Child Maintenance and Support

According to the Child Care Act, every child is entitled to maintenance which provides for clothing, housing, education, dental and medical care, as well as recreation.

When it comes to child maintenance and support, both parents have the responsibility of maintaining their child according to their respective means. 

The responsibility to maintain the child exists even if the child is adopted, born during a subsequent marriage, or born out of wedlock.

There is no set amount that a parent should pay in respect of their child. The amount that is payable is unique to every family, as each family and their specific needs must be considered in their own context.

The court will take the monthly income and expenditure of the parents into account when making the final decision as to the amount that should be paid in maintenance as well as a number of other factors when determining an amount of the child’s share of the shared household expenses which include but are not limited to:

  • Age of the children
  • How many people are in the household
  • Living and social status of the parents, etc.

Child maintenance often includes the following:

Monthly cash payments (Basic Maintenance)

A divorce agreement or maintenance order stipulates the sum of money that should be paid to the parent who has primary care of the child.

Monthly cash payments can be made in advance or on a specified day of every month. Additionally, the amount of maintenance increases annually, in accordance with the percentage change in the headline inflation rate (which is also referred to as the headline Consumer Price Index).

This includes the basics that the child would need on a daily basis, such as: rent; electricity; groceries (food and toiletries); clothes; transport, etc.

Medical expenses

Depending on their means, the parents are responsible for the funding of any medical, dental, surgical, ophthalmological and orthodontic treatment that the child might require.

Parents are also responsible for covering the cost of medication, in cases where their medical aid scheme does not provide sufficient coverage, or when the parents have no medical aid.

Educational costs

Both parents are responsible for the payment of all preschool and aftercare fees, school fees, additional tuition fees, extra-curricular activities, school outings and camps, etc. Educational costs also include stationery, school books, uniforms and any other educational equipment that the child requires.

Tertiary educational costs

If it is within their means, parents are obligated to pay for all or part of the child's tertiary education, for as long as the child continues to make satisfactory academic progress.

Tertiary educational expenses include university or college fees, accommodation and travel expenses, and books and other equipment that the child may need.

What happens when a parent does not pay child maintenance?

Once a court has ordered one parent to pay child maintenance, and that parent fails to comply with the terms of the order, the complainant can go to the maintenance court where the respondent resides, and apply for the following:

  • The issuing of a warrant of execution
  • A garnishee order (an order for the attachment of emoluments)
  • An order for attachment of debt

Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated | Family Law Attorneys in Johannesburg

A divorce can be one of the most stressful events in your life, and it is often worsened when there are issues with regards to child maintenance. To ease the emotional and financial stress that you and your family may be going through, contact Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated, the family law attorneys in Johannesburg.

 

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