Child Maintenance Question. How much should I pay or contribute as a parent?

Child Maintenance Questions and Answers

Child Maintenance and Support

https://www.ourlawyer.co.za/wp-content/uploads/Our-Lawyer-Consultation.gifEvery Child is entitled to have adequate child maintenance from his parents. This includes the provision of food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare. These provisions are to be provided by both his or her mother and father. If one parent cannot afford any support, then other the parent would be responsible for the time being. However, support can still be claimed from the child’s maternal and paternal grandparents. What follows are some answers to a few questions on child maintenance.

How much is the basic rate or amount of child maintenance?

There is no basic rate for child maintenance. The amount depends on various factors, which includes the needs of the child, the income of the parents, as well as their personal expenses. There are many other factors as well. The law expects parents to contribute based on their means. Therefore, in principle, but not easily applied in practice, if a mother earns double of that the father, and has the same monthly expenses, she would pay double in child support. What is best is for parents to sit down and work out what is fair.

What is covered by child maintenance?

A vast amount of provisions is included in the concept of child support. These are not only necessities, it can be luxuries as well. This all depends on the standard of living of the parents, and what the child was accustomed to. This would even more apply if the parents were married to each other, had the child, and then separated. The law would want the child to continue with the standard of living he or she had before the separation, or divorce.

How do you determine the amount of child support?

Determining the amount to pay for child support is not an easy one. If things were simple, both parties would earn the same and have the same expenses. However, this is seldom the case. Furthermore, one should also look at the means of the parents, assets and liabilities. Therefore, if a parent does not earn much, but own an expensive piece of real estate, that would be taken into account when determining the amount, he or she should contribute. Once all the figures are on the table, a fair amount should be allocated.

When do I stop paying maintenance?

Child maintenance should be paid until the child is self-supporting or sufficient. Although the child becomes an adult at the age of eighteen, many at time, the child is still at school, studying, or trying to find a job. He or she may still claim maintenance from his or her parents. However, once the child becomes self-supporting, maintenance should stop. if there is a child maintenance order in place, such order should be set aside should the child be self-supporting.

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49 thoughts on “Child Maintenance Question. How much should I pay or contribute as a parent?

  1. hi my exwife has sent me a maintence court oder however on the the form she is requesting R5817 A MONTH for maintence from me however i am unemployed i am self employed i make around R2500 A MONTH i have no assests CAN the court still order me to pay more then i earn


  2. To Whom It May Concern.
    I need some clarity and guidance if possible. I am a father of 2 teenagers, 17 & 14. I have been Taken to court to pay maintenance, eventually got a mandate to have maintenance increased yearly with CPI (Cost of Living Rates). And on top of that I try my best to pay extra and help with school stuff and other costs. My own living expenses are less than the mothers and yet I am being told that I don’t pay enough.

    1) No evidence apart from the once in a blue moon SMS speculations of cost are being send to me, stating rough figures of cost. Am I entitled to see a full cost break down, and with proof? Do I have a say as to what gets spend on the kids and what not? or did I loose that right when we got divorced. DO I need to keep quite an pay?

    2) As for additional cost that are not arranged and agreed to before hand? What are my rights on that?

    3) I am paying R7730 for both of them with an addition R800 to 1500 extra depending the needs of that month. Is this too little??

    3) Maintenance shall remain until self sufficient, but what stops the child from not wanting to become independent? Surly some how there must be a line to be drawn as maintenance can not keep going one forever.

    4) Studying after high school. If there is no money from either Mother or Father side in order to afford university, Why force the father to pay something that is not possible??

    They law states… well from what I read. Is that father’s also have rights, and I am not talking about fathers running away from there responsibility but to those who stick with there children and still get beaten up and tangling on the back end, so why does it feel that we are getting screwed. I barely see my kids (Either choice of the Mother or them), I only get called for money, and always get told I am useless.

    Where is my rights?

  3. Ey I would like to ask a question, I’m a father of 5 kids I don’t work, but I have property business which pays up to 5000 p/m. 4 of my kids are at school and I can’t support em, I only support them with my property business. Can my wife go to court for maintainance

  4. If a child has a full bursary, with accommodation, do i have to still pay Maintenace for that child even when they don’t live with the other parent, and is over the age of 18? Also what if i would like to apply for joint custody of the one minor child, is that even something the courts will consider?

  5. Hi I’m the mother of 18 years old son who the father only give 1000 without paying school fees even not to buy any clothes not giving anything except 1000 can I go to maintenance court I’m paying school fees paying double transport for my son and buying food also paying medical aid

  6. Hi am 26 years old would like to go back to school my mother does not work my father works but has never help us out can I take him to maintenance court for him to pay my school fees

  7. My daughter and I are in a maintence battle because she is 21yr’s old and studying, I am paying my maintenance every month into her account plus I pay for medical. She has given birth on 12/11/2019 by using my medical aid. This is what I know of her nothing, no address phone number don’t even know if she is still studying. Now this is what I would like to know, why does my medical aid have to pay for everything, where is the mother and boyfriend contribution to this medical bill, If she stays with the boyfriend does that make her self supportive, does the mother contribute to her daughters life style.

    1. Good day. Such an order will not cease to exist when a child becomes self-supporting and will need to be set aside by way of an application. A parent is required to prove that the setting aside of the maintenance order is warranted.

  8. Hi, as the father and willing to pay half of all costs for the children, the kids spend alternate weekends with me, they eat alternate days with me. Is it necessary for us to go to mediation because my exwife want me to pay R20K per month for maintenance?
    my wife earns R75K per month and I earn R52K per month.
    Will my wife be expected to pay more than me?
    My bonded house and my living expenses is being serviced by me with difficulty and I have quite a bit of equity in the house. In the divorce settlement, my exwife opted to take cash and the divorce was finally settled in the Johannesburg High Court by means of a Settlement agreement which was made an order of the court. the settlement agreement was prepared by my Exwifes attorney.

    1. Good day

      Mediation is always advised as a route to avoid unnecessary litigation. If there is a court order that states you must go, then you must. If not, then we advise it.

  9. Hello, My ex husband has tailor made our divorce agreement to suit his needs. He has given me one increase since 2014 and does not adhere to the other stipulations in the divorce agreement, paying for half of clothes, sport, medical etc. I took him to maintenance court and after 6 appearances, he walked out. He was gainfully employed until Sept 2018 where he spent R600 000 to start his own business. He pays school fees, maintenance and medical aid, which he stopped for 11 months and only after the summons, quickly put him back on. My son does not want to see his Dad as my son does not feel safe there and he bad mouths me, so I now have him full time. He claims I don’t consult him on what needs to be paid extra. I have WhatsApp proof I have tried and he does not engage, frequently blocking me and hurling verbal abuse.. So here I am, no help from the court, cannot afford a lawyer and he owes me back pay and now pleads poverty. Please let me know what to do.

  10. Hey.
    I’m pregnant and just lost my partner recently, I’m unemployed and he was employed. How do I go about getting maintenance for the child when its born. Do I even get anything from his benefits from work?bb

    1. Good day
      Your child should inherit from his estate. Find out from his work if he had any policies etc. Also, you can claim from his parents.

  11. Hi I have son 8 turning ,9 in December her father his not supporting his he support after 4 when I asked him this right I need help pls but I don’t have I’d number

    1. Good day

      You may still apply for maintenance without the ID number. The maintenance court has maintenance investigators that can assist.

  12. I work alot of overtime to make ends meet,can a social worker lay claim on my overtime for maintenance? Also,my ex is married,shouldnt her husband’s income also be taken into consideration?

  13. Hi, my child is 4months old n the father hasn’t contributed even a cent and his permanently working
    He tells me that his still busy sorting out his life. So meaning I must support the child alone

    1. Good day
      He has a legal obligation to pay child support. We strongly advise that you take him to the Maintenance Court in the area where you reside or work.

  14. Good Evening I’ve A Daughter Who stays full time with my aunt,the biological father is not paying reasonable child support so my question is can I the mother take him to court or my aunt as she’s my daughter’s full time care-giver?

    1. Good day

      You should take him to the Maintenance Court. We presume you are paying the aunty, or she wants payment for her services and expenses in reltation to the child.

  15. Hi i’m a mother of two girls i separate with the father because he was making kids every way he goes
    and he refused to support the kids i took him to maintainace court he only pays 1500 once on august then nothing from there i went to court again for gunish on October they promised me to get the money on 7th December but was nothing until i went back to court again on 28 January they told me to start everything afresh again i want to know is it possible please help as i’m stressed now my kids cant even go to school as they owe the

  16. i am 35 years old gave birth to a baby boy who was born with stomach problems and he had to be operated.It was hard for me as i was unemployed.Now his father is a Chiefwip of other municipality but maintain the child with R1000 and the boy goes to check every month and he is in school .Tell me what to do

  17. Good day

    I am a 34 years old lady and I stay with my partner and two children (11 months and 13 yrs old). My partner only contributes 50% of the bond and buys groceries. I also pay 50% of the bond and all expenses for the children are covered by me since he claims that his salary is less compared to mine and he expects me to understand that he does not have money. Can the court assist because I am spending more than he does?

    1. Good day
      Yes, the court and look into the matter and determine what is a fair and reasonable amount for him to pay. We advise that you approach the maintenance court in your area.

  18. can grandparent apply for maintainance order on behalf of the mother against the father, as they are the one maintaining the child. the mother is major still studying full time.

  19. Good day i am grandmother of a 11 month baby boy. the mother, my daughter is a full time university student and her studies are funded by government,she is unemployed with no income. the father of my grandson is permanently employed and has acknowledged the child as his and has only bought clothes last December 2017. this year 2018 he has not contributed and has been giving my daughter empty promising about buying food,diapers and staff for the baby but nothings so far. since birth of my grandson i have been maintaining to date. i approached the maintenance court for order of maintenance, will my case be considered as grandmother?

    1. The person who should apply is the mother. However, if you can convince the court that there is no way the mother can do it, and it would be in the child’s best interests, they may allow it.

  20. HI

    I would love to know what to do as i have tried many times to contact the parent of my child with no success now she has called the police on me for maintenance and i am willing to support the child i do not want to go to court .what can i do

    1. Good day
      If there is no maintenance order in place, she cannot lay a criminal complaint. However, if she does not agree with what you have to offer, then she has a right to approach the maintenance court. The court would decide what is a fair amount.

  21. Dear Sir
    I have been in a High Court Case where my ex wife claims to take my pension which was not part of the settlement agreement. There was a dispute regarding the payment of schoolfees which she signed on my behalf and claim it back again. I pay my maintenance every month but cant afford all the expenses towards my child in the settlement agreement. I am married again and has also obligation towards her and her child, but was willing to contribute by terms of in my means. She also receives a good salary, but is not willing to contribute and claims the outstanding balance from my pension and want to ruin me by claiming my whole pension as security. I am working overseas now and there is a high court case in process against my pension.She received the house and I my pension which I needed for my child later and for my retirement. The money must go into a preservation funds until I reach 60 .When the all the money is given to them now there will be no growth and the tax pa will take the rest which will not benefit my chlid at all. She also claims all her legal costs back. I had made several settlements, but they refuse all of them. Also a round table was not been permitted and she is not willing to show her income and come to an agreenment. I am in a spot of bother and need urgent advice and help please.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Good day
      There is no kwick fix that can be given in a few words in this Q and A. It would be best to appoint an attorney to oppose the application on the grounds he thinks is best. The court ultimately decides what is just and equatable.

  22. Dear Sir, I am a single mother with an 18 mth old daughter. I left her father because it was a very abusive relationship. He has now summonsed me for parental access. On the first supervised visit he has verbally threatened me and my family and told me this is inly the start of what is to come. He says he has blocked my passport and made numerous other threats. Can I lay charges against him and get a protection order as I am terrified of this man and I cannot believe that I am now going to be subjected to this three times a week!
    Thank you.

  23. Good day. I hope you’re in good health. I’d like to know in a divorce scenario… My baby stays with me, he is 7 months old. Is his father allowed to to fetch him without my supervision or should the baby be visited at my place of residence under my supervision as I am the primary caregiver? Please assist me by informing me my rights regarding the visitation and by what suitable age is baby allowed to be with his father without me. Thank you

  24. Good day,

    I have been supporting a family for the last seven years. The parents divorced in 2011. The father lost the family home in a business deal. A consent form was issued where the father was supposed to provide accommodation, clothing, food, education, etc for the four children as well as having them over alternate weekends. He subsequently remarried within 9 months of their divorce and has since fathered another child in this new union. He does not pay maintenance, as he claims not to have an income and lives with his parents. During the first years he would visit the children for about an hour, once every three to four months. The monies he pays is insignificant, to the tune of R300-R500 once every 3 or 4 months. The youngest son has not been in school for the last 6 years. (He has ADHD and should be in a special school) He has claimed that he has not had an income for the last 7 – 8 years. Last year he only saw them once. The mother and children live in my home and it has become a heavy financial burden for me. What action can be taken?

  25. Hi.

    I would like to inquire about the process to voluntarily institute maintenance proceedings as the father of my child. I have been paying maintenance but need to build a case so i can get access to my daughter.


    1. Good day

      People approach the maintenance court to get an order against the other parent to contribute. If you are currently contributing, there would no sense to get an order in that regard.

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