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Child Maintenance Process

Use this process only as a guideline. Each process may change based on circumstance.

Request for Child Maintenance assistance here

  • What is child maintenance?

    • Child maintenance is an amount of money that a person must pay towards another person based on a legal duty to support that person.

  • Who can apply for child maintenance on behalf of a child?

    • The parents, guardians and/or caregivers of a child can apply for maintenance on behalf of such child.

  • Who has the duty to support?

    • This duty rest commonly on both parents and must be shared between them according to their income. Section 15(3)(iii) of the Child Maintenance Act provides that the duty to support a child/children exist irrespective of whether the children is born out of wedlock or is born of a first or subsequent marriage, whether the parent has access or is denied access.

  • Is there a duty on grandparents to support a grandchild?

    • If neither parent can support or maintain the child, the duty passes to the grandparents (maternal and paternal).
      If a father or mother fails to pay maintenance, the primary care-giving parent can lodge a maintenance application against either grandparents.

  • Is there a duty on siblings to support a child?

    • If neither the parents nor grandparents can provide support,
      then the duty passes to the child’s sibling, in accordance with their respective means,
      but only if the child is truly in need.

  • Is there a duty on step - parents to support a child?

    • A step – parent is not by law obliged to maintain his/her stepchild.

  • Who is entitled to receive child maintenance?

    • - All children are entitled to receive child maintenance from their parents. The parent who is paying the maintenance has the duty to do so until the child is self-supporting.
      A parent’s duty does not cease when the child reaches the age of majority.
      - Adopted children may receive child maintenance from their adopted parent but are not entitled
      to receive money from their biological parents.

  • Application process

    • - Applicant should apply at the magistrate court in the district where she lives.
      - Complete an application form (Form A J101).
      - Submit income and expenditure.
      - The court will set a date on which the applicant and the respondent should attend the court
      - A child maintenance officer and an investigator will investigate your claim.
      - The respondent then has a choice between agreeing to pay child maintenance or contesting the matter in court
      - If the respondent agrees an order will be made by the court.

  • The documents that needs to be attached with your application is as follow:

    • - Birth certificate of the child/children
      - Applicants id document
      - Proof of residence
      - A divorce settlement (if any)
      - Proof of monthly income and expenses
      - The detail of the parent required to pay child maintenance
      - 3 months bank statement

  • Documents that should be brought by the respondent:

    • - Id document
      - Three months bank statement
      - Three months proof of income
      - Proof of physical work and residential address
      - List of expenditure
      - Provide a copy of the child maintenance court order if there is a maintenance court order against the respondent in another court
      - Birth certificates of all your other biological children other than children in question.
      The child maintenance clerk will submit the application form. The applicant will receive a reference number and a date on which the applicant and the respondent should be at court.
      A summons will be served upon the defendant to appear in court on a specific date.

      Hi, I’m Kailash Pillay, an attorney from the city of Johannesburg. My passion for the law
      stems from a desire to improve upon the lives of the vulnerable who fall prey to a
      corrupt system.
      I studied at the University of Johannesburg where I obtained my Bachelor of Laws
      degree, the starting point to the long journey of becoming a legal practitioner.
      This profession has taught me to persevere through the complexities of the law and to
      continually develop my skills as a legal professional.

  • Court appearance what to expect.

    1st Appearance

    • Child maintenance officer will attempt to broker an agreement between the parties.
      If the child maintenance officer needs any information about the respondent, he/she can ask the magistrate to call anyone with information to appear before him/her.

      The child maintenance officer may also task a maintenance investigator with:
      - Finding the respondent and witness
      - Giving any maintenance court document to the respondent
      - Taking statements and gathering relevant information

      If an agreement cannot be reached the maintenance officer will arrange a formal enquiry.

  • The Formal Enquiry

    • The formal enquiry takes place before a magistrate in a maintenance court,
      which essentially performs the functions of a civil court, except that the magistrate is given a far greater right to descend into the arena and play an inquisitional role.
      Civil procedure rules apply.
      The complainant, maintenance officer and the respondent will put all the
      information before the magistrate. On this basis the magistrate will decide how much money is required to meet the child’s needs,
      how this is to be apportioned to each of the parents.

  • The child maintenance order can include:

    • - The amount of child maintenance to be paid
      - An order that if the respondent has a medical scheme, the child be placed as a dependent on the scheme.
      - Where the child was born recently the magistrate can order the respondent to back pay all expenses plus interest relating to the child’s birth.
      - Where there is already a maintenance order the court may substitute the existing maintenance order with a new order or discharge the existing maintenance order.
      - The court may also make no order.

  • How much child maintenance should a father pay in south africa:

    • These variables has multiple factors to consider when understanding the amount a father should pay for child maintenance in south africa.
      Contact a child maintenance attorney to assist with calculating the amounts payable.

  • The court can order maintenance money to be paid in one of the following ways:

    • - At the local magistrate’s office or any other government office designated for the purpose
      - Into the bank or building society account designated by the person concerned.
      - Directly to the person who is entitled to the money.
      - By means of an order that directs the employer of the person who is liable for paying maintenance to deduct the maintenance payment directly from employee’s salary,
      in accordance with the new child maintenance act
      Failure to comply with the order the applicant can apply to the maintenance court to issue a warrant of execution or a garnishee order.
      Failure to pay maintenance is a criminal offence and fit the defaulter is convicted he may be sentenced.

  • Child attorneys standing by to assist:

Adopting A Child Process
  • Required Documents –

    • Birth Certificate of Child/Children.

    • Certified Identity Documents of Parents.

    • Payslips of Parents.

  • Procedure

    • The process are as follows -

    • Applicant must approach local magistrate’s court, child maintenance court.

    • Applicant must provide his/her income and expenses.

    • Applicant must apply for the relevant maintenance based of the relevant needs of the child/children.

    • Each parent is responsible for 50% (Fifty Percent) responsibility of care of the child/children.

    • Expenses may include medical, schooling, clothing and entertainment.

    • Children 18 and under are entitled legally to be maintained by both parents.