Types of Maintenance

There are three prerequisites for a duty to support (maintenance) to exist: 

  • A prior or existing relationship;
  • A need on the part of the person requiring maintenance; and 
  • Adequate resources on the part of the person called upon to provide support. 

There are two main types of maintenance: 

  1. Spousal Maintenance  
  2. Child Maintenance 

Which are further divided into: 

Spousal Maintenance

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Permanent /Lifelong Maintenance 

Is usually paid on a monthly basis and commences from the date of the divorce. This will continue until the receiver of spousal maintenance passes away. 

If circumstances of any or both parties change drastically after the divorce, the Court may be approached to change or even discharge the maintenance accordingly.

Rehabilitative Maintenance 

Is used for a specific, fixed period only. The fixed period that is agreed upon cannot be extended or shortened. 

Token Maintenance 

Occurs when a small amount (for example R1) is ordered to be  taken per month as maintenance. This usually occurs when the spouse responsible for paying maintenance is not in a financial position to afford maintenance at the time of the divorce, but there is a large chance that they will become financially stronger in the future. 

This puts the receiver spouse in a position to approach the Court at a later stage to ask for more maintenance if they can prove the need and affordability in the light of improved financial circumstances of the maintenance payer. 

Interim Maintenance 

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In terms of Rule 58 (Magistrates Court) and Rule 43 (High Court) is maintenance that is payable pending divorce litigation. One must apply for a special order from the Court for such a grant. 

Child Maintenance 

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Every child is entitled to maintenance from their parents, which provides for clothing, housing, education, dental and medical care, as well as recreation.

A parent’s duty to support only comes to an end when the child becomes self-supporting. However, a parents supporting duty could revive should the child cease to be self-supporting for reasons such as: ill health or disability. It must also be noted that a major is not supported in the same lavish manner as a minor.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Divorce Attorney Cape Town

For expert legal advice regarding the different types of maintenance, and legally applying for and obtaining maintenance support, please contact Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated