Scenario: you and your now ex-husband decided to get divorced 10 years ago, at that time, the court ordered that he pay R2000.00 per month as maintenance towards your two minor children. Every now and then, he skips a payment. You feel as if you are paying far more towards their expenses than what he is and when you drop the kids off to spend the weekend with him, you see he’s just bought a brand new BMW. What do you do?
Divorce can be a messy affair, with children often stuck in the middle of parents bickering about who gets what and who pays for what. It is important to remember that by law, both parents are obliged to contribute financially towards their child’s general expenses, such as education, health care, housing and clothing.
Parents have this duty of support irrespective of whether they were or are currently married, in a new relationship, or if the child is adopted.
The first step in the maintenance procedure is to determine the “need” of the child. This simply means that we need to determine what the expense of the child amounts to.
Once the cost of the child is calculated, the amount which each party is obliged to pay towards their child depends on that person’s means and income i.e. how much they can afford to contribute towards the child.
Now back to the scenario. How would you increase the maintenance contribution that your Ex is paying?
Quite simply, you can apply to the Maintenance Court to amend the existing maintenance order and a greater contribution towards your children’s living expenses.
You will need to prove how much your children are costing monthly by submitting proof of your income and expenses, such as grocery slips, receipts for electricity and/or rent, etc.
Once you have completed the necessary documentation, the court will set a date and summon both parties to appear at court where a maintenance officer will investigate your claim and look into your circumstances.
Your Ex then has a choice between agreeing to pay the maintenance as claimed or contesting the matter in court. If your Ex agrees to pay the maintenance as claimed, a magistrate will review the relevant documentation. He or she will then make an order, and may decide to do so without requiring the parties to appear in court.
If your Ex does not consent to the order, he or she must appear in court, where evidence from both parties and their witnesses will be heard. Thereafter a Magistrate will make the appropriate order.
Should your Ex not adhere to the court order you may enforce same.
We have previously written specifically on this topic and you may contact us for a copy of the article.
Should you require any further information on this topic you are welcome to contact our offices on 011 897 1900 or email@example.com.
Article contributed by Stacey Bonsor of Tuckers Inc.