What to expect on the day of your Court appearance?
The maintenance officer will speak to both yourself and the person you are claiming maintenance from, prior to the court appearance, while accessing documentation provided by yourself and the person you’re claiming maintenance from. Each party will get a chance to explain why she/he requires maintenance and/or whether he/she can afford the maintenance requested. The maintenance officer will try as far as possible to resolve the matter without actually having to go to court. If you can agree on an amount this can be made an order of the court. If, however, no agreement can be reached, the matter will be referred to court for trial. Keep in mind that a party subject to an existing maintenance order may request a reduction of the maintenance amount as well.
How much maintenance are you expected to pay?
Every child has the right to receive adequate child maintenance from both parents. This includes provisions for food, shelter, clothing, education and healthcare. If one parent cannot provide the other parent will have to provide alone for the time being. Child support can also be claimed from the paternal and maternal grandparents under certain circumstances.
What is the rate for child maintenance payments?
There is no fixed rate. The amount depends on variable factors which includes the needs of the child(ren), the parents’ personal expenses and the income of the parents. Parents must contribute in accordance to their means. Thus, if the primary caregiver earns substantially more than the other parent, the primary caregiver will pay a substantial amount more in maintenance. The aim is to determine a fair contribution for each parent according to his/her means. Please refer to the “How to…” guide under the Maintenance Documents section for a detailed explanation and/or video on how to calculate the amount of child maintenance.
What is covered by Child Maintenance?
The standard of living of the parents and what the child is accustomed to is the most deciding factors. Thus, necessities as well as luxuries can be included. The child needs to continue living at the same standard of living he/she is accustomed to as far as possible, even though this is not always possible.
How to determine the amount of child maintenance?
This is no easy task. The parents’ income and expenditure differ. Assets and liabilities will also be a deciding factor. This can lead to a scenario where one parent does not earn much, but own extensive assets which may result in this parent paying more maintenance. Simply put, there is no science in determining the amount of maintenance required. Please refer to the “How to…” guide under the Maintenance Documents section for a detailed explanation and/or video on how to calculate the amount of child maintenance.