Questions and Answers on Child Maintenance in South Africa

Please advice. I am a divorced father of 5 children. My take home salary is R16000 a month and my ex wife’s take home is  R26000 a month.

I am paying the   following:

kids medical aid                                         R5000  whilst she’s only alone in her medical aid

Car installment                                          R4600 a month whilst she’s got 2 cars

Car Insurance                                            R1000  a month

Rental amount of                                      R5000 a month whilst she’s got 2 houses

School fees for my 2 daughters of        R1400 a month

2 Kids transport fee                                 R1600 a month

Elder son transport                                  R600   a month

Last born’s Nanny                                    R2000 a month

Collecting kids to visit me                       R400 a month

My food and electricity and water        R1500 a month

Maintenance for all kids of about         R2000 which includes arrears

I also have pay 50 percent towards clothing for all the kids including school uniform and books

The Total is  – R25500 a month of which I cannot clearly afford from my R16000 take home salary.

Please help me with advice as to how do I appeal this as I cant even afford an attorney.

Best Regards

Good day

You need to make an application for the substitution of the maintenance order with an order which you can afford. For this, you need to approach the maintenance court.,2847,

Hi, so I would just like to know. I have been paying for my childs needs since birth. He is 6 years old now. I have never directly paid money to her, I have always purchased what he needs myself. We are not together anymore and my son is staying with her, he comes to me every single weekend while his mother goes out to party. I am currently earning a nett income of R9500. Me and his mom had an agreement that I pay his schoolfees R7000 a year, and I pay his medical aid, as he can not be the only and main member I need to pay R2600pm for medical aid for both of us. She would pay the transport and the aftercare R900 every month. She has a car that she needs to pay monthly, with insurance and petrol cost per month, I do not have a car but I am able to save R6000pm. Will the court look into how much spending money I have left before making a ruling? I mean wouldn’t this be unfair seeing that she has a car, and paying monthly I can also get a car but would not want to put myself in a long term situation like that.,2861,

Good day

The court would look at what is in the child’s best interests, and at the same time what is fair and reasonable. In our view, having a car is not a luxury, and is useful when having a child.,2862,

@Holder.the court looks at both your income,from what you said you only spend R7000 a year and maybe an extra R1000 for medical aid for the child,you also mentioned the mother would pay R900 towards transport and aftercare,there are many responsibilities related to raising a child,the court will look at the fact that the mother sees to your son’s day to day needs which you don’t.in my opinion she is contributing far more than you are,also the court regards what you are spending on your child as gifts to him,maintanance is you paying a certain amount to the mother either daily,weekly or monthly.her having a car is something that will benefit your son in a way.but go to court and let them make a ruling but from what you said it seems you have it so easy,you still have R6000 a month to save which means you don’t have much expenses,she could even ask you for more if she wishes.,2865,

Hi, my Sister got impregnated by a policeman who refuse to pay maintenance. The court ordered for a paternity test which came back saying the policeman is not the father of the child. My sister is very confident that the child’s father is this guy because she was not involved with anyone else at the time she got pregnant. The court did tell her that she can contest the results but she will have to conduct another one privately on her own cost and she is not working. I experienced something similar on the same court when I needed my father to increase child support from R600 to R1000 when I was going to varsity, they kept giving me dates when the court will be closed or not attenting maintanance issues, I was once given the 23rd of december and when I arrived the court was closed. That carried on until it was my time to go back to school which became difficult for me to go back to the court as i was studying very far. My father is a prison warder from the same area. The employees at the court seems to be able to by pass the system and favour their colleagues so how do we ensure that the corrupt officials are reprimanded for it and most importantly how do i help my sister moving forward.,2869,

Good day

She would have to do a private paternity test.,2876,

hi my son is now 13 , I receive R1600 from his father which only covers transportation for my son to school and back. school fees alone are R27000 , he is on my medical aid , daily expenses also apply. he’s father earns more than me but refuses to look at the financial planner for the child and be involved with his needs , I’ve asked him to go 50/50 with me on everything be it stationery , uniform etc he just refuses to even reply to my msgs, what can I do? please help,2878,

Good day

You need to approach the maintenance court for an Order that he pays a reasonable amount.,2880,

Good Day


I have a maintenance court order which states that my ex husband must pay R1800 per child. (I have 2 kids). He initially started paying R500 per child and now R800 per child. I have gone twice back to the maintenance court to report it. The last outcome they sent a sheriff of the court to seize his new taxis that he bought. Feedback from the Sheriffs office is I have no claim as the assets does not belong to him but is on higher purchase.

He has just bought a brand new 4×4 van and is purchasing a new house. How is it possible that this is not taken into account and how must I proof which accounts he is hiding his money in. This is frustrating as he just gets away and the arrears are just now arrears in the courts view as I have no way to claim anything from. Please advise what is my next or any step to get the court order enforced.,2993,

Good day

This is clearly a case where the maintenance court is failing you by not doing their job. We would advise that you complain higher up in the maintenance court about the problems you are experiencing with them.,2999,

Good Day.


My brother has a 2 month old baby.He has been contributing towards to the child by buying him clothes,food and diapers.He received death threats from the mother of the child because she feels that he’s not doing enough.The mother of the child wants to take him to maintenance court.Please advice how should my brother go about this when he gets to court?,3018,

Good day

He needs to outline his income and expenses with documentary proof to the court.,3019,

Hi.can u please help me in this case.

I have been getting 950 from my babys father. Nd now shes going to pre school next yr january. Ive told him in march this yr that i found a pre school. Nd that the meeting will be hold sep.fine,i went to the meeting 19 sep nd tried contacting him abt the feedback nd whats needed.my phone was blocked. Called with different number. Nd he answered. I told him details of the meeting nd that the re nd jan fees had to be at payed not later yhan 30 nov or shell be consider not accepted at school. He agreed l. November 15 on his pay day he called me that he has the money hell bring it that day. 3 days passed nd when i called she gives it to his girlfriends to answer it. He then s3nd me sms saying that i should pay reg fee nd jan fee wiyh that money. Nd Told him that i only get money on the 1st of each month not same day he getspayed’15th’. I also told him even if i borrowed money to pay how will i pay ackermans. Buy food nd toiletri. He said hell do it which was just an empyty promise. Then my sister gave me the money payed on the 23.send him sms that i payed nd if hes still willing to pay the acc nd buy everything for the baby never reapond. For 2 weeks. I then went to court with all expenses. Gave me date of appearance. Now 2days later. He calls me acting concern. Told him that ive got appearance date im sure he got it after everything.he told me hell go to court to complain nd . I told him if asking u to take care of ur child is what ull complain abt good luck. Hes been blocking me when i ry to talk about babys school fee. Now he acts concern. Nd tells me abt the lawyers nd that i will regret.,3066,

Good day

Do not concern yourself with what he said. Let the court handle it. All you need to do is ensure that you have proof of income, and expenses for you and the child to show the court.,3081,

Good Day

I am a single parent and I have a 5 year old which has never met his father due to him leaving 3 months before the birth I haven’t heard from him until September 2017 in that time I have not received any type of a assistance. He went to the courts saying I am keeping the child away. The family Advocates got involved and there recommendation was he went through a therapeutic process that was Feb 2018 I haven’t heard anything from him again. I would also like to point out I have a protection order against him  for domestic violence it was approved by the courts.  He is unable to contact me but it seems his parents are contacting me on his behalf.  What can I do I am fearful of his family and friends.  I am fearful which I did mention to Family Advocates I fear for my sons safety.  I am constantly looking over my shoulder.  My son is starting Grade 1 soon and I am afraid that they will try get access to him.  I have never spoken about him, to my son he has a dad.  Please help me!!! I have gone to courts they say they can’t do anything cause he hasn’t made the recommendation a court order.  Until then I am living with fears and concerns.,3282,

Good day

We advise you make use of the services of an attorney to assist in resolving those issues. If he does something illegal, you need to contact the Police.,3283,

Good day. I have a daugther she is 6 years old and were are no longer together with her father. Her father wa working at pick n pay , in 2018 he was at police academy training in Bisho Eastern Cape for a year, now he is back from training and telling me that I should stop coming at her parent’s house because he has a new girlfriend and he don’t want her to found me at his parent’s house. And he doesnt support a baby. Can i take him to maintanacy court about those things and can you please advise me what to do,3291,

Good day

We advise that you approach the Maintenance Court as soon as possible to investigate this matter and make a Maintenance Order.,3296,

Hi, does a Father have an obligation to pay some form of maintenance when he becomes unemployed?

What is the law regarding this?,3365,

Hi, my child is 2 months old I’ve filed a for maintenance, however at home they feel that I should cancel for safety reasons as the father might harm me or the baby, he was never violent with me its just concerns. So I’d like to know if I do cancel whats the procedure and consequences for that. I haven’t decided what to do but I would just like to know.,3366,

Good day. We do not advise that you cancel your child maintenance application unless it is absolutely necessary. Child maintenance is a right of a child. We advise that you speak to the maintenance court about this issue and hopefully they can advise you accordingly. Looking at your message, we do not see any concerns.,3367,

Good day. Even if the father is unemployed, he still has a legal obligation to pay child maintenance. This he can pay by selling assets he owns, or use part of the savings. If however you cannot afford to pay child maintenance you may proceed against his parents.,3368,

Hi, I am married to the mother of my children through customary law. Since we are not yet registered I know automatically it means that we are married in community of property. My problem is that my estranged wife seem to be only interested in money. I hardly see my children and even when I do she wants to control the length of the time that we spend together. She does not give me any conjugal rights and refuse for my children to use my surname. Which now makes me wonder if they are really mine. She took me to a maintenance court and have now defaulted based on unanswered questions and a change in my finances. I need advise as to what I should do regarding joint custody because there is no court of law that granted her sole custody. I need to spend time with my children as much as she does and need us both to contribute towards the same course. I started to work May 2018, gave her R3000.00 the very same month end, but by 22 June 2018 she already filed for maintenance for R8000.00. I found this to be suspicious but because I was civil and wanted our relationship to work I offered her R6000.00. I could not keep up with the last 3 payments and have been summoned to court. What should I do?,3402,

Good evening Reader,


So my question is on behalf of my husband.


He was previously married and has two kids with his ex wife. Since their divorce he has been paying child support. The mother was given Primary custody of the kids, with visitation rights of my husband.


With the kids visiting every alternative weekend and school holidays we became worried for the kids safety as the kids advised us their mother was on drugs/ substance  abuser started dating one too.


In December 2016 the mother decided to send the son with a complete stranger and dropped him off at his grandmother’s place. With no prior notification to my husband. I then encouraged him to have a chat with her and of course to approach the social workers as things was getting out of hand.


That’s when she asked my husband to give her a break so she could sort herself out because she was on drugs and had another son from another gentlemen and another on the way.


Without hesitation we took both his kids and drove the other to her mother in Koring berg as she was unfit to care for them.


We made arrangements and had them enrolled in school in January 2017. And they were with us ever since. She had full visitation of the kids but when they did visit she never made provision to feed her kids.


I then advised my husband to continue with the social workers and child court. On numerous occasions. They were to appear in court and on every occasion she failed to appear. She then fell ill and relocated to her mother in Koring berg in Mid 2018


December 2018 we sent the kids on holiday to visit their mom. This turns into a complete nightmare. When we collected them on the 6th January the mother had advised my husband only then that she would not be sending the girl back. As she needed her daughter by her and needed the maintenance monies because she has two more kids. As her grant monies she receives for all four kids is not enough to sustain her.


My husband then called the Mooreesberg police department and asked them to escort him as he didn’t want to make any trouble but please to advise the mother that it would be in the kids best interest to stay with us.


She refused and advised the police officer that the daughter wanted to stay with her. We contacted the Social worker who then emailed the police department a full report and mentions in their, That it is in fact in the best interest of the children to stay with the father. My husband right now has no say over the matter as she was given Primary custody of the kids  This is wrong! How do you as the Primary castodian remove your child from one school to another without prior communication? The girl has moved schools 4 times and she is in grade 5 now. The boy has moved schools 7 times and his now grade 8 and failed twice due to the mother’s negligence.


Is their anything we can do or anything I can advise my husband to do?


We have a pending case with child welfare?

Logged a complaint with the maintenance court? 2 years is a bit long to be waiting due to the mother failing to appear in court.

What can we do besides going to the high court and attempting to get custody of the kids?


Does my husband have to pay maintenance to her for the girl? She will use the monies for her own personal benefit. What about the two years that they stayed with us and she did not contribute a cent?  What is the best way forward. As I feel that the justice System fails so many wonderful father’s. And rule in favour of unfit mothers who use their kids as pawns to get maintenance and grants.


We would really love to have her back with us as well. But getting primary custody seems Doom and Gloom if the social workers are still working the case 2 years later.


Please advise soonest,3404,

If I do cancel as I haven’t decided yet, how do I do that? And if I cancel can I reopen the case in future?,3430,

Good day

You must inform the Court. Contact them. Yes, you may apply again.,3436,

Good day

We strongly suggest that you see a lawyer and make an urgent application to the court for the return of the child. Regarding maintenance, if there is an order, he needs to then apply for its setting aside after the child is returned.,3444,

Good day

We advise that you approach the Children’s Court in your area for assistance. They may grant you an order dealing with your parental responsibilities and rights.,3478,

good day


i ahve a 7year old daughter, the father has been contributing an amount of R1500 every month towards her school fees and other needs. ive been spending on average R3616. ive taken my daughter out of a private school and have put her in a government school. our expenses shared would be R2200 each towards the child, but the father refuses to pay anything more than that. i have applied to the court as all i request is an increase of R500 more to his contribution. do i stand a chance in court?,3524,

good day


i have a 7year old daughter, the father has been contributing an amount of R1500 every month towards her school fees and other needs. ive been spending on average R3616. ive taken my daughter out of a private school and have put her in a government school. our expenses shared would be R2200 each towards the child, but the father refuses to pay anything more than that. i have applied to the court as all i request is an increase of R500 more to his contribution. do i stand a chance in court?,3525,

Good day

You do not mention the father’s earnings. If he can afford to pay more, the court would order so.,3531,

Good Day


the father earns twice as much as i do and our daughter is his only child.,3537,


Good day

Then he needs to pay about double what you would pay or spend on the child.,3551,

Good Day


My ex husband is a medical DR and he has been giving 1250×2 for our two daughters since 2015. and pays for their school fees (23500 a year for both kids) and buys 750 clothes for each child. i have been to court to increase this but with no help the whole year of 2018 January to December been to court. i have done section 31 because he wasn’t paying for the kids medical aid and on the order done in 2015 it stated that he should pay or put both the kids to the medical aid but he never. again he has no relationship with the kids to know what they need nor on their birthdays or xmas he buys them presents. he makes about


i have bought a house where i stay with the kids and put both on my medical aid . please advice what i must do in this case.,3563,

Hi if missed the court date due to work what can I do to get another date. So the father of my child wasn’t served because I had to be there with the police so I’ve been told I’m confused as to how it works.,3583,

Good day

If you and the father were not at the Court, then the Court most probably removed it from the court roll. It is best you re-apply or call the court to find out what you should do.,3624,

Good day

You should apply for an increase in child maintenance at the maintenance court.,3629,

Good day

Your son must go to the police and obtain a protection order against them.,3632,

Good day. I have a child out of wedlock. When I left her father she was 2years now she’s going onto 7years I never claimed maintenance cause I was always turned away by the courts cause he wasn’t working. He was in a car accident years back and now as collected a portion of his R.A.F money. Can I now claim maintenance? If so what is the procedure?,3658,

Good day, I am going to court in March 2019, the father of my child has never ever taken care of our son financially since he was born. Is the court able to backdate the money that I want to claim for maintenance?,3665,

Good day

We have been divorced for 5 years and my ex has only paid maintenance for 2 of those. He is self employed and in and out of work. I ask every month but he makes excuses for not having any money to give. He says he doesn’t have a bank account due to bad debt. What can be done if he works unconsistantly and in all probability doesn’t really make a concerted effort to find work? Thanks in advance,3666,

My husband and his x_wife separate has been 4 years ,she divorce outside usa ,she mentally&emotionally torture my husband even these days,he take care of his son even more than he effort,now she filed child support but my husband fail to prove ho w much he spent on him what to do next,3668,

Your husband needs to work out his income and expenses. If he cannot do that, then he will encounter problems.,3669,

Good day


We still advise you to take the matter to the maintenance court. The maintenance court would then deal with him.,3671,

Good day

Yes, the court is able to make such an Order.,3672,

Good day

The same way you applied the first time for maintenance, you should apply now. Go to the Maintenance Court ASAP.,3677,

About the Author

Advocate South Africa

Legal Advisor for Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd
Call 0211110090
For appointments: https://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice

22 thoughts on “Questions and Answers on Child Maintenance in South Africa

  1. Court ordered me to pay Medical aid for my children which i do, am i also liable for additinal medical expenses that my medical aid does not cover?

  2. Hi the father pay no child support so i had to lie about schoolfees going up just to get some money for my daughter…can i still take him to court

  3. Is it legal for an ex husband to willfully deduct money , as he sees fit, and without consultation, from the monthly maintenance paid for his two children?
    Please advise. I cannot afford a lawyer!

  4. Good day
    My mom and father have been long not leaving together now. My father does not wanna file divorce and he even took and spent all his pension money. Now I’m at university fees needs to be paid. He earns 18600 whilst my mom earns 11000. My mom buys clothes for me and my brother, gives us 2000 to carry through the whole month and if something comes up we always turn to her since my dad always says he does not have money. All he does is paying rent 2600 and give only me 1000. Now he wants to go 50/50 on the school fees with my mother? Is it fair?

  5. I work in a retail shop earning r7000 and also have 2 kids with different mothers . I use a taxi to work costing R24 per day and renting a room paying r500 how much will I pay for the third kid?

  6. Good day
    I require some advise please. My ex-husband refused to continue paying maintenance after my son turned 18. However, my son is now 21 years old and still living with me as he is studying, and has a weekend casual job. Is it within my right to claim maintenance for the period since he stopped paying until now.

    Kindly advise

  7. Hi, I have 2 kids and I’ve been supporting them since the break up however the mother of my kids has since decided to take me to court for maintenance. I earn R21000 after deductions and I pay R3500 for both kids, I buy them clothes twice a year (R6000 ×2) minimum. Both kids are on my medical aid (R2200) per month, I have access to my kids twice a month and as such there are transport cost involved when picking up and returning the kids, I do my daughter’s hair once a month at a minimum of R300. I also buy my daughter’s school uniform and sports clothes every once a year, I spend a minimum of R2400. I have just been served with a letter of final demand for my daughter’s school fee though I have never defaulted on my interim order. How do I go about addressing this letter of final demand?

  8. Good day

    I would like to find out I have a son with ex wife that I pay over maintence to for 9 years since our divorce and increase my payments yearly with 10%. I have met someone and we have been stay with her for 6 years now she fell pregnant and also want maintence I only have left R5500 that I now pay for my son how do I go about can I decrease my sons maintence to give her maintence as well what is for me to do?

  9. Hi.

    I have been paying maintenance on time each month. I am self employed and it seems like my financial income has taken a huge knock.

    My ex wife stays in JHB and I stay in Capetown. Should I go to JHB to apply for a decrease in maintenance?

    I also haven’t seen my child in 2 years. Even after my desperate attempt to do so. I have asked my ex wife numerous times to let my child fly to capetown but my ex wife refuses. Its been 2 years and it will cost me allot to take her to court. What is a fathers automatic rights. We were married and divorced in another country and our divorce papers states only reasonable right. So I don’t know what my rights in South Africa are. My exwife, child and myself are South Africans but we don’t have a south african divorce order/paper. So once again what is my visiting rights in South Africa and should I go to JHB to sort this out.?

  10. Good day

    I am a beneficiary ,I am concerned about payment dates,they are always different every month.Why are the payments dates different?Another thing I received a call from my dad saying there is sum of money that was deducted from his pay out so he thinks they will give it to me but I have not received any money so who can I ask about this in maintance office?
    Thank you

  11. Good morning i have 3 kids 2 has finish matric one is 20 yrs the other 21 he is working casual job gets about 500 per week do i still pay child support for the 2 boys please advice

  12. Hey ,I currently applied for child maintenance and my father seems to not want to attend our court case date ,he’s been lying that he’s sick

    What can happen ,because I quickly need money for rent and school fees ?

  13. good day

    I have a court order but the baby father does not respect, he pays the money at his own time and if he does pay its is not the agreed amount. every year when August approaches he will claim that he is unemployed which leaves me broke because I have to pay for everything and she is on my medical aid.

    I ve been t court 3 times to claim for arrears but they cant find him where he lives, he just hides from the police and I don’t know what to do now because I am deep in debt because of him not paying.

    I would like to request a criminal offence against him, how do I go about the process?

    1. Good day. It is unfortunate that you are placed in such a predicament. Failure to pay maintenance arises from a failure to obey a court order which is a punishable offence. Defaulters can be liable to a fine or imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year. I recommend that you contact an attorney.

  14. Good day. My son has a 7 year old boy out of wedlock. He and the mother were happy together, fell pregnant and moved in together when the baby was 6 months old. She cheated on my son and they broke up. He has been paying R4000 maintenance every month since they split up. He also spends a lot of money to collect and return the child. At first he was allowed to see his son every week end, then it became every second week end. These visits were always on the farm where we live, so we as grand-parents got to see him and built a wonderful relationship with our grandson. The mother has since married and had another baby and requested permission from my son to take his child with to America. Her new husband plans to start a business there and they plan to emigrate. My son granted permission, as he thought it would be good for his son’s future. My son does not feel comfortable paying maintenance over to the mother. She does not want to work to earn an income to help provide for their son. She expects my son to pay even more money now, as living on USD is much more expensive. How fair is this? My son also needs to be able to build his own family and cannot do so if he has to pay all his expendable income on maintenance? Surely she should get a job and help pay? Now she claims she pays more than 50% of the child’s expenses and calculates things such as house rent, electricity, cleaning service, DSTV as expenses for the child? If the child was not there, she still would have had these expenses? Why does she need to live in the most expensive house, drive a fancy car, not work and my son has to be responsible for maintenance? Kindly advise.

    1. Good day
      Your son must pay what he believes if fair and reasonable under the circumstances considering the child’s best interests. If she is not happy with that, she needs to take him to the court and the court would decide what is a fair amount.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these

Call now