Centre for Child Law legal representative Morgan Courtney said it seemed more people were making use of the parenting plan provided for in the Children’s Act. “It is a good route to go. We support this.”