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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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At what age can a child decide to live with either mother or

Resolved Question:

Our daughter turns 15 in May. Since August 2010 she is living with me. Before with her mother. Only then joint custody was agreed on. At what age can a child decide to live with either mother or father if joint custody is prevailing? Her mother now is trying to revoke my right of custody by SA court.

 Is South African law applicable at all if whole family is from Europe but living in SA since many years on basis of a residence permit? All of us are Austrian citizens.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 5 years ago.

Good day.

The Children's Act is applicable to all children and, by implication, parents living in South Africa, so, yes, the principles in that Act will be applicable to your situation.


The Children's Act does not set a specific age at which a child must be heard. The section in the act referring to child participation is section 10 and it reads as follows:


10. Child participation.—Every child that is of such an age, maturity and stage of development as to be able to participate in any matter concerning that child has the right to participate in an appropriate way and views expressed by the child must be given due consideration.

I would argue that a 15 year old would fit the description.


Just note that the best interest of the child principle is still applicable and the choice of the child will merely be one of the factors that the court will take into consideration when making a decision on custody. It may or may not be the deciding factor, depending on the other facts and on the Magistrate/Judge who needs to make a call on this. In most cases where the child is this old, however, it will be a pretty big weight on your side of the scale.


The fact that she has been living with you for quite some time will also count in your favour. Our courts do not like to disrupt the routine and lives of the children under its jurisdiction.


WCLawyer and other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No due to some circumstances I got knowledge that my ex-wife suffers from a mental dissorder. Most likely she´s bi-polar. She´s denieing it and as far as I know does not receive treatment.

If I would step forward and claim that she is an unfit parent, would this mental dissorder be enough so succede? If not, what would you suggest would be best to fight her attempt?
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 5 years ago.
I cannot express an opinion on the merits of your case but if anything is going to swing it in your favour, it is going to be the decision of your daughter and the fact that she has been staying with you for a year and half already.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You state yourself beeing a lawyer with competence in family affairs. - Your answer is not even existing...

Will not use this forum anymore and seek professional advice!
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 5 years ago.

I can state the law on this forum and advise you to an extent on the merits, but without a full consultation and having some idea of what the other side is going to say, I cannot give you odds. Doing so would be irresponsible and inaccurate and you would not want that either.


I can guarantee you here or even after a full consultation that you will be granted custody, but it will be a hollow guarantee only to please you and that is dishonest.


I hope you see it in that light.