When the parents of child are no longer married or in a relationship, both parents will still be responsible for the child’s wellbeing and upbringing, especially as far as financial-related matters are concerned.
Both parents will need to contribute financially in order to fulfil the child’s needs. This is considered according to their respective means.
According to the law, every child is entitled to reasonable maintenance, in order to provide for clothing, housing, dental and medical care, education, training, and where applicable, recreation.
Maintenance is applicable whether a child is born out of wedlock or legally adopted
HOW SHOULD MAINTENANCE BE PAID
Maintenance is usually paid to the parent with whom the child is residing on a month to month basis.
The amount payable will usually increase every year. The increase is regulated by agreement between the parties or by way of a court order obtained.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN MAINTENANCE
Maintenance should be used in order to cover costs related to the day to day needs of the child, as well as the larger essential expenses such as medical and educational costs (this could include all costs for aftercare, extra-murals, stationery, uniforms etc.).
MAINTENANCE AND CONTACT WITH YOUR CHILD
As a parent, even if you do not have direct contact with your child, you are still required to pay maintenance as per your means.
You will be required to pay maintenance even in the instance that your child’s other parent remarries or is involved in another relationship, has other children, or does not allow you contact to your child.
FAILURE TO PAY MAINTENANCE
If a parent fails to pay maintenance the other parent can approach the relevant court and obtain various forms of relief as follows:
1. Warrant of execution;
2. Garnish order;
A parent can also approach the South African Police Services and lay a criminal charge in the event of the other party defaulting with maintenance payments.
WHEN YOUR CHILD BECOMES A LEGAL ADULT
Once your child reaches the age of 18, the onus is on him or her to prove how much maintenance he / she still needs. If the child is employed and can support himself / herself on the salary earned, he or she may not claim maintenance from either parent.