The determinants of the child’s best interests in relocation disputes
This thesis explores the factors that our courts take into account in determining what would constitute the best interests of the child in granting or refusing relocation applications. This study deals with the formulation and interpretation of the best interests standard by South African courts in relocation cases. The courts are considering reported cases to determine which issues to take into account in determining the best interests of the child, due to the fact that the Children’s Act does not have a set list of criteria. Therefore I will focus on case law in determining what factors are taken into account in order to determine what would be in the best interests of the child with regard to the relocation application. The aim is to determine whether there is any consistent principle or policy which can act as a guideline to practitioners and our courts to direct jurisprudence in this area. The objective is to determine whether the Children’s Act provides sufficient guidelines to assist the court in determining relocation disputes. Furthermore the thesis examines what the approach of our courts is and what constitutional dimensions may arise in relocation disputes. The research aims to explore whether relocation applications (and parenting roles) are disadvantaging women (primary-caregivers). The research investigates whether the courts are gender neutral and acutely sensitive to gender in relocation applications.