Grandparents may be ordered to pay child support if the father refuses or cannot afford to do so.
“DID YOU KNOW: Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf was the advocate who won a ground-breaking case for his client? Because of this case, it is now possible to claim maintenance from paternal grandparents of children born out of wedlock?. This was not possible for over 80 years. The relevant case is Petersen v Maintenance Officer Simon’s Town Maintenance Court and Others 2004 2 SA 56 (C) 381 .”
Grandparents, parents and children – A child cannot choose his or her parents and grandparent. Moreover, every child would want to have parents who would try their best to maintain and support them until they are self-supporting. However, the reality is that that is not always the case. It often happens that parents renege on their duty to actively support their children.
Grandparent supporting their grandchild
Furthermore, grandparents would also want their children to support their children, as they did. The reality is, that often times, grandparents have to step in. They have to support their grandchild due to their child not being able to, or unwilling to do so. Of course, there are legitimate cases where the parents cannot afford to care for their children. In such a case, the grandparents may be more than happy to assist. This post does not deal with the latter scenario.
What does the law say on grandparents’ duty of support?
In short, if a parent cannot adequately maintain a child, the law can force grandparents to assist. This includes both paternal and maternal grandparents. A parent may also claim support from their child. However, this article does not deal with that scenario.
What to do if the father of the child cannot afford to pay child support?
You cannot claim child support from grandparents at the Maintenance Court as the first step. This is so even if they are extremely wealthy. An enquiry first needs to be instituted against the father of the child concerned. You are welcome to ask the grandparents though for support. Therefore, you need to make an application to the Maintenance Court for child support from the father first.
If it is determined, that that father cannot afford to pay child support, then they climb a level up. In this case, to the grandparents. The Maintenance Court would then decide whether or not to institute an enquiry against the grandparents. If it is decided that there is a need and the grandparent can afford it, then a maintenance order would be made against the grandparents.
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