Child Support / Maintenance – Frequently Asked Questions South Africa

Support – Frequently Asked Questions on Child Maintenance

Support and Child Maintenance: We proud ourselves on our knowledge on family law matters in South Africa. This includes issues and questions surrounding child maintenance. Feel free to browse through the this or question and answers below. Should you not find the answer to a child maintenance question you are look for, feel free to post  your divorce question here.

Child Maintenance links

  1. How to Apply for Child Maintenance at Court – Step by Step Guide and Advice
  2. Child Maintenance Question. How much should I pay or contribute as a parent?
  3. Child Support or maintenance claims. Does an unemployed father pay?
  4. Non-compliance with Maintenance Orders — Civil and Criminal Remedies
  5. Tricks and tips on how to win your child maintenance case

How much is the average child support a parent must pay Cape Town?

There is no average. It all depends on the needs of the child and the income of the parents.

How much do you get for child support in Cape Town?

It depends on the income of the parents and the needs of the child.

How do you determine the amount of child support?

You look at the needs of the child, and the parent’s income and expenses.

What is the average amount for child support?

There is no average amount. It depends on the facts of the case.

How much child support will I get in Cape Town?

It all depends on your income and standard of living of you and the child.

Is South African an alimony state?

Yes, it is possible that a court makes and order that alimony be paid. It all depends on the

Can you ask for retroactive child support?

Yes it is possible.  Whether the court grants it would depends on the facts of the case.

How much is minimum wage in Cape Town?

This website does not deal with that question.

What percentage do they take out of your salary for child support?

If there is a garnishee order against your salary, they will take off what the court ordered.

How do you calculate child support in Town?

Have a look at other parts of this website for a detailed answer. The simple answer is that the Court looks at your income, assets etc, and that of the mother and the child and come to a fair amount.

Who is the obligor in child support?

The person who should pay child support.

Do I have to pay child support if I have 50 50 custody?

It is possible if the other parent earns less than you.

How much is child support for two children?

It depends on the facts of the case. You should look at the earnings of the parents and the needs of the child.


How much do you have to pay in child support?

It depends on the needs of the child and the earnings or means of the parents.

What percentage of custody is every other weekend?

This question does not fall under child support. Please search for the answer on another part of this website.

How does child support work when parents live in different provinces?

The basic principle is the same. They should pay according to their means and the needs of the child.

When can you modify a child support order?

When there is a case for it. Usually when more money is needed or one parent cannot afford the order.

Do you have to pay child support after a child turns 18?

If the child is still in need of support, then the answer is yes.

How long will it take to get my child support?

This depends on the relevant court and case. It can take a few months.

How can I get my child support payments lowered?

You would need to apply to court for a variation of the child support order.

What is your monthly gross income?

The total sum you receive, before deductions.
Can you get child support arrears dropped?

You would need to approach the court and prove your case.
What is the definition of gross income?

The total income before deductions.

How do you find your gross income?

Your salary slip should have it.

How do I calculate my monthly salary?

Look at all you income for the month.

How do you calculate adjusted gross income?

Your salary slip should have that information in it.

How do you figure out your net income?

You take your gross income, and deduct medical aid, pension, tax etc.

How do you calculate monthly income when you get paid biweekly?

You add all your income for the month.

What is the net annual income?

The amount you earned for the year after deductions.

What is my gross annual income?

The total amount you got paid before deductions.

How do you work out your weekly pay?

Add all your income for the week.

What is the definition of net income?

The total income after deductions.

How do you determine your net pay?

You first deduct tax, medical aid, etc.

What is the definition of total income?

All your income.

Is total earned income gross or net?

Gross income.

Have a family Law appointment with us

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High Court Advocate Cape Town Western Cape

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Visit our child custody and maintenance site for additional information.

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44 thoughts on “Child Support / Maintenance – Frequently Asked Questions South Africa

  1. Good day, i have a daughter who is turning 3 years old and her father is not supporting her. My daughter is not staying with me. She is staying in another province with my mom. if i wanna take the father to court what steps should i take?
    The only thing i know its his date of birth and his parents home address.

  2. Good Day, My husband has 2 kids with his ex- girlfriend, age 17 and 19. He has been paying maintenance by court order all the time for both children. The 19 year old finish school last year and started an internship from the beginning of the year and is receiving a Stipend. Should he still be supporting the 19 year old as he has been trying to reach out to the child mother and not getting any info regarding her studies or anything, please can you advise the way forward.

    1. Good day
      The 19 year old is an adult, so he must speak to her regarding her needs. We advise he approaches the Maintenance Court to advise him on this issue.

  3. Hi can maintainence be paid directly to the child after they’ve turned 18 but are still classified as a dependent (unemployed and in their final year of study)?
    Also that the money is being misused by the mother.

  4. Good day.
    My Children’s father has been paying maintenance via court order since they were two, they are now 7. we were never married. the father was never involved in the children’s lives until last year near the end of the year, they called each other and the children went to visit once, after visitation the father stopped making contact. my husband of five years have been acting as their father since he was part of our lives, he would like to adopt the children however the father said he doesn’t want to break contact with them but has not been in contact for the last four months. my husband and I are financially capable to provide for the children and would like to know how do we go about cancelling the maintenance order as well as some advise about the adoption.

    1. Good day
      Regarding the cancellation of the maintenance order, you would have to approach the maintenance court. Usually, a father would apply for that. For the adoption, you would need to approach the Children’s Court and see an adoption social worker.

  5. Good Evening,
    I am about to start the process applying for child maintenance for my children. I would like to know whether the court is able to assist in having my children’s surname from their father’s surname to mine( we are not married) and whether an agreement can be made as to when he can visit the children and visa versa.

    1. Good day. The maintenance court, would only assist you in maintenance matters. To change the surname of the minor child, you would need the father’s consent, and if you does not give his consent, you would need to apply to court. Regarding visitation you and your husband may enter into an agreement to regarding that.

  6. Gooday

    My name is Evah khumalo I want to ask if a child receive child support grand, am I allowed to to go to maintenance court for her father to pay mentanance because they didn’t pay damages and his family kicked my family and I like dogs they told us to go look for my baby’s father. So my daughter father doesn’t want the child keep saying the a not her child but he came to hospital that was the last time I saw him. I don’t have his ID but I no were he work s and were he lives but I don’t know his address.

    1. Good day
      Yes, you can still approach the Maintenance Court. We advise you to. The Court can investigate where he lives or works and get the process going.

  7. The father of my son has never paid maintenance,he is now 8years and i feel he needs to help out.I want to involve lawyers however i don’t want to end up paying ridiculous fees that i dont have.Can i go to the maintenance court,have him served then involve the lawyers after everything is done by the court?He is very arrogant and i do not need that kind of energy,i just want him to pay and the lawyers to be the one dealing with him.

    1. Good day
      Yes, start the process with the maintenance, court and after the first hearing where you and he are present, consider getting a lawyer. If the matter settles, then great. If not, get a lawyer on board. If you require advice on this issue and the way forward, feel free to set up a consultation with us, http://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice or call 0214243487.

  8. in the current maintence he is responsible for school feess , which he is not paying i went to court taht advised that i must pay it and claim , but i cant afford to and he says he cant afford to pay but he received a bonus in decmener plus comission on amonthly basis , what can i do ?

    1. Good day
      Our first step would be to advise you to approach the maintenance court. Seeing that you did that and they said you must pay it and claim, we advise you to also do so.

  9. Good Day,

    I tried to apply for maintenance from my child’s father (he is South African) but the maintenance officer said she cannot help me because my child took citizenship of my native country Lesotho therefore she cannot use a Lesotho birth certificate. She says it has to be a South African one. How true is this? Your assistance will be highly appreciated.

    1. Good day
      Our understanding is that if the mother (guardian) and/or the child lives in the magisterial area of the court, then the court should assist you. We could be wrong.

  10. Good Day

    I have a child with a women whom i once married before, she has to took me to court maintenance after one week the child gave birth without telling me that the child is born. we were already separated for some months ago during that cause. after the court decisions, the court asked me how much am I willing to pay then I said R700 then they said I must give her R800 At least. when we finished outside. I then said to the mother of my child that because this our child and is innocent which does not have affect with our previous issues we had between us, then when ever I have extra-money, or been given an over time at work. ill save the money and buy clothes for JUNE ( Winter clothes) and DECEMBER ( Christmas clothes) but its unfortunately because what was thinking it never happen as expecting overtime at my work place. she then stick to that Ill buy clothes on WINTER AND CHRISTMAS, she then went to COURT that I’m not giving her or buying the child clothes, and the COURT Sent me a letter that I am requested to come on the 06/11/2018 for which what I spoke with her was not on the COURT MAINTENANCE PAYMENT AGREEMENT, Not even Black and White. so how do I deal with this kind of problem because every month paying that amount of R800 With NO due dates.

    1. Good day
      The court would have to make a fair ruling on the matter. A mother has full right to approach the maintenance court, however, the court would only give her what she asks for if it is fair. Our advice to you is to go to the maintenance court and outline your situation and the facts.

  11. Hi, my partner has a 16 year old daughter with his ex. When they got divorced (7 years ago) the order stated as per agreement that neither would pay maintenance to the other. The order stated that they should share all expenses incl school fees, extra mural, medical etc, which is being done. Visitation order states every second weekend and half the school holidays, although my partner has always wanted 50/50, and repeatedly asks for this. His daughter also wants 50/50 visitation, but the mother is refusing, even though the daughter is old enough now to state her preference. The mother is now applying for maintenance, and they are busy with this matter at maintenance court at present. My partner would rather have equal visitation rights and continue paying half of all the other expenses as is being done, than pay maintenance. Question: would it help the maintenance court application if he applied in the meantime to the supreme court to have the visitation changed to 50/50? ie ALL expenses (cost of housing/food/transport etc) would then be equally shared?

    1. Good day
      Maintenance is paid according to one’s means. If care is 50/50, then it would mean that the mother would have to pay less for things like food and accommodation. But it still does not mean she cannot take the father to the maintenance court. This could apply if she earns much less than the father. Therefore, even in contact is 50/50, it does not mean that maintenance payments are 50/50.

  12. Good day

    My brother has a child with a girl he use to date.He went through a patch in life where he was on drugs but during that time she wanted to be with him and even left the child to live with him for a few years being fully aware of the situation.He put the kid in daycare with help from my parents and then she decided to just take him away and move to another province.My brother stopped the drugs and got a job and moved to the same province to be closer to his child however when he was there and providing for thw child she stopped all visitation rights and is now blaming my brother.she then moved again with this child and my brother did the same as he couldn’t be so far from the child and still the mother does not want him to see the child.While my brother was not working we all chipped in to make sure the kid has his basic needs.What can we do in this situation?

    1. Good day

      We advise that your brother approaches the children’s court where the child and mother live for an order affording him structured visitation rights.

  13. Hi, I met the twins father in USA while I lived there, when he found out that I am pregnant, he wanted me to go for an abortion, I don’t believe in abortion, he then told me that I must raise my kids on my own, I came back to SA while being pregnant, gave birth to them in SA and have been caring for them by myself for 2 years, I cannot do it on my own as they need to go to school, how can I get him to pay or help me care for them? Him and his family has blocked me from getting in contact with any of them

    1. Good day
      You should approach the Maintenance Court in your area. South Africa has reciprocal agreements with various countries regarding maintenance. The Court would be able to advise if they have one with the Country of your twins father.

  14. Good day
    I live in Athlone but work in Cape Town. Must I go to Athlone Maintenance Court where I live?

    1. Good day
      According to the law, you may apply at the maintenance court where you reside, or where you work. You may, therefore, proceed to the Cape Town Maintenance Court.

  15. I have a child with my ex girlfriend which she knew I don’t want a child and as I know she was preventing because were just having fun because I m married I think she did it deliberately and she is having other two children which their fathers are not maintaining I m the milking cow for her other children I have a maintenance order and I was paying maintenance for 8 years and she is getting child grant, she is working at Tigerbrands but now I m unemployed she wants now my wife to pay maintenance on my behalf will the will the court grant that. I have 3 children with my wife. please help with advise because next week Friday I have to be in court.

    1. Good day
      The court cannot order your wife to pay. However, the court call looks at her financial circumstances and see what does she pay for in the household to decide what you must pay.

  16. Hi my boyfriend has a child with his ex. He used to work but got retrenched a few months ago and is now looking for another job.I am currently the provider for the house and our month old daughter. The grandmother of his son calls me and sends threats about child support.my boyfriend does odd jobs for people to help while waiting for a permanent job. When he worked we paid every month and now since I’m the only one working we can’t afford too. The grandmother is threathening to have him arrested. They do get a social grant for the child. What can we do about this?

    1. Good day. Unless there is a maintenance order in place, there would not be any basis for him to being arrested. If she is harassing him, he may approach the harassment court in his area.

  17. I’m a soldier, the women I’m having a child with is a police, so every month I by all means make sure I send her R2000.00 in fact on the 15th of every month since I get salary that date. She get her salary month end. But she keeps telling me that I’m not doing enough for the child, always fighting me for money. Isn’t R2000.00 enough for the child since she is getting paid also? And I don’t pay some of debts anymore in order to be able to support my child. My salary is R10 000.00 per month.

    1. Good day
      The amount would be dependant on the income of both parents and the needs of the child. The mother must provide you with an outline of her income and expenses for her and the child and you must do the same. Then you can work out a figure for a fair amount for you to pay.

  18. I applied to lower my child support at the magistrate court as I can’t afford it due to my income being lower. I supplied all the documents with the first date. Every time now her lawyer says they need more time to investigate and moves the court date. I can’t afford paying them what they want and I supplied them with all my income proof and expenses. Now they want to threaten to have me locked up or get a garnishing order. How can they get a garnishing order if the court have not even looked at the my documents. How do I get this resolved and my child support lowered to an amount I can afford

    1. We advise that you speak to the maintenance officer about the situation. Tell them about the threats that her lawyer is making. The court will have to decide the matter based on the facts before it. If you cannot afford, then the court will lower it.

  19. My soon to be ex husband is self employed, how do I prove he receives income, for child maintenance?

  20. My girlfriends son is 14 months old and his father pays only his daycare fees, now that my girlfriend has gone to the fathers lawyer to draw some sort of an agreement regarding fees the father needs to help with the fathers fiance keeps sending my girlfriend messages saying that they were never married so the father is no responsible for anything and that my girlfriend keeps bothering the father with sh@t when she contacts him regarding the child. The father has also on more than one occasion threatened that he will take the child away and that he will not pay anything for the child. What can be done in a case like this?

  21. my daughter has left school she is 18 she is not working ? and has gone overseas for 3 months .when do i stop paying maintenance .
    and do i have to go back to court to stop the maintenance?

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