Child Custody, Maintenance, Divorce, Relocations and other Questions and Answers

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Child Custody, Maintenance, Divorce, Relocations, and other Questions and Answers



Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd provides professional legal advice to their clients through the following options:

  • Face to Face (At our location in Cape Town);
  • Telephonic (We call you on the South African Landline / Mobile number provided);
  • Video (We make use of Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp Video Call)

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceIf however, you have a quick and simple family law advice question you wish to ask, feel free to post it below. There would, therefore, be no need to set-up a consultation and pay a fee.


The question may relate to any of the following:

  • Child Maintenance;
  • Child Custody;
  • Divorce;
  • Relocation of minor children;
  • Change of minor children’s surname;
  • Guardianship rights;
  • Passport consent issues;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Parenting Plans;
  • and so on.


Useful family law Articles

Below are a few useful articles written by us.

Child Relocation, Passports, Custody, Surname Change, and the High Courts – Simplified

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceWhat does Child Relocation, Passport disputes, Custody issues, and surname changes have in common? They are all matters which a court of law resolves if the parties cannot do so. Other than child custody issues that can be resolved by the Children’s Court, disputes in relation to Child Relocation, Passport Disputes and Surname changes for minor children are dealt with in the various Provincial High Courts in South Africa where the child ore parties reside. Click here to read more…

Amendments to the Maintenance Act – Final Changes that took place in 2018 – Know your rights


Parents have a legal obligation to maintain their children. The same applies to spouses who have to maintain each other, and so on. This obligation should be exercised naturally. In other words, even if a parent did not know of the law enforcing child support, he or she should have a natural inclination to do so. Unfortunately, the true reality is that it is not the case. Countless parents are taken to the maintenance court every year due to not supporting, or inadequately supporting their children. And to be fair, there are parents who abuse the maintenance process who takes the parent to court who is already adequately contributing. Now, for the maintenance enforcement process to function, working mechanisms need to be in place. This is where the Maintenance Act 99 of 1998, and the Maintenance Amendment Act, 9 of 2015 come into play. Read on to learn more. Click here to read more…

Child Maintenance Saga: How a mother forced the father of her child to pay child maintenance after battling for 5 years

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceMaintenance Saga: When Jill was 17 years old, she met Jack. He was much older than her, working, and very charming. Jill was in her final year of high school and in love with Jack. One thing led to another, and Jill fell pregnant with his child. When she told Jack the good news, he asked her to have an abortion. She refused. Jack was then out of the picture and nowhere to be found. She did not know where he stayed, nor did she have his work details. All she had was his mobile number. This number was useless as he blocked her. The furthest thing from her mind at the time was the issue of child maintenance. Click here to read more…

Paternity disputes and Scientific DNA Testing in Child Legal Matters

Paternity disputes are not uncommon in our courts of law. What sparks them varies, however, all disputes are messy. For one, the mere allegation that he is not the father of the child may directly or indirectly affect the dignity of the mother, and that of the child. In other words, it is suggested that she had more than one sexual partner at the time, and the child was born from such a relationship. Nonetheless, the issue can speedily be resolved through scientific DNA testing. Click here to read more…

Victory for Muslim Marriages in South Africa – Court gives the State 2 (two) years to enact legislation

On 31 August 2018, the Western Cape High Court handed down a ground-breaking judgment. In effect, it Orders the State to prepare, initiate, introduce, enact, and bring into operation, diligently, and without delay, legislation to recognise Muslim marriages. The High Court gave the State exactly two (2) years to attend to the latter process. This two (2) years would only be suspended if the matter is taken to the Constitutional Court. However, should the matter not be taken to the Constitutional Court for final determination, and the State does not enact the legislation, then by default, Muslim marriages may be dissolved in accordance with the Divorce Act 70 of 1979. Therefore, it is up to the State to action matters urgently. Click here to read more…

Passport Applications for minor children: What you need to know – Department of Home Affairs – Questions  and Answers

Should you require any advice on an application for a passport of a minor, where the co-parent refuses to consent or co-operate;  feel free to set up a consultation with us. You may call 0211110090 or click here to do it online.

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceLeaving South Africa, and visiting another country is something many people do on a daily basis. The reason, therefore, could either be for a holiday, business, a death in the family, and so on. Or it might be to relocate to another country to start a new life, either alone, or with your spouse or children. Whatever the reason is, you require a passport when leaving South Africa. For an adult, all you need to do is visit your nearest Department of Home Affairs Offices, with proof of identity, and the prescribed fees, and take your picture, fingerprints, etc. However, if you are a minor child, under the age of 18, it is not that simple. You would need to go with both your parents, and they need to provide their consent. Click here to read more…

Father battles for 3 years to finally see his child. This he did with the help of a social worker, lawyer and the court. He now has regular contact with his child.

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceCustody, Contact, and Guardianship are parental responsibilities of all parents. Once the child is born, both parents not only have a right but a duty to form part of a child’s life. This is also the right of the child. Therefore, a parent cannot deny the other parent from exercising his or her parental responsibilities and rights. The Courts have a duty to ensure that a child’s best interests are met when approached. It is therefore of paramount importance that parents ensure that parental responsibilities and rights are exercise and enforced where necessary. This includes the responsibility of paying child maintenance. Click here to read more…



About the Author

Advocate South Africa

Legal Advisor for Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd
Call 0211110090
For appointments: https://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice

38 thoughts on “Child Custody, Maintenance, Divorce, Relocations and other Questions and Answers

  1. Hi there, I’m urgently seeking some legal advise with regards to my daughter and her dad and relocating.

    Hubby and I need to move to Namibia because he has a job offer there and is struggling to get work this side in Cape town, we’ve tried and nothing has come. I work from home so I can literally go anywhere.

    My issue is with my daughter’s biological dad, I had her when I was 16 and was forced to put her into his surname, unfortunately I was young and dumb and didn’t have the correct support from my family so I allowed them to bully me. I wasn’t allowed to fill in the papers at home affairs , just sign and it got said if I don’t put her on his name they will take her away, please note that I have never been an unstable mom or in an unstable situation.

    My child’s dad hasn’t exactly been present in her life and by that I mean he hasn’t called her often still doesn’t, won’t send messages and ask how she is, he stays with his mother and she is more involved than he is, when she visits him ( they stay in JHB ) then he gets to go out with friends and party and literally do whatever he wants like he has no responsibility because mommy is there to take care of it all, yes he does spend time with her but not often like he should when she’s there.

    He mentioned about 2-3 months ago that he wants to move in with his gf , she stays in Austria or Australia I think it was and he told my child that this previous school holiday was the last she was going to see him until her high school years, she’s only just turned 8 so imagine how she feels. All fair and we’ll if that’s his goal then he must pursue it. Now everytime I’ve wanted to move or do something I’ve had to ask his permission and he thinks he has this control over me like I’m a puppet , I wasn’t allowed to leave school and get a job because then he threatened to take her away, I left school anyway because he wasn’t financially supporting her and I had to get an income at that time, I wasn’t allowed to move in with my boyfriend when I stayed in JHB and that was from Randburg to Magaliesburg, I wasn’t allowed to move to Cape town , I’m literally not allowed to move forward with my life but he can do whatever he wants.

    I now stay in Cape town with my then boyfriend, now hubby and I’ve never ever cut contact between him and the child, I’ve never stopped him from seeing her .

    I have proof since she was born of how nasty and unstable he is, his mom and him used to take my daughter for weekends when she was a few months old because we had broken up due to the fact that he became emotionally and physically abusive, he used to grab me by my arm, when he had taken my daughter for weekends he was staying with his girlfriend where he would sleep most of the time or just go out with friends leaving my daughter with his girlfriend and her mom for hours on end. I have all this information on whatsapp not just from one girlfriend but from two.

    He said he refuses to give permission to let me move with my daughter and I’m just so upset because like I said he is hardly there and thinks he can control me.

    My child has been with me since birth, he pays maintenance every month, some months its a struggle to get it from him, I haven’t gone the court route because I’m not a nasty person , I’ve been as nice as I possibly can with him even though he honestly doesn’t deserve it.

    What can I do?

  2. My ex-boyfriend and I fell pregnant and after 2 months pregnancy we broke up after which he has never contributed to the wellbeing of our daughter and has maybe seen her 5 times since she was born. Every time they had contact with each other was when I would arrange for her to have a visitation. Because who wants to raise their daughter without a father, right?
    She is now 4. The last time he saw her is when she was 2. He only contacts once a year. He never pays maintenance and he never has. He never asks how she’s doing. Nothing.
    When she was born she was given my surname and the father is not registered on birth certificate. He was already a deadbeat at this point. I have since been engaged to an amazing man and daddy to my daughter who loves her dearly and looks after her wellbeing. We now live in Cape Town after moving from Pretoria (where the biological father stays) and out of the blue he contacted me and now wants to be a part of her life again for that 5-minutes-a-year-phonecall. This will only confuse my daughter as she does not know him. She knows my fiancé as her daddy and we are extremely happy. Most importantly my daughter is happy. There is not a single thing in the world she could ever need. What she doesn’t need though is a man who calls himself her father whose only interested in spending time with her when it suits him (once a year) and who doesn’t care in the slightest about her future or wellbeing. What do I need to do in a situation like this?

  3. Goodday. My husband approached social workers I Atlantis regarding his 3 children being neglected by their mother, the clothing that we buy gets stolen, stationery gets stolen or sold, they don’t eat regularly and maintenance we send gets used for alcohol as the mother is an alcoholic. The mother was recently approached by the social workers, she was found drunk, and the kids were dirty running around without supervision while she slept. She became physical with her sister infront of the social workers. Her sister then put her and the kids out and the social worker took them to a family members house. My husband has also applied to have his divorce decree amended in order to be the primary caregiver and or get sole custody of his kids who are suffering. My question is: Is there no way we can get the kids temporarily till we get a court date/ consultation with the family advocate. My husband is afraid that something happens to one of the kids when they are on the street late at night and the mother is drunk. What can we do to speed up the process as my husband is losing sleep over the 3 children’s who are being neglected so badly?

    1. Good day

      You can make an urgent application to the Court. The court would have to decide what is best for the children in the interim.

  4. I have a Custody query relating to my 10 year old daughter. My former husband and I have been divorced for close to a year now. We were granted shared custody of our daughter who currently stays with myself and her day on alternating weeks, i.e. she’s with me this week and will be with her dad the following week and back with me the week after that.

    My issue is that my daughter has recently expressed to me how unhappy she is with the arrangement, and has even asked not to go back to her dad’s on Sunday, siting a number of issues she’s unhappy with during her weeks with her dad.

    I would appreciate some advice on the best way to handle this issue considering that there is already a binding decree and parenting plan in place, stipulating the custody arrangements.



  6. Hi

    I need to know I have been divorced for 8 years with 2 children and the father only pays like R1400 towards the children needs per month, the rest I do. However 4 years ago he enrolled my daughter in a school which he and his gf at the time applied for, I could never afford the school fees, the father has stopped paying it for 2 years and now the school wants to hand me over, what can I do? I can’t afford a judgement on my name. Secondly his exposing my kids to his affairs while his married to his 2nd wife, what can I do regarding this?

    1. Good day
      You are a parent and co-guardian of the child, so the school can proceed for payment against you.
      Regarding the affairs, you would need to speak to the father about it. If you feel that his exposure is negatively affecting the kids, where it would be better for them not to see him to avoid it, then you need to approach the court to change the divorce order regarding care and contact.

      1. thank you for the reply.. so if I can’t afford the fees, they will just force it out for me even if it means taking food out my kids mouth and the father get away with it? we never had an official divorce order, we were only married Islamic rites..so not if they will help me?

  7. Hi. I am a single mom and wish to relocate from South Africa to the UK with my 11 year old daughter. Her dads name is on the birth certificate but we never married and have not been together since before she was a year old. He has given consent and agrees to our move. What documents do I need which will allow us to leave SA and what is needed that there will be no problems with the UK Ancestiral visa application or entry into the UK? Some say a parental consent form and afdavidt is sufficient but others say I need a court order? Please advise if a court order is really neccesary if he agrees? Thank you for the assistance.

    1. Good day
      For leaving the country, his consent should be sufficient. However, the next issue is what would the schools, the hospital and so on require in the UK? That we cannot answer. They may say they require the father’s consent, even if you have an affidavit. However, a court order would eliminate those issues. If you are interested, please set up a meeting with a lawyer to discuss the issues and advise you, and if you so decide, assist in getting an order. Makes use of the link http://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice .

  8. Hi there,

    Thank you for the info provided. What would the process be if ai died first? She would have full custody then and can her will then be executed as set out by her ? Also as it stands now, we havr no parenting plan of sorts, the kids chose to stay with me, the mother agrees .. Does tbis mean I have custody ??

    Thanking you in advance,

  9. Hi, can you please assist me. I am in the process of getting divorced. My soon to be ex wife told me that she has made a will which states that when she dies, all will be left to the children … which all is in order and obviously have no issue with. However, the will further states that if I die after her then the children will be then taken care of by her sister? Is this something that we should of spoken about first ? Also is there anything I can do about this …. The children have chosen to stay with me full time and she is fine with that ?

    Please advise accordingly.

    1. Good day

      If the mother dies, then you have full custody, etc. Therefore, if you die after, then you can state who the kids must go to.

  10. My son who is 15 going on 16 has just requested to go stay with his biological father.i have been carrying full expenses for the child since he was born and in the last 3 years the father has intermittently given 1000 for the childs upkeep which i have been putting it away fro his tertiary education when i got it.

    Now that the boy wants to go live with him can he compel me to pay maintenance even when he has not been paying?

    Can i aurgue that the money being paid for the education policies for his tertiary by myself is the contribution to maintenance?

    1. Good day

      Depending on the facts, it is possible for the father to claim maintenance from you should the child live with him. One would have to look at the needs of the child and the income and expenses of the parents. You can argue that point and the could would consider that fact based on the needs of the child.

  11. Hi. I am a foreign mother to a four year old boy with a South African father. We have a parenting plan in place and he recently started paying child maintenance. However, he already refused for me to leave south Africa for holiday with my child saying – I will never come back as I don’t have any family here.
    This is an urgent matter as we are about to sign the divorce papers as a result – my spousal permit is going to be invalid. I can not work with a relative visa. Apparently the new law states that the child must be 18 for me to be able to get a visa through him.

    Currently, I am unemployed and my papers are about to be voided which also means I sit with the responsibility of paying more than half of my child’s expenses. The father has visiting rights for four days in a month and half of holidays according to the parenting plan.

    What can I do to get urgent consent to relocate with my boy? I have an option to relocate to other countries which I’ve had to put on hold due to his father’s refusal.
    Thank you

  12. Hi. I am in need of advice… my daughter was taken from me on the 22/06/2018 and placed in a care and protection facility. The welfare worker contacted me via WhatsApp to inform me they want to place her in a foster care – but I feel the need to apply for her to get back in my care as I am stable now. Currently, I’m living in a two bedroom home and I’m not yet working but my hubby is working so I can take care of her now. What are my legal grounds in this regard and what can I do about it? She was taken out of my care at six months old.

  13. Kindly advise me on the following as I require an increase in child maintenance.
    She has currently started her first year at varsity and she is 17 years of age.
    The following is a breakdown of the expenses:

    * Her school fees are R 15000;
    * her transport is R 2000 per month;
    * my salary is R 6000 per month and my rental is R3000 while my
    * petrol is R800

    Note that her studies are on a monthly basis. Also, her dad earns a salary of of R 16000 per month – he remarried and now has three kids. I have not had an increase in child support for the last 14 years. Please advise as to what legal grounds I have, given the scenario I’ve just outlined?

    1. We suggest you approach the maintenance court for an increase in maintenance. They will assess the matter, after looking at all of your income and expenses, as well as the father.

  14. Hi I would like to state a question please…
    I am a self-employed guy and work has been down the past year. I do however, have a child with a lady who demands R1000 a month (I don’t have a problem with this). However, if I don’t have it, she wants to reflect back to my other children while her other kid’s fathers hasn’t even paid in a few years and don’t give as much as I am giving.
    The child is going on for his third birthday and I’m behind about three months due to lack of work. My current lady sees to our child fully and is helping where she can – I’m sleeping on a friend’s couch as I was unable to uphold rent. She has applied for maintenance for one of her kids but did not go further as she says she doesn’t feel the need to. When we were together and work was good, I even cared for the kids while other fathers have always dodged her with maintenance money.
    I have always supported my child but I was in an accident a few years ago. Even though I would work for a firm, the medical tests on my arm says I’m not medically fit to do the work . Please advise me on what to do ?

    1. Good day
      You would need to pay reasonable child support to your child. If you cannot afford, you would then need to ask your parents to assist. The mother must do the same.

  15. My name Tabogo and I have a problem…

    I met a lady when my wife was in Kwazulu Natal a long time ago and after six months we broke up. She then disappeared since then and one day she pitches up, 8 months pregnant and she claims that I’m the one who impregnated her and i don’t that’s true.
    She came back with the police and told me the baby is three months and the police came with a maintenance document and ordered me to sign.
    On 16 of April I was suppose to appear in court and I have never even seen the child – I was not the only one who was in love with with that woman…can you please advise?

  16. Good day. My wife and I are separated but not divorced yet. On her part, both her parents and step parents has blocked me on WhatsApp – if I call, none of them answer their phones (even when I call at convenient times). I got hold of my wife through her mother’s phone once, she told me her phone was broken. I sent her a brand new phone through post to stay in contact – I’ve waited a week for her to contact me and that only lasted two days until 2 March 2019 (the new phone is off again).
    The thing is, she’s moving to another town with the kids and none of them are answering my calls, nor allowing me to speak to my kids: what are my rights in this regard?
    Am I allowed to go and fetch my kids to stay with me and to be stable on one spot, or is there procedure to follow?

    1. Good day
      We suggest that you approach the maintenance court in the area where the mother resides and apply for a contact order. The Court would then decide what is best for the child.

  17. I have a question: My fiancé and I separated in January 2019 and he promised to pay R7000 for two of our boys. I don’t feel it is enough.
    Although I also working, his salary is way much more than what I am earning and he was doing everything for us.
    Now I have to do everything, including the renting pf the apartment that we live in.
    Can I go apply maintenance because the money he is paying is too little?
    He also has a business that brings in extra another income.

  18. I have been in and out from court since 2003 until 2016, without payments from the father. The clerk was never interested in using her power of position to make the father pay – In stead, she gave me a lot of excuses resulting in a lot of suffering and loss over these years.
    From 2016 to 2019, the father paid after I made a big scene. This month I get told that the father is not working and there is nothing the court can do. 
    Meanwhile, the clerk is doing 3 people’s job, which means she is getting three salaries. The supervisor can’t get reprimanded after telling me if he should take his head off and put it on his desk for me to understand. The manager says that supervisor and clerk must go for training first before he gives warnings. Again, free salaries are paid to people who don’t know their job description. I am sick and tired of all the begging and humiliation at court.
    Can I sue the maintenance court department for all the suffering and loss that they caused me and my children? Please I don’t have money for a attorney… 

  19. Hi. I am a single mother with a 7 month old boy born out of wedlock. I felt pressured when baby was born and felt like I had to give the fathers surname.

    Now I want to change it to mine, but he won’t consent.

    He is not part of the raising of my son since he works abroad and is only in the country 6 times a year. My family and myself are raising my son, he will have our roots and not the fathers. What do I do to change his surname?

    1. Good day
      You need to approach the court for an Order that his consent is not required for the name change application at the Department of Home Affairs. We advise you to consult with a lawyer in this regard.

  20. I have a 7 month old out of wedlock. The dad works abroad and is only home 6 times a year for 2 weeks each time. He then wants to take my 7 month old for the entire 2 weeks. And I don’t see it fit. Where do I go to finalize custody?

    1. Good day
      You need to attempt to resolve this issue via mediation. Looking up organisations like FAMAC or FAMSA. If you cannot resolve this issue, then you need to see a lawyer and approach the court.

  21. Hi. I am a single divorced female living my 2 year old. Wat visitaction rights is the father entitled to. I would like to request the family advocate to only allow him supervised visits at my premises only,every alternate weekend as I don’t trust him alone with my daughter. He has a sick sexual obsession and has subjected me to his sick behaviour constantly. I fear for my daughters safety therefore want the family advocate to only allow him supervised visits with me at my premises. Only every alternate weekend. Is that possible?

    1. Good day
      The office of the family advocate can investigate and make recommendations in matters. They are not the Court so cannot make any orders or tell the parties what to do with legal consequences if they do not. We advise that you set up a meeting with them and see how they can assist you and advise you what is best for your child.

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