|dc.description.abstract||Parenting plans are a new concept for professionals in South Africa working in the field of divorce.
Emphasis has been placed on the development of parenting plans by including the concept of
parenting plans in section 33 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Professionals are now confronted
with formulating adequate parenting plans which are focussed on the best interest standard of the
child(ren) and that will assist the family with its functioning post–divorce.
The aim of this research was to develop substantive guidelines that can assist the professional in
drafting parenting plans. To achieve this aim, the following objectives guided the study:
* To provide the legal context of parenting plans in South Africa. A legal context of parenting
plans in South Africa is discussed by way of a literature study through an intensive analysis
and critical discussion on a number of legal instruments pertaining to children, such as the
Children’s Act 38 of 2005; the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996; the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights
and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).
* To ascertain the views of mental health professionals (social workers and psychologists) and
legal professionals (attorneys and family advocates) with regard to the divorcing family and
parenting plans. The views of mental health professionals and legal professionals with
regard to the divorcing family in respect of parenting plans were established. Professionals
completed an electronic questionnaire that consisted of open questions to establish their
views. Further telephonic interviews with the professionals were facilitated to gain further
insight into the professional view points on the issue of divorcing families and parenting
* To ascertain the needs of the divorcing family (parents and child(ren)) and to present these
needs in the structuring of a parenting plan. The needs of the divorcing family (parents and
child(ren)) were established through an explorative approach by means of a document study and electronic questionnaires that were completed by the family members. Through this
exploration the researcher obtained an understanding of the needs of the divorcing family
related to parenting plans.
* To provide professionals with comprehensive and clear guidelines on the basic structure and
general content of a parenting plan. Comprehensive and clear guidelines on the basic
structure and general content of a parenting plan were constructed for professionals
working in this area, based on findings of articles 1, 2 and 3 of this research. The researcher
also relied on her background and training as a qualified social worker to construct these
It was concluded that professionals are not necessarily well equipped to structure high quality
parenting plans. Guidelines ought to assist the professionals to structure plans that are well
organised, practical, child–centred, developmentally appropriate, and representative of the divorcing
The researcher believes that as parenting plans are obligatory for parents that divorce, there is a
need for South African research on this subject matter. This study is a contribution in the research
field as to assist the professionals with the task of compiling parenting plans for the divorcing family.
In addition this study adds value to the forensic field by setting guidelines on the structuring of
parenting plans that empower the professional to work in this challenging field.||en_US