Child maintenance in general
From whom do you claim Maintenance?
If a person has a legal duty to maintain you, maintenance may be claimed from him/her. So, the next obvious question would be: who has a legal duty to maintain? Children may claim maintenance from their parents jointly and severally (together or separately). Spouses may also claim maintenance from each other, whether it is a husband claiming from a wife or vice versa or same-sex partners claiming from each other. Minor children need to be assisted by a parent or guardian when claiming maintenance, but nevertheless it is still the child who is claiming. In short: The duty to maintain is based on blood relationship, adoption, or the fact that the parties are married to each other.
What is required from the parent / guardian claiming maintenance?
Before you venture off to court or to your maintenance attorney, it might be to your advantage to get all your paperwork ready BEFORE hand – this would save you hours (if not days) of court delays and could expedite your maintenance case.
Proof of Income and Expenditure
If you work for an employer, you need to provide your most recent payslips. If you are self-employed you need to provide at least six months’ bank statements to reflect your income. All other income such as rent, investments, and shares needs to be declared and proven as well. The same goes for Unemployment. It must be clearly stated and proven. Proof of all your expenditure with regards to yourself and your minor children also needs to be provided. This will include rent, groceries, clothes, toiletries, airtime, school fees, etc. Right at the end of this e-book is a list of likely expenses that you might have – it might be worthwhile to go through the list as you might have missed something. Details from the person you intend to claim maintenance must also be provided. Details include work-and home addresses, contact numbers (private and work) and Identity Number.
Application for Maintenance Paperwork
You need to visit the Maintenance Court closest to you to obtain a “Application for Maintenance Order Form”. You can also obtain this form from your appointed attorney if you opt to go this route. If you have internet access you can download this form from the Department of Justice’s website or download it from the Maintenance Documents section. This form is in the form of an affidavit and needs to be completed as thoroughly as possible and needs to be completed with all the information you gathered about your expenses and income. For a step-by-step guide on how to fill in the application form and a checklist of all documents needed to accompany your application, click here.
Remember seeing as this is an affidavit you state under oath that the information provided by yourself is true and correct to the best of your knowledge. The Court may cross-examine you on any information provided by yourself. Once the form is completed and returned to the Maintenance Court the Court will send yourself and the person from whom you are claiming a subpoena to appear at the Magistrate Court for an inquiry with the maintenance officer.
Record of all receipts/expenditure
Keep record of all receipts for items bought for the child(ren) in question. It doesn’t matter whether this is receipts of nappies, groceries or toys. You will have to prove how much money you spend on your children and the receipts are vital for this.
In the Notice to Appear for a maintenance enquiry on a specific date, delivered by subpoena, it is stated to provide prove of all expenditure. Without proof you won’t have a strong case. Thus, if you keep your receipts in a save place it will help you tremendously in court to prove your claim. It’s always a good idea to make copies of your proof of expenditure. You can take both the original and copied documents to court and take the original back home with you while all copies will stay on the Court file.