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Child Support or maintenance claims. Does an unemployed father pay?

ByOur Lawyer

Child Support or maintenance claims. Does an unemployed father pay?

How much child support should you claim or pay?

Advocate of the High Court South Africa Family Law Advocate

Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf – Advocate of the High Court of South Africa

It is not only mothers who want to know how much maintenance they should claim. Fathers are very much interested in wanting to know how much they should pay. It is my view that there is nothing wrong with a father wanting to know whether or not he is paying too much maintenance. This is so as it is both parent’s responsibilities to maintain a child according to their means. However, what I do have the issue with is when fathers try to avoid their maintenance obligations. Even if you are unemployed, you can still pay maintenance depending on your means. And then you have mothers who want to exploit the fathers. The same applies when the roles are reversed. This is when the father is the primary caregiver and the mother pays him child support. – Adv. Muhammad Abduroaf LL.B LL.M – Advocate of the High Court of South Africa.

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Common child maintenance questions

  • How much child support should I claim for my child?
  • How much child support should I pay for my children?
  • The father of my child is unemployed, should I still claim child support?

These are two questions which are posed to me regularly. But what is the answer? What follows are certain factors I use to determine the amount of child support my clients should claim or pay when dealing with a child support matter.

Factors to consider regarding child support amounts

There are many factors to consider when it comes to figures in child support matters. Some are common to most people. However, depending on the situation, they won’t be the same for everyone. Remember, the explanation below is provided for information purposes only. The formula I follow is as follows:

  1. What are the reasonable monthly needs of the child? If you can place an amount to it, do so.
  2. The monthly income and expenses of both parents. The assets of the parents should also be considered should they not have an income or be unemployed.
  3. What can each parent reasonably contribute towards the monthly expenses of the child?


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Reasonable needs of a child – Basic Maintenance Question

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceThe reasonable needs of a child include food, clothing, accommodation, medical expenses and so on. Depending on the standard of living of the parents, or what the child is accustomed to, as seen later, it could include extramural expenses, the upkeep of a pony, and piano lessons.

Once you determined what the child’s needs are, and what the parents can afford, you can determine what each parent should contribute. This amount should factor in once off yearly expenses. For example, school fees, TV and Car licenses and membership fees and so on. Let me explain this by way of example.

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Income and expenses of child and parents

  • Child’s expense: R 1 000 – 00.
  • Custodian Parent’s income: R 10 000 – 00.
  • Custodian Parent’s monthly expenses: R 5 000 – 00.
  • Paying parent’s income: R 20 000 – 00.
  • Paying parent’s monthly expenses: R 10 000 – 00.

Considering the above example, the paying parent earns double that of the custodian parent. And his or her monthly expenses are proportionately the same as that of the has parent. Therefore, if all else being equal, his or her contribution should be double of that of the custodian parent. If the paying parent becomes unemployed, his maintenance obligations does nott come to an end. He may have other means. If he has a flashy car, he needs to downgrade and use some of that money for maintenance.

Final child maintenance amount:

The Paying parent would pay two thirds of the child’s expenses which equates to R 666 – 00 per month. And the custodian parent would thus cover the balance of R 334 – 00 per month. The R 666 – 00 would be less should he pay any of the minor child’s expenses directly. For example, medical aid or school fees.

The challenge regarding child maintenance amounts

The golden rule in all matters regarding children is that their best interest be upheld. However, in child maintenance matters it is not as easy as saying that the child needs to have the best of clothes, education, and food available. By taking this view, it would be as saying that during the parents’ marriage, or while the parents lived together, the child went to the best school in the area, wore the best of clothes and ate the best of food. This is so, notwithstanding the parents earning a far below average income. Such a legal approach would be nonsensical. Another challenge is when the paying parent is self-employed or unemployed. In the case of self-employed parents, their income varies. However, what we look at is the average they earn each month. For an unemployed parent, as stated, we look at their means.

Factors the Court considers in Child Maintenance Matters

Each child maintenance case is determined on its own merits by weighing various factors. There are certain overlapping factors. The factors to consider are:

  • The reasonable needs of the minor child;
  • The reasonable expenses of the parents;
  • The standard of living the child was accustomed to while the parties were married or living together (if applicable);
  • The earning capacity of the parents; and
  • The assets of the parents.

Therefore, it does not mean every 5-year-old child will require a child maintenance contribution of R 500 00 (five hundred rands). A contribution of R 500 – 00 for a specific 5-year-old child might be reasonable or even too high, depending on the circumstances. Let me provide you with two scenarios:

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Scenario A – Child Maintenance

A 5-year-old child’s parents each earns R 500 – 00 per month. They were bringing up the child perfectly under the circumstances with their modest standard of living which is the norm in the area they live in. Furthermore, this is the same standard the parents were accustomed to when they were raised by their parents. If they are to estimate the costs of the child, it would be about R 200 – 00 per month which goes to food, shelter, clothes etc.

Should the parents separate or divorce, and, let’s say in this case, the mother claims maintenance from the father for child support, she would not have a case for more than R 150 – 00 per month. You might wonder why I don’t say R 100 – 00 per month seeing that the parents earned the same salary? The mother in this scenario had to find alternative accommodation, and therefore the child would require more maintenance (it could even be less).

Scenario B – Child Maintenance

Let’s say the parents of a 5-year-old child each earns R 50 000 – 00 per month. The child has an au pair, own room, policies in his or her favour, expensive clothes, medical aid, expensive creams, attends ballet and violin classes etc. The monthly costs of this child are about R 25 000 – 00 per month. Should the parents separate, a claim for maintenance could easily be in the region of R 15 000 – 00. R 14 850 – 00 more than the 5-year-old child in the previous scenario above. The amount to pay therefore all depends on the facts, circumstances etc.

To make things more complicated, if the mother in this scenario have assets worth millions and the father only owns a car of R 100 000 – 00, his contribution could be far less than R 15 000 – 00, even if they have the same monthly salary. It is even possible that his contribution could be R 150 – 00 (and not R 15 000 – 00) as in the case of scenario A above. All these factors have to be discussed with your maintenance lawyer or advocate.

I hope this gave you a feel for how child support or child maintenance is calculated. Therefore, in answering the questions posed above, i.e. How much child support should you claim for your child, and how much child maintenance should you pay; the answer is, it depends on the facts.

Want to know more about Rule 43 Applications in the High Court and Rule 58 Applications in the Magistrates’ Court? Click here.

Other maintenance calculation views

You or your attorney or advocate might have one view on what the amount should be, however the other parent or the maintenance court might have a totally different view. I therefore strongly advise that you first consult with a maintenance lawyer or advocate, or the maintenance court before submitting your amount to the court. In complicated cases, an advocate may be approached by your attorney for an opinion.

Sharing is Caring

This and other articles and posts found on this website are written by Adv. Muhammad Abduroaf to assist people with various family law related issues they may have. If you find any of our articles and posts interesting, or possibly useful to others, please link and share it on Social media.advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorce

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168 comments so far

LindaPosted on5:00 pm - Nov 9, 2017

I am asking for a friend. He is unemployed what proof can one provide to verify that…..also what proof does one provide to say they are job searching. He has nothing that can be sold and paid toward maintenance. When he does work he pays part toward it. Can the designated amount be somehow reduced, if so what procedure does one follow

    Our LawyerPosted on9:12 am - Nov 12, 2017

    The Maintenance Courts provide job forms. When you apply for a job, you should ask the business to sign the form to show you are making an effort. The court can reduce the amount if you can show you are trying to get a job, and cannot afford the current maintenance amount.

MikePosted on11:04 am - Nov 22, 2017

Hi there , if i am employed and my ex girlfriend is not but she is still studying and staying with her parents and lets say my salary is under R7 000 a month ….. I would like to know how much maintenance am i liable for? And am i liable for experience like a aupair for when she goes to study ?

Thank you

zamaPosted on6:15 am - Dec 20, 2017

Hi I have a problem I have a 2year old child his dad is not working but have property and I don’t have his address wat can I do

    Our LawyerPosted on10:41 am - Dec 20, 2017

    Good day

    Approach the maintenance court in your area for assistance. They would be able to trace him. The Court can also order that the property be sold and be used as Maintenance.

MabaPosted on5:20 pm - Jan 12, 2018

Please can you advise what procedure to follow when the father is self employed and does not show up for court dates and they cannot find him to arrest him. Is there a way to freeze his accounts, or what can one claim for child support?

PhetPosted on9:06 am - Jan 17, 2018

My friend is paying maintenance, but the mother doesn’t allow him to see the child.. And the mother asked fir increase

DeshiriePosted on2:29 pm - Jan 24, 2018

Is it right that only the baby’s grandparents from the fathers side is providing for him. The mother and father is not working and the baby lives with his mother. The child’s mother is also living with her parents.

PreciousPosted on8:29 pm - Jan 26, 2018

Good evening

I have a question. My brother was taken to the maintenance court my his ex girl tgat is unemployed even though my brother was taking care of his child. He waspaying for the child school, buying him clothes Biannually and the child was on his medical aid. His unemployed girlfriend demanded that the give her the money for all the child’s expenses excluding medical aid. She listed a high amount for the child monthly expenses on purpose and the court granted her wish. Now they submitted a court order to my brothers workplace and he has to pay to forcefully pay that amount yet he was already taking care of his child

Precious mPosted on8:41 pm - Jan 26, 2018

What are the fathers rights when it comes to maintenance? Is it not both the parents responsibility to take care of the child? And is it right for the unemployed mother to seek child maintenance from the father meanwhile the father is taking care of the child in every way possible?

Please advise

GeorgePosted on2:07 pm - Jan 30, 2018

Hi There, If you have two children, with two different mothers, and one mother is asking a reasonable share of living expenses, and the other is asking for three times that amount, how will the court handle the matter?
mother 1 claims R5000 maintenance including school fees and the other claims over R12 000 excluding school fees, which are R 6000 monthly as she has elected a very expensive private school while the other child attends a public school.
she is claiming for wifi costs and tablet contract fees as well as dstv. the children are still very young and only a year apart in age. we are in a large amount of debt which we accumulated during our marriage and her maintenance amount causes me to default on my debt payments. she is living a lifestyle far beyond either of our means and putting us further into debt every month. what can i do?

BigbossPosted on10:25 am - Jan 31, 2018

If you have 4 years left of paying child support. Is it possible to pay child support upfront.

    Our LawyerPosted on7:36 pm - Feb 8, 2018

    It may be impossible to determine what the expenses of a child would be in the future. Even if you pay a lump sum today, it may happen that the child needs more a year down the line.

Ncamisile MtshaliPosted on9:39 am - Feb 9, 2018

Is it true that if the father is unemployed and cannot pay maintenance, the court can look at the income of other members of the household and take money from those members to maintain the house? if that is the case where in law is that provided for?

    Our LawyerPosted on12:03 pm - Feb 9, 2018

    The obligation to maintenance a child is with the father and not with third parties. Therefore, I we cannot see why the court would make an order against them.

FikilePosted on2:25 pm - Feb 21, 2018

The father of my childis unemployed but has invested in a business. He claimed not to have an income depending on his wife. The wife is also unemployed. They are living in the suburb. How can i trace his bank accounts to proof that he has an income.

    Our LawyerPosted on8:21 pm - Feb 21, 2018

    Assets are seen as means for the purposes of child support. We advise that you approach the maintenance court in your area as soon as possible and lay a complaint. It is possible for the maintenance court to subpoena banks to provide statements.

TumiPosted on4:24 pm - Feb 22, 2018

Is there a court order that can force the father of the children to be part of the children’s lives such as taking the kids during school holidays and/or weekends, even if he does not pay maintenance as he is unemployed and is not even looking for a job cause his family told him not to look for a job.

Elridge MullerPosted on1:05 pm - Feb 23, 2018

My daughter turned 18. Her mother does not make any financial contribution at all. She does not pay maintenance does not buy clothes, toileteries give her pocket money, provide food, shelter, take care of her health, nothing whatsoever. I have raised her by myself and gave up trying to compelled her to pay towards raising our daughter. Can my daughter claim maintenance from the mother who owns a business? When my daughter asks the mother for money she yells at her and tells her not to put her under pressure yet claims to love her. She claims her husband is her responsibility however he also owns a business. My daughter is first year student at CPUT and studies architectural technology and requires much in terms of stationery and will live at student residence because it saves me time and travel to take her to campus on a daily basis that takes 1,5- 2 hrs on the N2 on cape town. She will have to fend for herself because it is self catering. What recourse is there in terms of a delinquent mother who fails in her basic responsibilities.

    Our LawyerPosted on2:16 pm - Feb 27, 2018

    As your daughter is an adult, she would have to approach the maintenance court herself. You can of course be there to assist and guide her.

MaphutiPosted on10:30 am - Feb 26, 2018

The father of my child is not working but he invested in property that is in his father’s name and he doesn’t want to support his child claiming that he doesn’t get any income

NoluthandoPosted on6:57 am - Feb 27, 2018

Hi father said he lost his job,is it the mother or father to report at court

DavidPosted on10:14 am - Feb 28, 2018

Can the court order my property to be sold for maintenance while i have other kids who live in that house and while my ex is working?

B. AckermannPosted on3:02 pm - Mar 20, 2018

I am writing on behalf of my daughter. What amount of maintenance can she claim for herself (was a housewife for R13 years and her daughter of 14 years. They lived a middle class lifestyle. My daughter is not sure as her husband who has yet to divorce her held the purse strings, and only gave her money as she needed it.

    Our LawyerPosted on6:27 pm - Mar 26, 2018

    As we do not know what the income of the husband is and the expenses of all concerned, we suggest to claim an amount that would care for your needs as in the past.

MachellePosted on8:14 am - Mar 26, 2018

I have a 14 year old son. His dad stopped paying maintenance of R200 in 2008. I have naturally allowed him access to his son for all the years but throughout his Dad has been full of excuses for not being employed for this past 10 years. He is in the Christian ministry and does not have a secure or consistent income. Do i have any rights to claim the arrears or maintenance in general for my son who is not in High School and who’s financial needs have increased significantly. Baring in mind that I have been the sole provider and was recently unemployed. The father never report to the maintenance back then that he lost his job…

kgotsoPosted on10:48 pm - Mar 26, 2018


I have a 5 year son and need to know how much I can pay for him for maintenance if her mother takes me to court and I am a contractor @ my work even now my contract is ending this month so I don’t know if they will renew it or what but for this years I was trying my best to contribute and I have another 3 kids besides him and I have no complains because they understand if I have enough I do my best but because of our past with the mother of my 5 year son things are not good

JackeyPosted on10:00 am - Apr 3, 2018

I am paying R1500 sometimes R1000 as child maintenance without any court ruling for my two sons.
My girlfriend needs to exceed the amount to R2000 per month, does that falls under not paying child maintenance?

    Our LawyerPosted on6:10 pm - Apr 3, 2018

    You should pay what is fair considering the income of the mother, yours and the expenses of the children and the parents. If you are paying too little considering the income and expenses of all concerned, then there is a case for the mother to go to court.

UnknownPosted on8:15 am - Apr 5, 2018

How much do I have to pay for my child maintenance when im getting R1800 pm and her mother gets R13 000 pm?

    Our LawyerPosted on8:52 am - Apr 5, 2018

    We would require the costs of the child for a better guess. Based on what you provided only, your contribution should be less. There are however many more factors to consider.

MASEGOPosted on2:23 pm - Apr 5, 2018


MariPosted on1:04 pm - Apr 20, 2018

Good day I have a 14 year old daughter and me and her farther separated when she was 5 years old. He got married he always gave he’s child everything she was never short of anything up utility he got married . He’s now only pay g schoolfees of 2200 and not giving anything else towards her I’m not working. What can be done here please

AnonymousPosted on2:03 pm - Apr 24, 2018

I have been paying maintenance of R18,000.00 per month for my two children as per divorce settlement and order of court dated 1 January 2016. In September 2017 I became unemployed, and have not been able to find employment as yet. My ex-wife agreed verbally in September 2017 to waive the monthly maintenance, until such time as I became employed. She is the trustee of a family trust that receives substantial dividends from an investment every year, so she has been maintaining the children from these proceeds and has made no demand on me to date to pay any maintenance. An attorney friend suggested that I should still approach the maintenance court and have the maintenance order discharged, as there is a risk she may turn around later and claim retrospectively the monthly maintenance in arrears. What would be your advice?

AnonymousPosted on11:02 am - May 2, 2018

I have been paying maintenance for my two children from a previous marriage. I am currently under debit review so my finances are very tight until the end of my debit review. I am now in a long term relationship and my partner and we have a child together, she recently lost her job so now i am the sole breadwinner in the house as i have to cover the costs of the finances she was assisting (food, petrol, schools fees) with i find i am not able to cover the additional expenses and my maintenance what can i do ???

    Our LawyerPosted on7:20 pm - May 4, 2018

    We advise you approach the maintenance court an apply for a variation of the order. If there are valid grounds, the court would grant it.

SonsPosted on12:03 pm - May 2, 2018

Hi , if your kid of 16 drop out of school ..are you still liable to pay maintenance ?

AnonymousPosted on2:54 pm - May 8, 2018


I just wanted to know what happens if you and the father of your child isn’t on speaking terms and the father gets paid way more then you do, how much according to maintenance court should he be giving towards the child since we were never married just in a relationship.

Bronwyn NormanPosted on3:38 pm - May 8, 2018

It has been advised my a Physiologist that my two children spend more time with their dad, therefore the now spend every second week with him, meaning we now have them half the month each.
He is now wanting to reduce my maintenance, which he pays is for school fees and he pays their medical aid.
I cannot afford to let that happen, I rent a house, he owns a house which he hardly stays at as he stays more at his fiancee house, I have a car to pay for, her has a company car, plus earns at least R8000.00 more than I do. He unfortunately does not see that he should be paying more towards maintenance than me, he believes everything is strictly 50/50, even if he pays the kids something like a swimming cap for school, he will send me the slip so I can pay half back to him.
At the end of every year, he tells me what he will be increasing the maintenance by, I have no say in the matter. He will take the annual school fees add them altogether and divide by the 12 months, and pays me according, he does not understand that the school fees need to be paid over 11 months and extra classes over ten months, therefore I have to pay in the short fall every month, to pay the correct monthly fees, which are in fact due.
Will he gets this reduction right at court?
Thank you for your time.

    Our LawyerPosted on3:00 pm - May 14, 2018

    It is impossible for us to predict what the court would decide. We advise that the issue gets resolved at the maintenance court. They would look at all the expense and income and make an assessment.

AcePosted on12:57 pm - May 11, 2018

What if the child is 25 years and not working?

SiphePosted on2:54 pm - May 15, 2018

Good day

I would like to know can a person who is working under contract or who is not permanent pay maintenance?

FuzzyPosted on11:30 am - May 17, 2018

Good day,

Please advise, my brother is unemployed and does odd mechanical jobs to make quick cash. he currently has 2 kids 4 yrs and 6 months old. the mother is not working and states she cannot do so due to the kids.
the mother of the kids filed for maintenance and they served him an order to pay maintenance for both kids including rental for her place shes staying. My brother is a chronic patient diabetes and high blood pressure and due to the stress of not being able to afford the payment required he had a heart attack and doctor advised him to stop working he cannot do mechanical jobs due to his heart condition. what does he do now that he cannot work anymore and the mother is medically fit and refuses to work?

Concerned MotherPosted on11:51 am - May 23, 2018

Good day sir

My childs father did not pay his child support for the month of May and want to pay after June. What can I do in this situation cause my child need the money

Tsatsi MathebulaPosted on8:18 am - May 25, 2018

Good day

what is your baby daddy has never payed child maintenance and the child is now nine and you decide to take him to the maintenance court can you also claim for all the years he didn’t maintain the child?

JayPosted on10:38 am - May 25, 2018

I have a 2 year old son. My ex wife and i are no longer married and she now resides with her mother, sister, and brother. So altogether there are 5 members including my son. I have been paying my maintenance for my son every month for 6 months. My wife’s family’s living conditions are poor. Now my wifes mother has informed me that her rent has increased, water and lights have increased, the transports fees are too much and theres hardly food for them but only food for my son etc. They have informed me that i have to increase my maintenance and have given me a very large figure to pay. They are saying that i must pay R11000 yet i don’t even earn this much.
What can i do?

    Our LawyerPosted on3:22 pm - May 25, 2018

    Good day. Pay what you can afford and believe is fair and reasonable considering the child’s best interests. If they are not happy with it, they must take it to the Maintenance Court.

TMPosted on9:38 pm - May 28, 2018

Hi. I imagine have twin boys born in 2014 whom I was supporting since they were born till late 2016 when their mother refused me to see and bond with them. In December 2017 I was summoned to appear at the maintenance court which I did and came to an agreement with the mother of my boys that I will continue keeping the boys on my medical aid, will pay for their school and transport fees, by them clothes biannually of R3000 each term and pay monthly grocery money of R1000. So in January I defaulted as she had lied to me regarding the kids attending school I had to start from scratch regarding their school issues which costed me more than I anticipated. Again in March when she told me she’s working i told her I will do the rest except for food she’ll cover and mind you she is also receiving social grant money for both , she then approached the court and we couldn’t agree regarding the arrears as I want to reduce the money I pay. Please advise

Concerned sisterPosted on7:57 pm - May 31, 2018

Hello. My brother paid maintenance to his new born baby that resides with her mother opposite our house. When he lost his job, he could not pay anymore and was as a result prevented from seeing the child. The child is now 1 year old. Can she keep the baby away from him as he is unemployed for 7 months and have been trying his best to find a new job? Can he still seek advice to get reasonable access to the child?

Concerned sisterPosted on8:03 pm - May 31, 2018

Hello. My brother paid maintenance to his new born baby that resides with the mother opposite our house. My brother recently lost his job and was unable to pay. As a result the mother refused him access to the child since he is temporarily not employed. Can he apply to court for access even though he is not working and has been making attempts to get employment?

anonymousPosted on12:53 pm - Jun 5, 2018

Hi I would like to know I’m currently unemployment studying part time and my baby daddy is not supporting his child,can I get child support???

MuziPosted on1:34 pm - Jun 5, 2018

Hi. My ex girl friend has 2 children. One is mine the other one is not. I told her I can contribute R1500.00 for my child, but she is refusing. I suspect she wants more money because the father of her other child does not support her child. She is unemployed.
I work and have another child with my current girlfriend who I am supporting.
I don’t see why I must give he more then R1500pm considering that I don’t spend more the R1500 on my other child as well.
My question is can she ask for more money based on the fact that I drive an expensive car?

Desperate MomPosted on3:33 pm - Jun 5, 2018

Good Day

I have a predicament. After my children’s father and I split up 5 years ago he had a stroke. He has been in a home for about 3 years now which his brother is paying for. I have been looking after my children by myself for the past 4 and half years with no maintenance which is understandable, but as they are getting older their needs are getting bigger and I just cant keep up anymore. I used to work between 60 and 100 hours per week just so I can give my children the basics they need but that also took its toll as I hardly ever saw my children. Their father hasn’t seen them in months and its not a lack from me trying from my side. Begging and pleading with him and his brother to take the children to go see him. Now my question is what can I as a mother do getting some sort of maintenance from him? Even if its just a R1000. I have 3 children with him. Please help, I’m at my wits end

    Our LawyerPosted on4:00 pm - Jun 5, 2018

    Good day
    If he truly cannot afford, then there is not much you can do. However, we advise that you approach the maintenance court to do an inquiry.

natsPosted on4:43 pm - Jun 7, 2018

Hi there

What happens in the case where the father supports his 2 kids every month.Now the mother can’t get more that r850 per child she wants to go to court to get more.she is becoming greedy but gets paid way more than what he gets.what do i do?

AnnaPosted on2:33 pm - Jun 11, 2018

How can i get the child father bank accounts to proof that he has an income unlike the lies he is telling that he is unemployed

NtswakiPosted on6:52 am - Jun 12, 2018

Good day,

I have a 6 years old daughter and I have been supporting her alone for the past 5 years without the help of the father. Now he recently started to maintain her for the last 6 months and he contributes R800 and it not enough to take my daughter through the whole month because i pay transport, lunch box and small needy stuff.I am currently not working and living with a single parent. I can afford to make contribution in the house in terms of buying food, where it gets to a point that sometimes we go to bed hungry. I asked the father to increase the amount a bit since VAT has increased. Is the money that he paying reasonable. He is been permanent at standard bank head office for 5 years, only changing departments. He has a car and flat. Please help how much is he supposed to be paying for maintenance?

JonathanPosted on4:07 pm - Jun 17, 2018

Good day,

I have an 11 year old son and 6 year old daughter. I divorced their mother and got the final divorce decree in the month of February 2018. I am unemployed since the 1st of February 2018 and has seen my kids alternate weekends and the first term school holiday. If it wasnt for the final divorce decree,I wouldve never gotten access to see both my children. Recently, I got subpoened by the maintenance court where I have to appear in court but I dont know what I can do because I have been struggling to get a job since February 2018. Most employers confirms verbally that they cant hire me due to my experience and skills I obtained over the years in IT. Out of spitefulness, my childrens mother filed the case at the maintenance court against me due the fact that on the 3rd of March 2018,she got arrested for violating the high court order. She refused to let me see my kids because she demanded that I pay maintenance first before she let me see them. I was the one that paid the laywers R1500 each month and still tried to pay maintenance in between but I still couldnt see my children up until the final divorce decree was issued to me and her. I want to know, seeing that I am still unemployed, trying to find a job, what can I do? My rent is 4 months behind plus my childrens maintenance as well. What can I do to solve this matter or how do I go about it? Can I ask that the court modify the final divorce decree and decrease the child maintenance? I dont have any immovable assets, no car etc…Trying to find a job but no luck… What can I do?

Concerned MotherPosted on3:52 pm - Jun 18, 2018

Good Afternoon

The child’s father is very inconsistent with paying for child maintenance. Some month he does and some month he doesn’t claiming that he doesn’t have money. I understand that he doesn’t have a job but he lives a very expensive lifestyle. I carry most of the costs for my daughter and all I’m asking him to do is to make an effort.

I think I have reached the end of my tether and I’m considering taking him to maintenance court.

Will the court consider my case even if the father isn’t working as he claims?

Your advise is appreciated.

AnonymousPosted on8:22 am - Jun 19, 2018

I am 31 years lady and since 10/02/2017 until now am not workinh and my son is 1 year 3 months and his father earn 10000 and he gives him 800 and which is not enough because am not breastfeeding him, he uses formula and he also use nappy and every months he goes to the doctor because he have allergies and he don’t eat everything and when i told the father about the situation of the money he says that he has a lawyer that can speak on his behalf an

NoluthandoPosted on4:55 am - Jun 20, 2018

If the father is not working now but when he was working he was paying for maintenance of the child what can he do now as he’s still looking for a job and doesn’t have any income?

AnonymousPosted on4:40 pm - Jun 20, 2018

Hello I have a 7 year old daughter her dad has not been maintaining her in the last 6 years I have been doing everything by myself with no problems bt now I need him to do his part and support his daughter regardless of the fact that I can take care of her by myself.. He says he is working bt I am not sure I hear stories that he is not working so can I still apply for maintenance even thou I am not sure if he is working or not? N if he is not working can I get something from him or not I really need him to help me as now I am drowning with all my mine daughters expenditure ?

    Our LawyerPosted on4:43 pm - Jun 20, 2018

    Hello. We advise that you approach the Maintenance Court ASAP even though it is possible that he is not working. Not working is not an excuse not to pay. The Court would deal with that issue.

David SebopaPosted on11:59 am - Jun 21, 2018

I am an employed father and i have a 6 years old son with my ex girlfriend, i have been supporting my son but stopped 6 months ago due to financial issues. Now she went to maintenance court and i’m expected to appear in August 2018. I would like to know if the mother is unemployed, the total expenses of the child should be divided among parents or it’s the sole reponsibility of the employed parent?

    Our LawyerPosted on1:00 pm - Jun 21, 2018

    The Court would consider the means of the parents. If the mother really cannot afford, then the court could make an Order that the father pays for everything.

sonsPosted on2:30 pm - Jun 21, 2018


I have a 7 year old … I pay R800.00 for maintenance and arrears.. R200.00 towards arrears and R600.00 monthly maintenance… for 2years I had struggle to get a work.. but for the pass 3 years I had kept my promise to make up for my children.. to support them financially due to me of being unemployed.. but know the 7 year olds mother had filed a case for me to pay my arrears in full.. but I kept my promise to pay R200.00 towards my arrears… I do not have any assets.. nor moveable assets to sell to update 2years of arrears.. any advice will appreciate it

SibusisiwePosted on9:38 am - Jun 22, 2018

Hi I have a one year old daughter. Her father is unemployed and does not support her.. what can I do? because he is not willing to do anything even look after her when I need to go somewhere

GustavPosted on11:49 pm - Jun 26, 2018

I recently moved in with my fiance and her 2 daughters. Her settlement agreement states that written authorisation must be obtained by her from her ex for somebody to move in. We haven’t done that. Not sure how he managed such a clause but it is there. The house is in her name and always has been. The ex now wants to totally remove his contribution towards the bond which is 2/3 of the R9000 monthly instalment. I do contribute substantially to the household. Can he remove all costs to do with his children’s accommodation or just reduce his contribution to 1/2 in stead of 2/3 of the instalment? The mother also receives maintenance since she receives a very small income as a freelance photographer.

    Our LawyerPosted on3:38 pm - Jun 27, 2018

    The Order must be followed. If written authorization is not obtained, the we advise that the mother approach the court to change the order as it seems to be problematic in practice.

Tshepho SharonPosted on9:47 pm - Jul 1, 2018

Leave your message hello my son is 2 years his father gave him 300r what can i do

Tebogo madibaPosted on11:45 pm - Jul 6, 2018

Hi I would like to know from what age of a child can a mother apply for maintenance .l have 3 months baby the Father was employed for more than 10 years,he lost his job this year 20 may 2018 and since the child is born he never supported him.

    Our LawyerPosted on10:20 am - Jul 7, 2018

    If the father really cannot afford, you can approach his parents. We would however still advise you to make the application against the father and see what comes out of it. Maybe he has assets, pension etc. If then he cannot afford, ask the court to proceed against his parents.

MKPosted on7:33 am - Jul 7, 2018

Thank you for this page! I need help with a question. Shouldn’t arrears be proven? My husband was unemployed for a month, immediately sent application for variation. Got employed a month later, but at half the previous salary. Currently a postponed formal enquiry. Husband cannot afford the original court ordered amount based on his previous salary, but the mother wants to now claim arrears for the shortfall. Will it be granted if I is proven during the formal enquiry that he did not have the means, and should the amendment not be backdated to when the change of income took place? We cannot afford legal representation, but do not qualify for Legal Aid either and we are scared he is walked over and not being treated fairly and then ordered to pay arrears for the period he did not have the means. We feel it is because of the system taking so long. Please help? :(

MSPosted on12:48 pm - Jul 26, 2018

Good day i have a quetion im paying the maintenance for my child and his mother is now working and he still demanding money for clothes so can we pay the money 50/50 or her mother can buy the clothes for winter and summer and my self i will support the child every month

    Our LawyerPosted on4:37 pm - Jul 26, 2018

    Good day
    If you cannot come to an agreement, pay what you believe is reasonable and fair. However, the mother can still take you to the maintenance court and the court may order you to pay more.

SarikaPosted on4:42 pm - Jul 31, 2018

Good Day

We have a rule 58 in place but father when he had a jod did not pay now he has no job according to the place he worked and is still not paying. We are in court on Friday and I want to know what can happen because he is going to say he has no job and can only pay R1500 for both children and that is not enough to look after 1?

    Our LawyerPosted on10:00 am - Aug 1, 2018

    Good day
    He must provide he cannot find a job even though he is trying very hard. Maybe consider claiming from his parents if he cannot afford. Speak to the court about that.

      SarikaPosted on4:01 pm - Aug 1, 2018

      Thanks for that I will ask the court. But can the court reduce the amount they have ordered him to pay? He still have a lot out standing since the oder was made?

        Our LawyerPosted on4:52 pm - Aug 1, 2018

        You are welcome. The court has the power to reduce the amount. The same way it can increase it. We do not want to guess the outcome would be.

          SarikaPosted on6:08 pm - Aug 1, 2018

          Will the court reduce the amount even if I really need the money to help me because Iam paying everything now with help from my mother and the money that he gives if he does is not even enough to cover one child school fees. Iam just scared that the court will tell him not yo pay because he doesn’t have a job is this possible?

          Our LawyerPosted on6:50 am - Aug 2, 2018

          We are just presuming and being hypothetical. Things can turn out totally differently in court. However, if someone cannot afford a certain amount, the court cannot order him to pay it. It’s setting him up for a criminal prosecution and contempt of court. Maybe speak to the maintenance court beforehand and see what they have to say.

MonalisaPosted on3:52 am - Aug 1, 2018

My son is only one month old and his father kept saying he will buy him clothes and nappies ever since I was pregnant but he never did.
I am unemployed and his working.
I want to take him to court so I wanted to know if is still early or i must wait for my son to be a year older

MePosted on8:47 am - Aug 2, 2018

Hi there
My exhusband is currently 65000 in arrears with his maintenance. He claims he cant afford what the court instructed in 2015 (as part of our divorce decree which he didnt contest at the time) and has been paying a quarter of that for the past year (before that he didnt pay at all an says he was unemployed). If he gets a reduction at court, will he still be liable for the arrears as per the previous court order?

    Our LawyerPosted on8:55 am - Aug 2, 2018


    It is possible for him to convince the Court that the reduced order should operate retrospectively. Basically, from the date, he could not afford.

robynPosted on10:32 pm - Aug 4, 2018

I’ve supported the child for 5 yrs until this day and I never applied for maintenance however when the child was 1 yrs and 2 months old… I applied, it took them 1 & 1/2 years to come to an agreement of R200.00 per month. Seeing that this case dragged… I would like to know if I can get the money owed since the birth of the child?

BonganePosted on12:39 pm - Aug 10, 2018

Hi I’ve been supporting my child with amounts of 1000 to 1300 sometimes,buying clothes even before he was born till today since the mother has never worked in her life during the month of May I’ve send her money as i always do and she said she went home to her mother’s side and she didn’t have money to come coz i told we must go and buy clothes for winter and she asked me for transport money so she can come,and she never did come until this day and she’s always now demanding money for the child even though she’s not here and she told me she’s taking me court even though now the child is with my parents and on the other hand she’s receiving money for social grant also and now her sister’s were refusing my parents to see the child until i went home and took him coz I’m working away from home i don’t want full custody of the child just what will be best for the child can i approach the court myself coz now it’s 3 months since she left the child but month end she keeps on demanding money and even got the nerve to give his boyfriend the phone when i call

DavidPosted on3:41 pm - Aug 14, 2018

Good day

My girlfriend ex husband is unemployed for couple of months , has no uif and just sold his car – R2000 was given to my girlfriend. – he is in behind in school fees , maintenance basically everything what the divorce agreement was between the 2 of them . Gf and 2 kids are on my med aid – can I claim money back from him ?

Would like know what is the procedure or advice you can give me . Or what can my gf do Regarding this matter please. It’s quite urgent.

    Our LawyerPosted on7:49 am - Aug 15, 2018

    Good day
    She can report him to the maintenance court for non-compliance with the Divorce Order. She may also consider claiming maintenance against his parents if he cannot afford.

CherylPosted on12:30 pm - Aug 16, 2018

My sons father and I are not married. He has 2 kids from previous relationships. He has not seen our son for the past 5 months and has not paid a cent for his upkeep. He also defaults in paying for their upkeep.My son is 1 year 5 months and even though we were together when he was born I still paid for everything myself. e has previously threatened he will leave work if ever I claim money from him. He lives with his mother and sister – both work and both have not acknowledged our son. He has no assets in his name just debt but he has a full time job. What are my rights to claim maintenance as can he use the fact that he does see our son to not pay? Many thanks

thenjiwePosted on11:50 am - Aug 17, 2018

Good day. I have a 9 months old son with a married man, the guy owns businesses and drives in luxurious cars, he pays R1000 sometimes R500 and claims that he doesn’t have money but his other kids go to expensive schools. And threatens me that if I go to court, he’ll pay R300 for the child sincewell he doesn’t have a salary advise and his private bank acc has less that R5000 in it. Thank you!

biancaPosted on7:44 pm - Aug 21, 2018

I have a 6 month old baby. The father before she was born and said he doesn’t want anything to do with her. Last I heard he doesn’t have a job. I get ssi because I have epilepsy and child grant. It’s R2800 a month and with that I have to support her and myself.. basically my question is must the father still pay even if he doesn’t want anything to do with her?

bongyPosted on9:52 am - Aug 27, 2018

Hi I have two children from the same father whose planning to get married soon so I just want to know if I should apply for maintenance against him as I’m the one who’s talking responsibility for my children yet his a taxi owner who owners three cars and another thing he decided to end things with me as he doesnt want to reveal the truth about my 1 year old child to his former wife and n he told the outsider that this child is not his

AshPosted on12:28 am - Sep 4, 2018

Good day , I was declared permanently unfit for duty at work. And Medicaly bord. My ex has taken me to maintenance court and wants R3600 for a child of 2 years. Any advice since I am also unable to see the child. Currently awaiting my pension payout at work ,there after I’ll have no other source of income or be able to work

    Our LawyerPosted on5:00 pm - Sep 4, 2018

    Good day
    Go with all proof of income and expenses. Make sure you have everything. Ask questions on the child’s expenses. The court would then have to Order a fair amount.

RuaanPosted on11:05 am - Sep 4, 2018

Hi, ive been paying maintenance towards my two kids. R 6000 per month. I know for a fact that we never spent 3000 per child when we lived together. on top of this I pay their school fees upfront for the year.
currently I am engaged again, finances changed.. is it possible to apply to pay less.

NonjabuloPosted on9:10 am - Sep 8, 2018

Hi there

My daughter’s father is self-employed as a dentist and often receives cash payments from patients which he deposits into his account or uses as he pleases, mostly he receives payments from medical aids. He does not pay a set amount of child maintenance, he sends whatever he feels like & often claims he has no money when the child needs more. He does not own property but rents and recently bought a car which I assume he bought via a bank. He has several cell phone contracts and splurges on luxury clothing brands and expensive alcohol when out with friends. We are no longer together and I have received threats from his family and him that if I go to court for child maintenance, I will receive less than the baby needs & that they know where I live. I am an unemployed student living with my mother and I’m at my wits end. I did approach child maintenance court a few weeks ago but the clerk I met was very unhelpful and gave me forms I don’t understand and didn’t explain anything to me. What options do I have in this situation and what can I do to ensure that my child’s father is investigated thoroughly?

    Our LawyerPosted on5:36 pm - Sep 8, 2018

    Good day
    You need to go through the maintenance court. Seeing that they were not very helpful, we advise that you make use of a lawyer for assistance. After consulting with you, they may think up of other ways of assisting you.

EPosted on9:50 am - Sep 10, 2018

Hi, my kids dad signed a parenting plan en settlement where he is supposed to pay child support but its been 2 months now that he didn’t pay. He don’t pick them up on the weekends he should and he doesn’t call them. Will I be able to get sole custody of them and how do I go about him not paying child support?

    Our LawyerPosted on3:49 pm - Sep 10, 2018

    Good day
    For sole custody, you need to prove it is in the child’s best interests. It is for the court to decide. Regarding maintenance, you need to approach the maintenance court and lay a complaint.

AngiePosted on3:39 pm - Sep 10, 2018

Good day

My ex is self employed he admitted it to the court after I had to get his car execution for arrers of 8 years… but now after that he is claiming unemployment now he is in arrears again and I have to prove he is self employed still. How do i prove this as he is ducking from paying and does all his stuff under the table… please give me advise on how do I prove he is still self employed…

    Our LawyerPosted on3:46 pm - Sep 10, 2018

    Good day
    You may have to hire a private investigator. It could be expensive. Otherwise, see what the Maintenance Court has to say. Maybe they can subpoena his bank statements etc.

MARELISE SWARTPosted on1:48 pm - Sep 14, 2018

Good day

What happens if you received a summons and the court is in another province(mother moved to another province without a parenting plan) and you are not able to attend because of financial reasons/unemployment?

    Our LawyerPosted on3:19 pm - Sep 14, 2018

    Good day
    If you were subpoenaed to appear at a maintenance inquiry, you have to attend. The court should reimburse you for your traveling costs. It is best that you contact the court and discuss your situation with them. You do not want to not attend and be arrested after.

AnonymousPosted on6:37 am - Sep 16, 2018

Can a 2 months old baby gets maintance ? If yes how much can i claim if the father is earning 3000

    Our LawyerPosted on7:25 am - Sep 17, 2018

    Good day.
    Yes, you can claim. The amount depends on the needs of the child and your income. The is not a fixed amount for a father that earns R 3000 – 00.

ThemzaPosted on12:29 pm - Sep 18, 2018

hi, i just want to know the father of my child is not working but staying with the wealthy wife his clean, have food everyday but his daughter nothing. how can i claim maintenance?
and my concerned about witbank court we dont get fair treatment for our kids they always treat like trash we must go and look for the job so we can mantain our kids but man are kings if your file is got the all info you are lucky because sometimes our files are lost or inside your file some papers are missing

please can some1 help witbank mothers?

ThandekaPosted on10:12 am - Sep 20, 2018

Hi, I am mother of a two year old child, I am currently unemployed.. Recently matriculated, the problem I have is my baby daddy is refusing to pay the child support, He’s claiming that he is facing financial problem yet he drives fancy cars, living in suburban areas, and he also has shares to some company . can I be able to sue him for maintenance? Because it been 9 months now not paying for his child support

PRECIOUS TEFOPosted on8:10 am - Sep 23, 2018

I filed maintenace few months ago and the father of my child is not paying accordingly we agreed on R600 but he always has excuses when he has to pay his a cleaner at a local tarven earning R1200 he uses money on beer n his car only what should i do?

Roekeiyiyah ShabodienPosted on4:06 pm - Sep 23, 2018

My husband is earning R11000 we are on the verge of divorcing because he has remarried. What can I claim for maintenance for 2 kids under 18, as my daughter has a terminal illness and I cannot go work. My husband says he can only give me R3000 per month. What are my rights and what can I claim?

    Our LawyerPosted on6:49 am - Sep 24, 2018

    Parents must support their children according to their means. One must look at the income of both parents and the needs of the children. It may be best that you take this matter to the maintenance court to do a proper assessment of the situation. Of course, your children have a right to adequate maintenance, considering the income of the parents.

Danie SmalPosted on3:51 pm - Oct 2, 2018

good day

can you please advise I am paying maintenance medical aid school fees, my son did not passed 2 years in high school now is in private schooling at home and I had to pay, he is turning 20 and stays with my ex wife sister that are well off, can I stop paying school fees and maintenance as he is turning 20 already. thanks

MichelePosted on2:11 pm - Oct 10, 2018

good day
can you please tell me what procedures does my daughter needs to follow in the matter that her father simple is defaulting on his maintenance payment. maintenance order granted end of july. father made first payment into her bank account in august. but the september payment still not paid in. me as the mother have tried on her behalf phoning, sms’ whatsapping, emailing, using all forms of communication, giving him grace to pay but he still ignores and does not clearly not care about the law and chooses to be stubborn. his next payment is due 22 october, which would mean double arrears if he does not pay his september payment now.

he lives in cape town and we in bloemfontein, free state
any feedback would help. thank you,

    Our LawyerPosted on5:52 pm - Oct 10, 2018

    Good day
    She needs to lay a complaint of non-ompliance with the maintenance order at the Maintenance Court. She may follow the criminal route or the civil route. The Court would advise her.

sekaiPosted on9:45 am - Nov 8, 2018

my ex partner is trying to force mih to support her child who is not mine at court what shoud i do

awelanePosted on5:48 pm - Nov 8, 2018

The father of my child is unemployed but he do partime jobs buh he does not do anything for baby

gwenPosted on4:22 pm - Nov 12, 2018



KagishoPosted on2:25 pm - Nov 14, 2018

gud day how can i apply for maintenance while i don’t hv idea where does my baby daddy hide him self..nid help.

    Our LawyerPosted on4:14 pm - Nov 14, 2018

    Good day

    The Maintenance Court has investigators to assist with tracking people. One way is to contact Vodacom or MTN for contact details.

Carleen MackayPosted on2:04 pm - Nov 15, 2018

Good day

I would like to make an enquiry.

My husband was unemployed for 2-3years and then was employed and retrenched, however he still made maintenance payments where he could. Now the mother of the child is claiming arrears from 2010 to date, the court has granted an order for the arrears amount for the period, but the file has no proof or bank statements from her bank to prove that no payments were made from 2010 to date. The arrears amount was set at R77000 without this information and he was told if he doesn’t agree immediately to pay R1500 towards maintenance and arrears he will be locked up.
All proof he provided that he was unemployed and retrenched are no longer on file, all previous proof of payments into her bank account no longer on file. He has to be back in court on 29-11-2018 to prof that payments of R1500 was made for SEPT & OCT but this matter was never properly investigated. Please advise on what we need to do. He applied for a reduction in maintenance as well but when they appeared on the date for the matter, no documents were in the file any longer and he was told to reapply for a reduction. The reduction was applied for last year September and after waiting a year to appear this was the response. Please help with assistance

    Our LawyerPosted on7:41 am - Nov 16, 2018

    Good day
    It seems that the maintenance court is failing you. It further seems that the maintenance court believes that they are making the correct decision. That may or may not be so. We cannot speculate on that with the limited information. However, what seems clear is that going forward, your husband needs to keep copies of all documents.

kagishoPosted on10:59 am - Nov 17, 2018

since i’ve a baby he decided to leave change his number nd location as well so how possible it to find him while i don’t knw where he stay right now.

Nicolette cupid0Posted on9:19 am - Dec 5, 2018

Good me and my ex have 2 children he paying maintaince but got fired can i claim money from his pension that is going 2 be paid out 2 him seeing that his not going 2 work and whe going 2 court next week 4 increace

TendaniPosted on8:41 pm - Dec 11, 2018

My daughter father is self employed as a carpentry,welding and covering sofa and does not support her what can I do

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