Divorce Attorney Cape Town

Maintenance and Child Support in South Africa

Maintenance and Child Support in South Africa

Every magistrate’s court in South Africa is within its area of jurisdiction a maintenance court for purposes of the Maintenance Act 99 of 1998.

Any party to the proceedings under the Maintenance Act may be represented by a legal representative.

Lodging your complaint

To commence proceedings in an application for maintenance or an application for the substitution or discharge of an existing maintenance order, the applicant (or complainant as he is called in the Maintenance Act) must lodge a complaint in writing with the maintenance officer at the maintenance court, to the effect that

  • the person legally liable to maintain the complainant or person (for example, dependent child) on whose behalf maintenance is claimed is failing to do so; or
  • good cause or reason exists for the substitution (increase or decrease) or discharge of an existing maintenance order.

Applying for a maintenance order

In the first instance the complaint must be made in form A of the Annexure to the Maintenance Regulations (GN R1361/15-11-1999). The complainant must state in the complaint the reason why the person from whom maintenance is claimed is legally liable to maintain the person in respect of whom maintenance is claimed. The following people have reciprocal duties to maintain each other:

Parents & children

Both parents of a child have a duty to maintain the child according to their respective means. The duty exists irrespective of whether the child is adopted, born in or out of wedlock, or born of the first or a subsequent marriage.

When the court makes an order in respect of the maintenance of a child it will take into account inter alia

  • what the reasonable maintenance needs of the child are;
  • that both parents jointly have a duty to support a child; and
  • that the parents’ respective shares of their obligation are apportioned between them according to their means.

Husband & wife

At common law this duty comes to an end on divorce. However, in terms of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979, the court granting the decree of divorce may make an order directing one spouse to pay maintenance to the other spouse after divorce, either by agreement between the parties or, in the absence of such an agreement, after taking into account various factors set out in s 7(2) of the Divorce Act. If no such order was granted at the time of the divorce, the divorcé cannot at a later stage approach the maintenance court for an order directing his ex-spouse to pay him maintenance. However, if such an order was granted by the divorce court, the divorcé may approach the maintenance court at a later stage to apply for a substitution (increase or decrease) or the discharge of the existing order, provided that good cause exists for such a substitution or discharge.

Application for substitution or discharge

In the second instance, ie where application is made for the substitution or discharge of an existing maintenance order, the complaint must be made in form B of the annexure to the Regulations Relating to Maintenance (GN R1361/15-11-1999). The complainant must state the alleged reason or cause on which he relies for such substitution or discharge of the maintenance order.

In both instances, ie when application is made for a maintenance order or for the substitution or discharge of an existing order, the complainant must provide full details of his assets, income and the monthly expenditure in respect of himself and the children on whose behalf maintenance is claimed, supported by documentary proof. This information must be attested to under oath. Form A and form B to the Regulations Relating to Maintenance contain all the necessary information, including a comprehensive list of monthly expenses. The attorney should assist his client to complete the relevant form in full to avoid the matter being referred back to the complainant for further information, which will result in delay. Once the relevant form has been completed, it must be handed to the maintenance officer at the maintenance court who will issue a reference number for the particular matter.

The investigation

Once the complaint has been lodged with the maintenance officer, the latter will investigate the complaint. For purposes of the investigation, the maintenance officer may subpoena both the complainant and the defendant to appear before him on a date and time mentioned in the subpoena and to provide, inter alia, information regarding the financial position of the people affected by the application. In practice, to save costs, a subpoena is normally served on the defendant only, whereas the complainant receives mere written notification of the date and time of the investigation.

The investigation affords the parties’ attorneys the opportunity to exchange information regarding the maintenance needs of the people in respect of whom maintenance is claimed and the financial position of the parties. Settlement negotiations often take place at the informal inquiry. The normal rules relating to discovery do not apply in the maintenance court. The attorney should, therefore, at the investigation make use of the opportunity to obtain as much information as possible from the opposing party, necessary for the preparation of the inquiry (trial). It is advisable that a list of the documents and information required for purposes of such preparation be prepared in advance and handed to the opponent at the investigation. The magistrate may be requested to warn the party requested to furnish the information and documents, within a certain period of time.

The inquiry

After the maintenance officer has investigated the complaint he may institute a formal inquiry, which is in effect a maintenance trial before a magistrate of the maintenance court. A date for the inquiry must be arranged with the maintenance officer and magistrate. The magistrate will warn both parties to be present at the inquiry.

The maintenance officer may subpoena any person to appear before the maintenance court on the day of the inquiry and to give evidence under oath or affirmation, or to produce any book, document or statement relating to the financial position of any party affected by the legal liability of a person to maintain any other person. This includes full particulars of the person’s earnings signed by his employer. If the attorney of any of the parties to the proceedings requires a person to be subpoenaed to give evidence regarding the financial position of either of the parties or to produce a book, document or statement as referred to above, he should approach the maintenance officer and request that a subpoena be issued in respect of such a person.

At the maintenance inquiry the court may also examine any person who is present at the inquiry although he was not subpoenaed as a witness, and may recall and re-examine any person already examined.

The normal rules of evidence applicable in respect of civil proceedings in the magistrate’s court apply in respect of the inquiry.

At the inquiry documentary evidence in the form of a statement in writing by any person other than the person against whom a maintenance order may be made may be placed before the court as evidence, provided that a copy of the statement together with any documents referred to in the statement are served on the person against whom a maintenance order may be made at least 14 days before the date on which the statement is to be submitted as evidence. Such person may then, at least seven days before the commencement of the inquiry, object to the statement being submitted as evidence.

It is important to note that the maintenance court may take into account any evidence in any proceedings in respect of the existing maintenance order or accept as prima facie proof any finding of fact in any such proceedings. In other words, evidence led and findings of fact in a divorce action may at a later stage be used in proceedings in the maintenance court. The record of such evidence or findings shall on its production at the inquiry be admissible as evidence, and so will any copy or transcription or extract from it certified as a true copy, transcription or extract by the registrar or clerk of the court or any other officer having custody of the records of the court where the existing maintenance order in question was issued.

After consideration of the evidence at the inquiry the maintenance court may decide as follows:

  • Where no maintenance order is in force, the court may make a maintenance order against the person proved to be legally liable to maintain the person in respect of whom maintenance was claimed. The court may be requested to order that the maintenance be paid in at the maintenance court where the complainant will then have to collect the payments from month to month, or that the maintenance be paid into an account at a financial institution by stop order or in another manner.
  • Where no maintenance order is in force the court may also make an order, in the case where maintenance is to be paid in respect of a child, for the payment to the mother of the child of such sum of money together with interest thereon, as the mother is in the opinion of the maintenance court entitled to recover from the person in respect of expenses incurred by the mother in connection with the birth of the child and expenditure incurred by the mother in connection with the maintenance of the child from the date of the child’s birth to the date of the inquiry.
  • Where there is already a maintenance order in force, the court may substitute the existing maintenance order with a new order or discharge the existing maintenance order, or the court may make no order.

Maintenance orders by consent

A maintenance order may also be obtained by consent.

The person against whom the maintenance order is sought must consent in writing to the maintenance order being granted. A copy of the written consent must be handed to the maintenance officer at the inquiry. Where such written consent has been obtained it is not necessary for the person against whom the order is to be made to appear in court at the inquiry. An example of such written consent can be found in part A of form G of the annexure to the Maintenance Regulations. A copy of the order made against the person not present at the inquiry must be delivered or tendered to him by a maintenance officer, police officer, sheriff or maintenance investigator. The return of any such officer, sheriff or investigator showing that a copy was delivered or tendered to the person shall be sufficient proof of the fact that he is aware of the terms of the order.

Maintenance orders by default

A maintenance order may also be obtained by default.

If the person against whom a maintenance order is sought does not appear in court on the date and time mentioned in the subpoena issued for his attendance at the inquiry to give evidence or for the production of a book, document or statement, the complainant may apply to court for an order by default. This application may be brought through the maintenance officer on the date of the inquiry.

The court must be satisfied that the person against whom the order by default is sought has knowledge of the subpoena issued for his attendance at the inquiry and/or to produce any book, document or statement at the inquiry. The return by a maintenance officer, police officer, sheriff or maintenance investigator showing that the subpoena was served on such person will be sufficient proof that he has knowledge of the fact that he had to attend court or that he had to produce a book, document or statement, as the case may be.

The court may request the complainant to adduce evidence in writing or orally, in support of his complaint, before an order by default is granted.

A copy of the order by default must be delivered or tendered to the person against whom the order was granted, by any maintenance officer, sheriff, police officer or maintenance investigator. The return by such officer, sheriff or investigator showing that a copy was delivered or tendered to such person will be sufficient proof that he is aware of the terms of the order.

The person against whom the order by default was granted may apply to the maintenance court for the variation or setting aside of the order within 20 days after the day on which the person became aware of the order by default or within such further period as the maintenance court on good cause shown shall allow. Notice of an application to set aside an order granted by default must be given to the person who lodged the complaint at least 14 days before the day on which the application is to be heard.


Any person not satisfied with the order made by the maintenance court may appeal against such order to the High Court having jurisdiction.


When a person against whom a maintenance order has been made fails to comply with the terms of the order, and the order remains unsatisfied for a period of ten days, the person in whose favour the order was made may apply to the maintenance court where the person against whom the order was made is resident, for authorisation to issue a warrant of execution or for an order for the attachment of emoluments or for an order for the attachment of debt.

An order for the attachment of emoluments may also, on application by the complainant, be granted in respect of future monthly maintenance payments. The effect of such an order is that the defendant’s employer will be directed to deduct the amount mentioned in the order monthly from the defendant’s salary and to pay such amount to the complainant on behalf of the defendant.

Warrant of execution

The warrant of execution must substantially correspond with form L of the annexure to the Maintenance Regulations and must be prepared in triplicate.

The complainant must prepare part A of form L and thereafter the form must be lodged in triplicate with the clerk of the maintenance court concerned, who will issue the warrant of execution by preparing part B of form L of the annexure, provided that he is satisfied that

  • authorisation for the issuing of a warrant of execution was granted; and
  • the warrant of execution has been properly prepared;
  • The clerk of the maintenance court will, after the warrant of execution has been issued,
  • return the original warrant of execution and one copy to the complainant; and
  • file the second copy of the warrant of execution in the relevant court file.

The original warrant and a copy must be handed to the sheriff or maintenance investigator for execution. Such person shall complete part C and, if applicable, part D of form L of the annexure and return the form to the clerk of the maintenance court, once the warrant has been executed.

The person against whom a warrant of execution had been issued may apply to the maintenance court concerned to have the warrant of execution set aside or suspended, by giving notice of his intention to make the application to the person in whose favour the maintenance order was made at least 14 days prior to the date on which the application is to be heard. The court may at the hearing of the application request either or both parties to adduce evidence in writing or orally, as the court considers necessary.

The court may, when suspending a warrant of execution, grant an order for the attachment of emoluments or the attachment of debt.

Attachment of emoluments

The complainant may request the maintenance court to make an order for the attachment of any emoluments at present or in future owing or accruing to the person against whom the maintenance order was made, for the amount necessary to cover the amount such person has failed to pay, together with interest thereon as well as the costs of the attachment. This order will authorise the employer of the person who failed to comply with the maintenance order to deduct from that person’s emoluments and to pay on that person’s behalf the amount specified in the order until the amount due, plus interest and costs, has been paid in full.

To give effect to the order for attachment of emoluments, the maintenance officer shall within seven days after the order was granted cause a notice with a copy of the order to be served on the employer of the person against whom the order was granted. The notice to the employer must substantially correspond with part A of form O of the annexure to the Maintenance Regulations.

An order for attachment of emoluments may, on application by the person against whom such order was granted, be suspended, amended or rescinded. Notice of such application must be given to the person in whose favour the maintenance order was made at least 14 days prior to the date on which the application is to be heard. The application must substantially correspond with part A of form N of the annexure to the Maintenance Regulations whereas the notice must substantially correspond with part B of the form.

Attachment of debt

The maintenance court may on application by the person in whose favour a maintenance order was made, or when it suspends a warrant of execution, make an order for the attachment of any debt at present or in future owing or accruing to the person against whom the maintenance order was made, for the amount necessary to cover the amount which the creditor failed to pay, together with interest thereon as well as the costs of the attachment. This order will direct the person who has incurred the obligation to make the payment specified in the order.

As in the case of the attachment of emoluments, an order for the attachment of debt may, on application by the person against whom the order was granted, be suspended, amended or rescinded. Notice of such application must be given to the person in whose favour the maintenance order was made at least 14 days prior to the date on which the application is to be heard. The application must substantially comply with part A of form P of the annexure to the Maintenance Regulations, whereas the notice must substantially correspond with part B of the form.

Compiled by Bertus Preller

Family Law Attorney

Abrahams and Gross Inc.


109 thoughts on “Maintenance and Child Support in South Africa”

  1. Hi, Can I sue my ex for maintenance while he is in the UK and I live in SA? Can I have him arrested for not paying maintenance when he enters the country?

  2. Hi,
    If you can please advise me on the following. I have a 7year old son with my ex and we broke up last year. Before the break up she knew my financial status and it was never good then even today. When we were still together we agreed that we will send our son to a town school however it was on verbal agreement that she would take care of the transport and I’ll pay the school fees. I opened an account for both her and the child as she was going to get financial assistance from her mother in repaying the account as she is unemployed. We broke up last year and from that time we could not agree on anything when it comes to the child. I continued to pay the school fees as normal until I experienced difficulty for a month and she had to fit the bill then. In December we normally buy clothes for the kid and last year as usual I went and bought them and on trying to get the clothes to her she refused them saying they are cheap and she doesn’t want them. I took them back to the store. This year in January I bought uniforms and she said she doesn’t want it as well. Now she took me to maintenance court and demanded R1500 which I agreed on paying just for the sake of peace keeping. After reviewing my expenses I realized that I cannot afford that much money as I now have another kid that I need to look after. How can I go about to have the decision reviewed to suit my affordability and taking into consideration the fact that I solely raised the child as she has never worked before. Please advise.

  3. Good day, i am a mother of 9 months old baby and have been the only person supporting him.
    His dad is refusing to maintain he hasn’t even met him yet. i want to magistrate court to claim but i am worried they wont be able to assist me because i don’t have ID no and i don’t know his address because he moved where he was staying. Can they help me by just saying his full names?

  4. Good day my ex is hammering me with maintenance and demands even more. I am currently paying 4000 and feel that it is to much for one three year old girl! I feel that the mother is not coming to the party

  5. HI

    please assist me in wht i need to do as I am not getting anywhere . mY son will be turning 7 soon and the only maintenance i ever got was R700 from the dad when my son was 8months old. he was ordered by court and never another sent. I went bak to court stating that I did not recieve anything from the dad the only thing the dad did was go to court and said he is not working. I have been to court a couple of times and still nothing happens. Feels like I am fighting a losing battle. What i do want to know is, can i sue the dad for 7 years of unpaid maintenance? the dad is a reall scam artist in the sense of he never keeps a job long enough as he knows then he needs to start paying. so he wheels and deals as he goes along. i dont kow what the right thing is for me to do as I can not do this on my own anymore as my son starting grade 1 next year and the cost of living isnt getting cheaper. every time i go to court there is one or other story it just doesnt come to and end whereby something is done about it. up untill now i have kept every little slip of all the things i do for my son or buy for him. just. what do i need to do now going forward

  6. I have a problem ma boyfrend does’nt work but he help at his father’s shops, he wears expensive clothes, he drinks every weekend, so since I gave birth to the baby he did nothing as a father, he always says, I’m not working. So wht must I do? Now the child is 5mnths old. He don’t even call to ask how’s the baby doing. Pls help

  7. Hi. The father of my child wants to know if he is paying the right amount of child support. He is currently paying R5000. The child costs about R9700-R10000 a month and she is not on medical aid as I cannot afford it. I earn R12400 after tax & deductions and he earns no less than R50000 after tax and deductions. He says I should go to court to get the right amount because we agreed on this amount in principle. Someone told him he is paying too much and I take it he wants the amount reduced. How much is he liable for? Can the court charge him a percentage of his salary? Thank you

  8. Hi I have a 12 year old daughter & my ex has been paying R450 for maintenance since she was 8yrs.I was working at time & now I’ve been unemployed for almost 2yrs now & this money is not enough for my daughter’s monthly needs. Would the court grant me a raise coz she’s going to high school,the fees are going up & so are my daughter’s need. Another questions is dat if I get child maintenance am I allowed to apply for child support grant?

  9. Hi I would just like to know how I can go about for more maintenance for my child. His father and I are divorced over 12 years and he is supposed to pay the Medical Aid, which I am doing for the past 4 years, and our son will be in matric next year, when he goes to University who will be liable? I’m currently only receiving R2100 p/m whilst his school fees alone are R 2250.00 p/m. Please will you assist me?

  10. The firstt year after divorce I only got R800.00, since then he paid the next year without the increase and beginning of this year he did not pay January tot April. He never got the medical aid that was stippulated, never paid any of the fees that he was suppose to. For two children he only pay R1000.00 per month and still complain about it. How do I go from here, can’t go on like this while we realy struggle he just spend money as if his a millionaire?????????/

  11. Hi, I have recently taken my ex to maintenance court. He found out about it. He is threatening me now, telling me that I will get nothing for maintenance for our daughter as he has gone out of his way to hide his funds. He also told me that he is working under his company as a software developer contracting. Therefore I can’t sue him as his company is a separate legal entity. He wants to claim being unemployed. What are my chances of me getting him to pay for the upbringing of his kid?

  12. Hi,my x and i hav a 4yrs old girl,we saparated in2010 n i’v been suporting my child on my own since,he js got ajob in may as i js got retrenched,he only gives me 300/200 as he wish n its not enough to buy food an cloths,i applied 4support bt m scared tht de court will grant me evn less,cuz he says hes not permant so he cn giv me any amount he want,wht must i do?should i cancel de appliction?

  13. Hi,i hav a 4yrs old daughter and i’ve been supporting her alone evr sinc 2010 n now i jus got retrenched in may n her father got a job nt pemanent1 at anton truck bt givs me money when he feels like it cuz he says he nt parmnt so cn i wnt 2apply 4support bt i hear i might get less thn he givs me300 sumtyms,wht should i do?

  14. Hi I am married in COP I have no kids and suffer from a chronic illness but I am employed and earn more than my husband. He has a 9 year old daughter out of Wedlock and another 1 of 7years from another women. He earns R2000 a month he pays for the 9 year old R600 and the other R500 which leaves him with 900 to live on now the mother of the 9year old wants to sue me for increase in maintenance as the court said he can’t afford and increase of R900 a month on his salary. He pays every single month and I got most of the other financial responsibility on me as I have a bigger monthly income. Am I liable to pay the increase as I don’t want to take on more financial responsibility. Please help

  15. Good Day
    My wife and I had an agreement in principle ,done in prencent of both our attorneys .She later did not sign the agreement . I support our 21 year son who goes to coledge ,she supports our 18yr daughter in matric.We both work and earn about the same .She now taking me to maintance court claiming poorvity and want me to pay part of our daughts expenses .

  16. Hi, my ex and I have divorced and she is currently staying in the house that I am paying the bond on. My bond repayments are R7000 a month and she does not contribute toward it even though she n my son are staying in the house and I have been lodging at my dad’s and paying R1000 a month for lodging. So will I still be liable for paying extra support?

  17. Hi,

    I would like your assistance please.

    My ex and were once unemployed and agreed that my mom can apply for grant.

    Today he does not contribute towards anything for our 11yr old. However, I am and am currently employed and remarried. My current husband pays everything for her

    So I approached the Maintenance Court and laid a complaint, as he has never paid the R300 a month he was requested to according to our Divorce Decree.
    I would like to know if to if I can take my ex to the maintenance court thought my mom is still getting Social Grant? My mom uses this grant to take my daughter to Red Cross as she has chronic eczema, Mom goes there once a month for treatment too.

    I would appreciate your expertise advise on this please.


  18. Good day

    I need advice please, I have a maintenance garnishee order against the father of my 3 year son, I was paid twice only by his company and now they tell me he lost his job and my son wont get anything else. Please advice on what further steps to take.

  19. Hi, I’m devorce now 4yrs I didn’t wanted any money or childseport from my ex at that stage because I was working and my daughter stay with me and my son with my ex so I felt we were equel but now things change I’m not working anymore and thers no income I’m suffering is there a way that I can ask my ex for childsepport for my daughter?

  20. Good day, Me and my ex had a daughter . I want to claim maintenance but I am not sure how to calculate a fair amount as I am a student and my mom is paying my share. Must I then attach her payslip and expenses. I am currently living with her so I am not paying rent or for food. But she is ultimately paying for my daughters house and food. How do I go about it

    1. Although there is an obligation on a grandparent to maintain a grandchild when the parents do not have the means, the father of your child must contribute 100% towards the maintenance of your child if he has the means to do so. For your exercise your mother’s income should not be taken into account.

  21. Morning
    I’m a 19 year old girl who jst matriculated nd still unemployed? All my life up until the age of 13 I lived with my mom nd my father neva paid a cent of maintenance the only time he ever bought my sister an I clothes was on xmas 1ce a year? I was always very fond of my father so at the age of 13 I deceided 2 stay with him as my mom has lost her job he has made many promises bt as soon as we moved life became hell! he strted havin an affair with anothr woman thn hs wife strted treatin us bad…being sed dat my sister moved owt into a wendy house nd was on her own with her husband and kid…I became rebellious nd suicidal nd after about a year nd a half 2009 I moved 2 my aunt becz I knw tht I wud neva make it in tht house I now live wit my aunt 4 4 years nd my dad hasn’t paid a cent 2me or my aunt….he now has 2 children outsde hs marriage whom he pays maintenance for….I am his only daughter who made it 2 matric….I so badly want to go stdy and has aproached him abt helpin financially bt he has refused…I need 2 get on by my own by da little my grandfather sends me with hs pension clothin me and buyin me toiletries….I want to knw wot are my rights as his daughter as far as maintenance is concern? Can I go 4 maintenance.? As I feel its unfair tht I have 2 struggle on my own or am I 2 late nd should find a job nd support myslf?

  22. I had my daughter adopted by my ex wifes new husband, fifteen yrs ago. I have not seen my daughter since the adoption. As the biological father, am I liable for chid support now?

  23. Hi, I would sincerely appreciate your advise on a maintenance matter. My son completed his matric last year. His father agreed to pay maintenance until my son is employed as my son resides with me. His father has suggested he go on a three week course (away from home) and the father stated that he is not going to pay maintenance for this period away. Is this correct.

  24. Hi, I want to know how 10% increase apply on child maintenance. I had a court settlement with my ex-wife and got divorced, of R1400. I increased the amout to R1540 last year but I’m not sure with how much I should increase this year. Is it 10% of R1400 (settlement) or 10% of R1540 (increased)?

  25. My husband is divorced and was supporting 3 children. The ex wife never informed him about his eldest daughters pregnancy because the children don’t want to come to our house. The mother told him she was told no matter their child got 10 children he will support her. The son was working she was still getting support for him. Now we found out that the youngest one 15year old is also pregnant in case like this must my husband still support. The mother doesn’t want to work she was the cause of their divorce due to the fact that she was getting full wage but never paid the bills. They lost their house she was also having affairs. When it gets to month end she phones his work place and just speaks to anyone answering the phone about their money matters although she gets her money each & every month on the 7th day as stated on the court order. We were also called in my the child’s principal about behaviour issues. The mother was influencing the children against us now she wants to blame the father for all the problems.

  26. I hav a daughter who is 8yrs. The father is working but does not support the child, finacially. What do I need to can open a case of maintanance

  27. Is my wife liable to pay child support if i am unemployed? does it matter if the child was conceived before i was married? tx

  28. Hi! I need some advice. I have a 14 month old born out of wedlock. His dad left me when the baby was 1 month old, and the thing is at the time he wasn’t working. As of now I’m not sure what he does. i am currently unemployed and my mother has had to take care of all the baby’s expenses as the dad never showed any interest in doing such. As far as I know he is currently studying for his post graduate degree and drives around in a fancy car, n he wears fancy clothes too. When I told him he leaves me no choice but to sue him for maintenance he said I’ll never win against him and he’ll always do as he pleases. What I would like to know is can I sue him even if he’s unemployed and his parents are not formally employed? I mean obviously he has money to lead a pretty good life, my baby deserves the same.

  29. Good day, I’m remarried father and been divorce since 2006. Since 2007 x-wife kept my 7yr old daughter away from me since age of 2yrs. Maintenance been pay as per court order via garnishee from my salary with an increase annually by a percentage. Since 2007 my garnishee order didn’t increase and i try different routes to increase the order.

    X-wife moved without notifying me, change her cellphone number, every time i get hold of her she change it. I’ve been locked up several times where she claimed that i have treated her which it ain’t the case. And yes, she got a interdict against me, so she can use it, meanwhile there is a clause that state that i can make telephonic contact with her.

    She is just refusing me contact with my daughter. Since end of last yr, i receive sms on 25 December 2011, wishing my family a blessed Christmas.

    We met a week after that, asking me to assist with her school fees, and that my daughter also needs surgery. All well planned and i pay and included her on my medical aid. After all if done its back to square one. Now she is telling me that my daughter don’t want to see me and i just can’t go on with her BS. What can i do!!!

  30. Good Morning,

    I am currently busy finalising my divorce. My husband has not paid maintenance for the past 02 years. He went missing now word and suddenly popped up. My lawyer advised that he had the right to see the child no matter if he pays or not but he doesn’t comntribute to the wellbeing of the child. Can I keep the child from him?

  31. Good evening

    I have an 11 year old daughter that has never been supported by her father. When I try to bring up the subject of child support it ends up in a screaming session. I am currently a student, when I was working I took care of her by myself and now my mother is helping me. My problem is, this man lives in another province now and refuses to tell me where he works or give me any of his details. What I would like to know is, what can be done in a situation like this? Can the court help me since I want to take him to court for child support?

    Thank u

  32. Good morning,
    I found your site by chance and must say it is very helpfull. I pay my ex wife monthly and have never missed a payment, now she is tring to take more than 25% of my salary for maintenance.
    We have always settled out of court and now her lawyer (how she affords him, luxurious Kruger Park Holidays and expensive 4×4’s i dont know). They are not taking my living expenses into account – I cant afford a legal rep at this point. When my ex asks me for more money I do try and assist her but I am currently thinking of getting married to my girlfriend of 5 years. Her lawyer says I am responsable for her debts as part of my maint. I made a realistic offer and she shot me down now I want to know what are my rights and if the court decides to grant her request without taking my situation to account ( has happened before her lawyer used “ability to earn” ) – she now earns a fraction of what she did as she moves around after her boyfriends and each time she up’s and leaves her job. Please help me and if financial contributions are required I am sure we can agree on something.

    Thanking you in advance

    Really Stressed


  34. Good Day, i just want to know what procedures must be taken and how long it takes, When a Father skips 1 payment for maintenance. can he get locked up immediately.

  35. What are my rights as a single mother? My son is 7 and his father barely sees him or visit him. Now he want to force him to go to him weekends and my son doesn’t want to. And he pays maintenance late every month and what can I do to move my case to a court closer to me I don’t have transport to get to my regional court my case is at? Thanx

  36. I had a relastionship with a married man he was in the process of getting divorced or so I thought later I found out it was a lie. He put me up in a appartment paid my rent furnhised my place and paid my utilities and then I fell pregant he said he wanted to be part of our lives and that we would have a future tgether. He is still with his wife and has not paid any maintance his wife doesn’t know and he has seen our son about twice in 8 months. What are my rights?

  37. I just want to find out, I have been divorced since 2005 and I paid maintenance every month up to date as per court order. Since last year one of my sons come to live with me and my other son still stays with my ex-wife. I am still paying maintenance for my son staying with my ex but she is not contributing 1c for my son staying with me. Can I just stop paying or is she liable to pay towards the son staying with me? Thanks

  38. Hi

    I got married little more than a year ago ,but have a duagther of 7 out of wedlock and pay maintanace for ,I now also have a five year old step daughter who ‘s father has no contact with her and does not pay maintanace ,the father of my step daughter is a drug user and has on numerouse occations caused mental problems to her ,that was determined by child phycoligist .What is my responsabilities towards her as her step father who she sees as her father and how would this influence my biological daughter.

    1. Obviously you will be able to make out a case to obtain parental rights in terms of the children’s act. This is normally done on application to court. You and your wife may consider lodging an application to court to suspend the biological father’s right to contact pending him going to some sort of rehab for his drug problem. Legally ou have no responsibility towards your step daughter’s maintenance, only if you adopt her.

    2. I will apply for parental rights through either the family court or the High Court. Should you wish to obtain guardianship you need to apply to the High Court. You can also suspend the biological father’s right to contact temporarily, with the condition that he should go for rehabilitation. Best is to see a family law attorney.

  39. The father of my child (was married, divorced now for 7y) lost his job and claim now that he can not pay maintenance any more. He is living with a new family not yet married but engaged. I would like to know, can I sue her? And what about his pension money? He lost his job because of his drinking habits. they are telling me he doesn’t have any assets, but what about her R20,000 engagement ring? He didn’t pay any maintenance this month because he claims “he is the court of law” and he will not pay until he feel like it. He went to Maintenance court and we have to be in court tomorrow. When I went to give in all my information that they asked for, I asked the lady what about the maintenance that is behind. she just say’d he doesn’t have to pay it.

  40. I have a bit of a question. I have been divorced now for about 5 year. I have not missed a payment. When we got divorced I was running a strugling consulting business and was techncially insolved. But I agreed to pay for school fees (abour R2500 per month) and a maintenance amount of about R4750 currenlty for both my kids, plus their medical aid and 50% of costs beyond the medical aid cover. We review the agreement every january, though not as a “deed”. Last month we reviewed the agreement again and after a tough negotiation came to the amounts above. Yesterday I received a subpoena to go to maintenance court . In the first place it does not have the right child details on it (wrong name all together), and and a amount of R450 for “increased living expenses and failing to pay towards clothing?

    I am very confused. I pay almost 100% of my kids costs, and she pulls something like this while we are still in process? The agree process was that we would get a a laywer to type it up and then be ratified. My suspicioun is that since she is remarried, had another child and bougth a new car. SHe has been living beyond her means

    Would it be in my rights to, at the hearing, request a reduction in maintenance based on the fact that I believe she is not contributing to the kids in any substantial financial way, and that she is actually ysing their money to subsidize her new family?

    Also since we agreed on the new maintenance amount, I actually paid her that amount in January, can I revert to the original amount (i.e. as at December) until such time as the agreement is formalized. Also what is the latest payment date for maintenance?

  41. Good day, Me and my x-fiance had a daughter that is now 2 years old. I want to claim maintanance but I am not sure how to calculate a fair amount as I am a student and my mom is paying my share. Must I then attached her payslip and expenses. I am currently living with her so I am not paying rent or for food. But she is ultimately paying for my daughters house and food. How do I go about it.

  42. I have a 12year old son which the father only supported for about a year,once we broke up he stop supporting our child financialy. He has access to our son but doesn’t construbite to his education,health or anything he needs. My problem is that I do not know how to go about to get him to help me support our child financialy. I do not have a phone number(only his fiance’s but he does not take my calls). I do not have his home/work address or id number. I know he has 3 other kids that he does support and I know his mothers home addres and more or less where he works.Please can you assist me in this matter.

  43. Hi,my boyfriend has been summoned to appear in court for his daughter for maintenance. He has a son 4 with me,and a daughter of 1year old with the plaintiff. What documents does he needs to submit,and how will they calculate how much he is supposed to be paying for both children,as he he earns just R3500pm. Your response will be highly appreciated…and the other thing,he is currently in work and is not emplyed for a long period,is there by chance that he the appearance could be in his absense?? And what procedures does he have to follow… Thank you very much.

  44. I have applied for reduction of my maintenance and it has been approved through the courts. I have arrear maintenace payments as I could not make the full payment during the year when my application was going through the system. My ex-husband came up with a payment plan for me to pay back the oustanding amount, as we wished not to go through the court system again. His plan consists of me paying the arrears back over a 5 year period but with interest. Can he charge me interest on this oustanding amount and what if I can not pay the amount he suggested. Should I take my chances to go through the courts as the maintenace officer assured me that he can not charge interest. Please advise. Thank you

  45. My husband has been paying all maintenance, medical, schooling, pocket money etc for the past 4 1/2 years. His son is working part time, studying and wants nothing to do with his father. He has told him he is “NOT” his father and wants nothing to do with him. He is 19years old and the ex wife is still adamant we must pay to her as per the divorce order.
    can we not stop it as the order is for maintenance for a minor child which he is no longer.
    we would still like to pay his medical contribution and a fixed sum direct to him monthly but not as much as we have been paying for the past 5years. we have gone into serious debt to keep up the payments over the years and due to this we owe the banks R120,000. When my husband was unemployed for nearly a year I took out personal loans etc to keep paying the fees, maintenance etc.
    Surely the maintenance order is no longer valid and his son must apply for funds from his father if he needs financial assistance and not his mother. Please advise as this is really getting out of control now.
    Desperate for a yes or no answer if we are in the right or not!!!

  46. I am married in COP, and my husband have been sued for maintenance. He was staying with the baby since she was very small, now she is 8. paying everything for day care, school. The mother just took the baby away 3 month ago because we were moving to another town. My hubby still do everything regarding school, but she wants more. The thing is after my husband debit order he is only left with R2000, do i have to help him pay for his other child? I have 2 kids of my own one is not his. I don’t want to be involved into this i have worked so hard to get were I am now.

  47. Good day

    I have a problem, I have a 11 months old son and his father doesn’t support him but he demand to see him and when I say he doesn’t have a right a see him as he doesn’t know support he said I want to deny him from seen his son. I allowed him to see the child when he was until our son for 11 months thinking that maybe 1 day he will contribute to his upbringing and still he didn’t support him so I decided he should not come around anymore as I’m the only 1 who takes care of the child I pay for his nanny, medical, food & clothes and he didn’t contribute anything from when the child was born. But my problem is am very scared to file for child maintenance as my parents might not approve of my action but I believe it is unfair for him to want to see the child but yet he doesn’t care what the child eats, wears, etc and I take care of all the things our son needs

  48. The father had to resign at his current job to enable himto get his pension paid out to settle outstanding debt. He went into financial planning which takes a while to build up. But with everything in the economic situation – it took longer than what he anticipated. The court now phoned him and said that he wasn’t suppose to resign as it wasn’t in the best interest of the child and therefore they can lock him up.

  49. Hi my husband had a son out of wedlock and has been paying maintenance ever since child was born. His sons mother is now keeping the son away for him for a whole month now reason that the son is diabetic and was in hospital and the mother stayed out of work for 8days and my husband did not have any family responsibility left so he could only stay there 2nyts. But visited daily. Does he still have to pay maintenance as he cannot see his son and what exactly should he do about the matter.
    Please help.

  50. Hello, My husband is being sued for child maintenance for a kid of 16 years old, a blood test has been done and was advised to be back on 24th of February, on which date he must bring his income and expenditure statements. We just want to find out what is his rights regarding this.


  51. My husband has been paying maintenance every month since he got divorced from his ex-wife. He has been subpoenaed to appear in court to pay more maintenance. We are married in community and his ex-wife also remarried, but out of community. I have been subpoenaed to provide all my income and expenses as well as we are married in community of property, but her new husband did not have to supply any information. In the meanwhile my husband lost his job and is now not able to pay. Her attorney claims that he still has to pay as my earning is his earning because we are married in community of property. Am I supposed to pay as I also have my own children that I have to support and cannot see why I should pay for his children? She does have a job and so does her husband.

  52. I have been divorced for nearly 7 years. the father has disappeared overseas 6 years ago. he owes alot in maintance nearly R190 000. rumours has it he may come back to South Africa. i do not know his address overseas but i do know of his mothers address. is there anyway i can get some kinda help as soon as his in SA to pay up.. or any advice please..

    1. almost forgot to say i have custody over the little one. she lives with me, i pay for everything schooling, doctors bills, extra activities, help her with everything. rumor ha it he will be coming back to SA and wants to see her. now what do i do!! little one refuses utmost to see him..

  53. Thank you for the quick responds . Will I be the one that has to pay for the paternity ? If I’m correct the court will require him to furnish them with an income and expenditure sheet bt I’m a bit concern as none of his assets are on his name as and
    all of his assets is on the company name and he has a business partner Would it have any effect on the ma claim ? And the other things is that I don’t want to go thru the whole process and only get a R300 cause he say that’s the only amount he can afford …

  54. I have a child out of wedlock and the father of my child left me when he found out I was pregnant and have not heard a word from him until 7 month in my pregnancy he tells me that he want to “ascertain” things and I have advise him that he more then welcome to do paternity after saying this I have not heard from him again. Baby is now born and he now does not want to be part of the babies life. He has a well established business. Can I claim for medical aid expenses,school(for my babies future as he is a newborn still)Food ,my confinement expenses(before,after and within)? The other thing is he is a foreigner which lives in SA , would this cause a problem when clAiming for child support ?

    1. Dear Carol, you will be entitled to claim for maintenance and this will include a claim for your medical expenses. If he contests paternity the court may request that paternity tests be held. I suggest that you go to the nearest magistrate’s court to start the process.

  55. I have divorced 15 years ago, my two children remained in my ex wife custody. I payed all the maintanance, school, books, entertainment for both children until they were 21 years old. I payed for my daughter plain ticket and fees to work as a babysitter in USA . Last week I received a letter from the lawyers that she wants now to study to become a cheff and I have to pay 86 000 R for the course and accomodation, food, etc. Will I be foeced by law to pay this amount? In the divorse documents it is stipulated that I am responsible to pay for her tertiary education.

    So what should I do, for how long I am responsable to pay for her? she is 23 years old now.

    1. If the court order stipulated that you have to pay for tertiary expenses then obviously you will have to. I do however suggest that you refer the matter to the maintenance court so that the court can investigate the matter. If you do not have the means to pay then obviously this will have to be taken into regard, also the fact that your daughter should also in some way contribute.

  56. Hello. My husband has been paying maintenance and all othere expenses for his two children. The daughter who is now 16 decided to come and live with us. Do we still have to pay ex maintenance for her. In the divorce order it only stated that father should pay maintenance and medical, not all the rest which he has been paying. As the son will be going to high school next year – which is a lot more expense than primary school, he has asked the ex to share the financial burden – can he do that

  57. I am married to my second husband. I have a daughter from a previous marraige and two girls with my current husband. I want to apply for an increase in maintenance and approached the maintenance court for the necessary documentation. As part of the docs I need to complete it asks for my income and assets, and according to the person in the maintenance office this is needed to calculate what proportion of the expenses the father needs to pay. I have not worked since getting married six years ago. I am married with accrual, will my husbands income then be classed as my income? Or how will this be calculated.

  58. Hi I need to know what happens if the plaintiff does not show up. Does the court dismiss the case ?This has been an ongoing case for years but the plaintiff just did not show up cause she was sick.
    Please advise

  59. Hello. I pay my maintenance every month even if i struggle to come up with the money. The court order said that i must have the kids every second weekend and every second holiday. I have not seen the kids in two months and I am not informed of whats happening in their lifes, it was part of the settlement agreement. When I ask her ,when are they coming to visit, she only reply that they dont feel like coming. What can I do. Can I write them off since I dont see them and they dont want to come. The one is four and the other is ten. If I write them off do i still have to pay

  60. I would like to know if a divorced man remaries and he unable to pay the maintenance as per the court order, due to unemployment, can his new wife be held responaible to pay the maintenance.

  61. please I need help> I got divorced 2 years ago. The mother of our year old daughter is now denying me ANY acces even telephonically. I now stopped paying maintenence. she has a warrant out for my arrest. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    1. Family advocates … its a free service. take her to a mediation process through them .. family advocates work closely with the court.

      unfortunately, withholding maintenance is a legal issue … but, you can get a maintenance varition order by applying for it via your local maintenance courts … they will subpoena your ex & you can discuss the matters with them.
      By doing a variation application – it will stop any threats for arrest… as it then becomes a matter under investigation.

      Something to consider is to open a bank account for the child – & keep paying the maintenance into the childs account whilst matter is going on – this way, you still have proof of payment, & are not withholding the monies.

      Also, childrens court is another way to go.

    2. i did a section 21 applicatiion through family advocates … (for unwed fathers) – which then gave me full rights & resposbility to my 8 years old daughter.
      In that agreement it stated access, as well as telephonic access at any time …. now, this section 21 was not a court order – but, if its broken, I can use it to get an order …. maybe, its something to consider?

  62. Hi there,

    my daughter and her 4year old son has been living with me since July 2010 and is now in the process of getting divorced. from July to Nov no maintenance was paid and in Dec he appointed a lawyer and he was forced to pay maintenance over to my daughter. The maintenance was paid, i think under duress from his side, butsince March it was getting paid later and later. This Last month no maintenance was paid and his excuse wa is that he 1) his salary was not paid on the 25th 2) his is waiting for his salary to clear and 3) his laywer advised my daughter that his salary was not paid. My dausgter did some investigating herself and he was in fact paid on the 25th as he did all the other months. what can my daughter do to get this man pay regualry? SHe does not have a lawyer and needs some advice

  63. I have a question, my boyfriend has a child out of wedlock with his ex before me, she took him to court for maintenance. not too long ago the baby got sick and she took the child to the most expensive hospital in town without any concent from my boyfriend stating that he’ll pay the bills, can she sue him for half or the full hospital bill? she also doesn’t work so what can he do to not be held liable for this hospital bill? see she took the child to the most expensive hosiptal in town on purpose cause she had to option of taking the child to the a government hospital. Please help. am desperate for legal advice!!!!!

    1. check the maintenance order that he pays … this will outline what the maintenance is to be used for. If it just states a value (ie: R2500 per month) – with no additional info – its assumed that that is all encompassing & the mother needs to make any payments from this amount.
      If the maintenance order states.. plus half or full medical expenses, he may be liable – obviously, If he cant afford it, then thats another issue.

      Unless your boyfriend has signed ownership of the medical account he shoulnt be liable for the payment. She cant sue him personally for an account he never signed for.
      She can try sue him for the bills through the maintenance court … but, that can take years from her side.

  64. Hi there – I am wanting to know about varying a court order?
    There is an existing court order for R1900 per month that I pay, which includes school fees … I have subsequently been contacted by my childs school & my ex has not paid this in 3 months – I paid the arrears amount, & now would like to pay the school directly (for the schooling amount).

    How do I go about making a variation to the existing order? … bear in mind that Im not looking for a decrease, just to change how my finds are distributed.


    1. Ok – just an response to my own post (as no one has posted)

      So, I filled in a maintenance variation order through the local courts, stipulated how I wanted to pay the amounts, & just did my payments that way…. I now pay the school directly, deduct the arrears Ive paid (broken into small monthly payments & deducted from my maintetance amounts) – end up paying the ex the balance.

      I think the variation application form is available online from http://www.justice.gov.za/forms/maintenance/MNT_Form%20I.pdf

      The thing is that now my ex has to take me to court If she doesnt agree.

  65. my daughter of 20 have a baby girl age 2 and a half years old i still support her till she fifnished her school(after she went back to complete her grade 12 i am still support her and het mother ask for increase and she finsihed school do i still have to support her or can i claie my money back she felt pregnant at the age 16 and a half .

    1. at age 18 – If you stop paying maintenance for the child … the child has to then take you to court.
      may be an option? … but, may also sour your relationship with your daughter.

      It seems that the hold your ex & daughter have on you is an emotional one.

  66. hi i would like to pay my maintance money to maintance court thank you.could you please give me appropriate details

  67. We are divorced with my ex from 2008, childs maintenance was satled on the divorce decree. I have been paying mantenance not on her bank acc.in the first few months after the divorce, I was also paying full bond for the house they were living in bofore it got sold. I paid full school fees and addaitional for the tutor who was giving my son extra classe as he was distured by the divorce and hence couldin’t cope at school. In 2009 I was ganished for arears without beeng called to the court, when I tried to query it I, the maintenance wouldn’t even look at my proof that I was paying. The arears she claimed was R4 800 at the monthly pay of R500. I have been paying these arears from May 2009 up untill today. I have been to the maintanence officer twice. her answer is I should get my legal advicer because she can’t help me, when she trys to get hold of my ex she slammed the phone on her ear and at work they say they won’t stop the ganish till I get the letter from the court instructing them to stop. My ex is working in the justice system. I feel very much let down by the justice system because, the prcedure wasn’t followed in the first place and now I have paid the full amount off what was claimed but they still don’t want to stop the ganish. Please help.

  68. My son 17 has a child with a 18 year old girl. He is a full-time student. Can grandparents be held responsible for maintenance?

  69. Ok last thing I would like abit of advice on… Is it a big mission for me to get joint custody of the baby?? We live within a 5 minute drive from each other!!!

  70. My ex girlfriend is pregnant out of wedlock she is now 5 months pregnant and we no longer together… She told me that she had been having an affair while she was pregnant so we broke up and at that time I was unemployed, she does not know that I am working again and she says she is going to now sue my parents for maintenance… Is that possible?

    1. She may claim from your parents if you are unable to pay maintenance, however, she is also at liberty to make a contribution to maintenance. I suggest that you meet with her in order to agree on maintenance, if you can’t agree on an amount, then the maintenance court will ultimately fix the monthly maintenance. If you do pay maintenance she will not be able to claim against your parents.

  71. I urgently need advise.

    My 19 year old daughter out of wedlock is pregnant. I have been paying maintenance since from the first day for the past 19 years. She is a full-time student at the university from this year. She is about 5 months pregnant.

    What are my rights regarding maintenance payments? Am I still liable to pay maintenance? She has now threatened to take me to maintenance court.

    please assist urgently

    1. You will be liable to pay maintenance until a child is self supporting. Rather meet with her and agree on a reasonable amount. The court will take into consideration the fact that she is also able to find vacation work that can alleviate any maintenance that you need to pay.

  72. Also I need to ad that on our decree it states that ex is liable for son’s medical aid but also surprisingly he has failed to adhere to the same. IT IS A BREACH OF A HIGH COURT ORDER but yet nothing gets done about this.

    Ex has an interdict against me and he can pick up the phone now and the police will be at my front door in half an hour but I have a HIGH COURT ORDER and yet this means absolutely nothing.

  73. Hi

    I am from Cape Town, have a five year old son. My ex has for the last three month’s not paid our son’s maintenance. I have been to Kuilsriver court to file complaints on a Form Q, our last hearing in front of the maintenance officer was on 19 April where it was ordered that ex pays R2420 (which is the maintenance amount) plus R100 towards the arrears of R4840. An undertaking was signed by both ourselves as well on that date.

    Ex has SURPRISINGLY not paid our son’s maintenance AGAIN this month. I cannot take time off work every single time to file a complaint on a Form Q with no outcome!!!!!! WHAT MUST I DO?!?!

  74. My husband’s minor sister (aged 14) is in our full care. We have been unable to receive maintenance from the father or the mother for this child. We have approached the welfare who in turn told us they cannot apply to children’s court to have us registered as her legal guardians, as the mother is not deemed an unfit parent. the father is though, as he has sexually abused and physically abused his children. So we ended up making a private arrangement in the presence of the social worker with the mother, that the child is in our care as she is not employed in a stable job and cannot provide financially for the child. The father has no contact, does not attempt to contact and has no interest in the child. He last saw her three months ago, by accident when we went passed his mother (the child’s grandmother’s house)

    Are we able to apply for maintenance from him for this child even though we are not her “legal” guardians… she lives with us, we pay her school fees, medical expenses… all of which is draining our finances as we are only 24 and 22 years old and only married 9 months. The school has declined our application for reduction in school fees as we are not her legal guardians, and we have attempted to beg and plead with the father to take his payslip to the school (he is employed full time), but he refuses.

    What are our rights in this matter? We do not have the finances to seek legal council

  75. My ex and I have a child born out of wedlock. He wants nothing to do with the child. If I were to claim maintence from him, and does not want to see the child, can he forfeit his visitation rights and still pay for the child? Also if he were to die what would my child be entitled with regards to his pension/estate if he does not include her or does but at a extremly low percentage? Can I get him to pay for her tertiary education/medical aid as well?

    1. He can’t forfeit his parental rights unless you approach the court on application to do so, but then any such an application should be in the interests of the minor child. The fact that a father of a child does not pay maintenance, does not mean that he is not entitled to contact with that child. The child will have a claim against the father’s estate for maintenance, should the father pass away. You can claim for tertiary eductaion and medical.

  76. I need help desperately. The father of my child 15 years refuse to pay maintenance. He have 2 be in court 25 jan 2011 but he didnt show up what must i do. Plz i need help

  77. my daughter was 15 when she fell pregnant. we decided to keep the baby and she is registered on our surname. the father of the child is 20, and he wants us to let him go without him paying maintenance because he is not interested in the baby. how can we claim maintenance from him?

    i feel that he created this baby and he must also be held responsible.

    1. Best would be to visit your local magistrate’s court and obtain an order that he pays maintenance. Non-payment may result in being in contempt of a court order and he could be arrested. You may also consider claiming from his parents in the event that he does not make payment of the minor’s maintenance.

    2. The father of the child is responsible to pay maintenance and I would suggest that the maintenance court be approached in order to institute proceedings. In South African law, the parental grandparents may also be held accoutable to pay maintenance.

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