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Confused About Child Maintenance? We Can Help!

Raising a child is expensive, and both parents share the responsibility of providing financial support. This article clears up the confusion about child maintenance in South Africa.

What is Child Maintenance?

Simply put, child maintenance is the money a parent contributes towards their child’s basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare. Both parents are obligated to contribute, regardless of their marital status or living arrangements.

How Much Maintenance is Needed?

The amount of maintenance depends on the child’s needs and each parent’s financial situation. The more a child needs, and the more a parent can afford, the higher the maintenance payment.

How Do I Get a Maintenance Order?

There are two ways:

  • Agreement: Both parents can agree on a fair amount in writing and have it made a court order.
  • Court Order: If you can’t agree, you can apply to court for a maintenance order. A court officer will consider both parents’ income and expenses to determine a fair amount.

What Happens if a Parent Doesn’t Pay?

If a parent defaults on payments or skips court appearances, the court can:

  • Issue a warrant for their arrest.
  • Order their wages to be garnished (part of their pay cheque goes directly to child maintenance).
  • Seize their assets (like a car) to pay the outstanding amount.

Can Grandparents Be Ordered to Pay?

In some cases, yes. Grandparents can be required to contribute if:

  • The child’s parents are minors themselves or unable to provide support.
  • The grandparents are acting as the child’s legal guardian.
  • The child’s parent(s) cannot be located.
  • The deceased parent’s estate isn’t enough to cover the child’s needs.

The Bottom Line: Your Child’s Needs Come First

South African law prioritizes the well-being of children. If you have any questions about child maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact us at BBP Law Attorneys. We can help you navigate the legal process and ensure your child receives the support they deserve.

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