Grandparents may be ordered to pay child support for their grandchildren

Grandparents Ordered to pay child maintenance

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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20 thoughts on “Grandparents may be ordered to pay child support for their grandchildren

  1. Hi there .I gave my ex husband on for maintenance 2019 and he hasn’t paid a cent ever since.He doesn’t work.I see both my sons daily needs and financially provide
    for them all the years by myself.I really can’t cope at all .Can I sue maintance from the Grandmother as they won’t even assist me physically not financially.I really can’t keep my head above water …please assist me the right way forward into getting the Grandmother to pay maintenance seeing that her son is unable to do so.

  2. Good Day,

    I have a maintenance order in place. but the father has fallen 15k in arrears. he has now gotten into an altercation at work and seems they have dismissed him. he also had his 5th child a few days ago. if he can afford to bring more children in the world he can maintain mine. i want to take his parents to court as i am tried of struggling with him.

  3. Good day , As a grandparent , it looks like I might be sued for support. I have been supporting the family for 5 years ,and cannot do it anymore., do to my own financial restraint. I alm also not living in South Africa anymore, how would this affect me ?

  4. If parents are divorced and the one parent cannot contribute financially will maternal and paternal grandparents be responsible to contribute to child support or only the grandparents on the defaulting parent’s side

  5. Afternoon the father have 6 kids by 2 women .His mother only helps support 3 kids by the 1 lady and don’t give the other 3 kids nothing and she supports the mom of the kids and her son who’s not working

  6. Hi.Can the court make pensoiners who gets a government oldage grant to pay child support if they son is not working.With a mere R2000 government grant

  7. in case where a girl claims to have been raped , can she claim for maintenance , the deciceds to drop the case , wat happens if all the girl does is lies as she has mant relationships, cant say who the father i

  8. Maintenance is 15 years in arrear may I sue the grandparents for maintenance in arrears

  9. Good day, I have unpaid maintenance arrears dating back to 2020 as well as older arrear amounts which my child’s father has not paid. He has now been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I need to approach his parents. Can I approach them legally for arrear maintenance as well as maintenance going forward?
    Thank you

  10. Gooddat if dad supports nd mother wants more money can she claim maimtence from grandparents as dad is renting by his mom .Apparently clerk told him not to pay his rent as that money must also go to child dad gives 2660 amonth already .His unable to afford a 10 %increase every year.

  11. Good day i just want to know my dauther got pregnant and i put them on my medical aid the baby 8s 4 mnth old the father is still at schoop gr12 and is 19 years old he stayed with us more then a year now when i ask for hes parents to also help them with the grandchild he moved back to hes dad and he cant pay for hes child he is still in school i asked the grandparends for more then onece to help with milk and nappies but refused iam just looking out for my grand dauther and my child she is still 17 and she and the baby is staying with us and is on my medical aid aswell but from the boy side we do not get any help or suport from them what can i do

  12. Hi good day my name Is mishka and am a single mom my daughter is now just over 12 month I never got support from the father of my daughter now I want to ask is it possible that I can take the father parents for maintenance I’ve been to maintains court with him but nothing comes to help me with my case he never comes to court never work then he lives there and then he lives here so there is no address from him but he’s parents are wealthy people please advise

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