08 Aug

Introducing Children To A New Partner

The divorce process is traumatic and complicated, however, life moves on. After what could be a messy child custody battle or a simple matter of ‘moving on’ parents often find other partners with which they want to share their lives.

This can be a very awkward time for both you, as a parent, and your children, and introducing your kids to the ‘newfound love’ can lead to them experiencing a number of emotions. There are, therefore, a number of measures involved during this introduction, both of the psychological and legal sort. Take a look:

Remain Professional 

A parent must remain professional as well as amicable when introducing a new partner to the family. The same goes for those parents whose ex-spouse has now introduced a new partner. There are many instances of parents returning to courts at the instance of one of the parent’s new romance. This reignites a pointless legal battle because they believe that the new partner may negatively influence their children.

Both the parent in a new relationship, as well as the other parent, must respect their ex-spouse enough to amuse their concerns and/or allow the ex-spouse the freedom to date other people. What needs to remain of utmost importance is that any new decisions are made in the best interests of the children. This means that the new partner should not stay overnight with the children for at least a couple of months into what has to be a strong and committed new relationship. If a parent is only having casual relationships with one or multiple partners, it is best to not involve the children in any way whatsoever.

Emotional Sensitivity 

When a parent is introducing his/her children to a new partner, it is important that the first couple of visits are incredibly casual and quick. All visitation should occur away from the home in an environment in which the children are comfortable, such as at a restaurant. Don’t enquire from your children what they think of the new partner at this stage.

Once there is a moderate amount of affinity between the new partner and the children, then the partner may be allowed home visits. Be very careful when allowing new partners to sleep over during stays with the children. Be sure to consult the children at this stage. Find out what they think of your new partner, and encourage a prosperous relationship. To those parents whose ex has introduced a new partner; do not feel threatened by the introduction. Children understand that there is no replacing you as their parent, and the new partner may actually be beneficial to all parties involved.

If you are concerned about your children’s health during the stage whereby new family members are introduced, feel free to contact a mental health expert (such as a registered child psychologist) and/or a child custody attorney.

If you are looking for a child custody attorney in South Africa, don’t hesitate contacting Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible.

04 Aug

Who’s The Baby Daddy? Paternity Disputes Spotlight

The issue may be made light of in a number of Hollywood films and modern pop culture, but realistically it is a traumatising experience for all parties involved. We’re talking about paternity disputes and the legal procedures during litigated cases, and it’s not as light a subject as we make it.

Many women in South Africa fall pregnant with only an idea of who the father may be. In these instances, one of two situations may occur. These will be discussed below. However, these situations exclude instances when the mother was married during conception, in which case the father is believed by the court to be the husband unless proved otherwise through blood tests.

“I’m Not The Baby’s Father” 

Any man who had sexual intercourse with a woman at the time of conception is believed to be the father of the baby. This is discussed in detail in the Children’s Act, but ultimately it is the assumed father’s responsibility to prove to the court that there is  reasonable doubt toward the mother’s claim. If he does dispute the findings (the model case of paternity disputes) then further action is taken by the court.

At this point, the maintenance officer may approach the party in question and request that he take a paternity test at a clinic with the mother and the baby. This only gets considered if the man has provided the court with the evidence indicating reasonable doubt. If the party disagrees to blood tests, the court does not have the authority to enforce these terms, and the man’s legal credibility is threatened. If blood tests are taken, and the man is indeed the father, the court has the authority to instruct the man to pay maintenance.

“I’m The Daddy!”

In these cases, the case is not considered a paternity dispute and the process is pretty straightforward. The father is provided maintenance terms by the court. No tests are requested, leaving any alternative outcomes forgotten until brought up at a later stage or if at all.

In any event, women are advised to approach maintenance court with their grievances so that the matter can reach a settlement. A wiser choice would be to approach maintenance court with the assistance of a family law attorney.

For the assistance of one of South Africa’s finest family law attorneys, specialising in cases of child custody in particular, make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today.

25 Jul

What Is Common Property

A sectional title is a property divided into sections, of which each section is owned privately. Last week we touched on common property within a sectional title, and what the common property entails. This week we will go into a little more detail regarding common property, and what this property is in the legal sense.

Shared Ownership 

Common property is owned as an undivided share. This means that no owner has particular ownership of any part of the property. However, in monetary value, the proportion of the common property owned by each owner is proportionate to the quota of their respective sections owned. This means that if an individual owner owns 50% of the property value in sectional titles, in monetary value he/she owns 50% of the common property.

The Sectional Title Deed 

The deed to the sectional title outlines the laws regarding the use of the common property. It is here that the quota system is explicitly discussed, but also simultaneously explains the disposal of the property in association with the undivided property as a single unit. Furthermore, if insurance is taken out for a sectional title property, then that insurance also covers the undivided share of the common property ‘belonging’ to the sectional title owner. This is not necessary explained in the title deed, but rather applies in every event.

Common Property Resolution 

The owners of the sectional titles may, by a unanimous vote, direct the Body Corporate to either sell or lease a portion of the common property. This is done by a property resolution, and the resolution is drafted to include any necessary information referring to the property. This is the only time that a land’s deed can be changed from that of common property to otherwise. The Body Corporate is required to reregister the land and involve a Surveyor-General to agree to the repurposing.

There are a few more intricate and complex laws regarding common property, some of which are not understood widely by the entire Body Corporate or the owners of the sectional titles. Therefore, it is important that Body Corporates hire the services of attorneys to assist them in cases regarding sectional titles, and litigated procedures that involve property. In these events, make sure that you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys. We are always willing to help!

20 Jul

What Is A Sectional Title?

In an effort to enlighten all our readers, we’d like to take the opportunity to revisit an old question; what is a sectional title? This is an important question and is never as easily understood by the layman. So you would be forgiven for not knowing the minutia, and really, you shouldn’t need to know the minutia, but only the basics.

A sum of its parts

A sectional title, to put it rather simply, can be either a single building, a piece of ground, or a collection of buildings on a piece of property. If and when the building or property (and attached buildings) gets divided into sections with common property, this is considered to be a sectional title. However, a sectional title is more about the trusteeship between sectional title owners or property directors than the property itself, and the relationship and decisions between members of the trustee are largely governed by law.

Sectional titles have become exceptionally important in urban South Africa, where the demand for economical housing has driven the market to develop more apartments, townhouses and complexes, all likely to be subdivided and separately owned.

Common Property 

All the owners of the individual titles or sections are invested in the co-ownership of common property. Quite simple to understand; common property is all the property within a sectional title that can be used by all owners, trustees, and tenants. The Body Corporate of the sectional title is usually responsible for the maintenance of the common property, and they are also responsible for drafting rules and regulations determining the use of common property.

As can be expected, sectional titles involve many parties, agreements, and laws. As such, there is often misunderstanding between Body Corporate members or trustees of the sectional title. Sometimes disagreements lead to legal conflicts. In such cases, it is recommended that parties make use of sectional title attorneys to assist them. Ivan Zartz Attorneys is one such practice, available to anyone who requires help with regards to sectional title law in South Africa.

If you require our assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us!

12 Jul

Moving Overseas And The Custody Of Your Child

If you have  child with a partner that you are now separated from, then your ability to move overseas is severely strained by the legal requirements associated with the Hague Convention, International Law, as well as the new laws regarding child travel to and from South Africa. Here are a few tips for separated parents that plan to move overseas with their children:

Limits To International Relocation 

It is important to keep in mind that if you travel overseas with a partner, then there will be restrictions regarding your movement out of the country with your child (whether brought to the country with your partner or born on foreign soil). In countries that are party to the Hague Convention, permission from both parents is required to move with your child elsewhere. This may even be the case if there was a written agreement before the move took place regarding the movement of children in the event of a breakup.

Father’s Domicile 

The domicile of the child’s father at the time of marriage is an important factor regarding relocation of a child after a divorce. The Hague Convention upholds the right that the laws inferred at the time of divorce are those in which the father/husband was domiciled at the time when the marriage contract was signed, even if the contract was signed in a different country. This may have far-reaching consequences for children and their relocation. For instance, the power of the prenuptial agreement is limited in the UK, and the courts in the country do not necessarily have to enforce the decisions made in the agreement.


When moving overseas, even with a foreign partner that you love dearly, make sure that you keep a permanent residence in South Africa in the event that you feel you need to move back to the country with your children. When appealing to a foreign court to be able to move back to the country, proving that you have a permanent domicile will greatly improve your chances of relocating. This may be tricky regarding expenses, but co-owning a home with close family members (like your parents) can help you in this case.

Consult a Professional

This is the most important tip! Do not, under any circumstance, attempt to leave a foreign country with your children in tow. You are likely to be found guilty in a foreign court of child abduction according to the Hague Convention international laws. Consult with a legal professional and child custody attorney whether in the country of residence or your domicile country. Don’t be found guilty of a crime when you actually have the best interests of your children at heart.

For more information regarding child custody in South Africa, why not contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys. Make us your first choice regarding all cases of child custody in South Africa. Simply fill out the enquiry form on the contact us page, and we will get back to you.

Take a look at our child custody as well as our Hague Convention page for more information regarding these issues in the country.