Tricks and tips on how to win your child maintenance case

Tricks and tips on how to win your child maintenance case

Tricks and tips on how to win your child maintenance case

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Advocate of the High Court of South Africa Family Law Legal
Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf – Advocate of the High Court of South Africa

Child maintenance legal issues might sound simple, compare to, for example, a criminal case of fraud. However, a child maintenance case could be much more complicated, challenging and exhausting. That, however, does not have to be the case. At least not always. Find out some of the tips and tricks provided by Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf, a family law expert with more than a decade of experience in family law, and child maintenance matters. Read on to find out some tips and tricks of the trade. Valuable advice is given on what to do through the maintenance court process.

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Child Maintenance and Applications – How does it work?

The focus of this article is not to explain how child maintenance work, or how to apply for child maintenance. There are many articles written on that topic. But in short, parents must pay according to their means. So, if a child’s expense the month is R 60 (obviously this is a fictitious example) and the father earns R 500 a month and the mother R 250 a month, then if all else is equal, the father should contribute R 40 towards the minor child’s expenses, and the mother, R 20. Now that is the long and short of the matter.

However, other factors also play a role. They include the necessary expenses of each parent, which determines how much they should contribute, as well as what assets the parents own. For example, if a father earns R 100 a month, and the mother R R800 – 00, the father would pay the majority of the minor child’s expenses if he owns other assets worth R 100 000 – 00 and the mother none.

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advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceWhat are the challenges in child maintenance cases for parents?

Now we deal with the challenges. The child costs R 60 per month, but the parent who is supposed to pay maintenance, the father, in this case, is only willing to pay R 10 per month. This is what he says he can only afford and what he believes the minor child needs. He says that if he pays more, the mother would use the money for herself. But the facts as in the example above, the father earns R 500 a month and the mother, R 250. Therefore, the father should pay R 40 and not R 10 as he offers.

The challenge the mother now has is to prove that the father can afford to pay R 40 and not R 10 as he offers. The mother is worried, that should she go to the maintenance court for help, she would only get R 5 because that is what the father said he will pay should she go to court. What is our advice? Go to Court!

The Maintenance Court – What do they do?

If a parent does not pay reasonable child maintenance, the maintenance court can enforce compliance. This they would do through the Maintenance Court enquiry process. Once a maintenance order is made, it becomes a criminal offense not to adhere to it. The court may even issue a warrant attaching property, or salary.

The maintenance investigator at the Court

Each maintenance court has a maintenance investigator. What this investigator does is gather evidence in a maintenance court case. However, in practice, no one may tell you that there is a maintenance investigator who could assist you in your case. This could be because of the huge amount of maintenance cases that come through the doors of the court.

How does the maintenance court make a decision?

Now, this is where it becomes challenging. The maintenance court can only make an order against a parent if there is evidence that he or she can afford the maintenance claimed, and obviously, the amount claimed is fair. The problem in practice is, the mother alleges that the father can afford the child maintenance, but she has no concrete evidence to back it up. The father is also not forthcoming, and only shows evidence that he cannot afford the amount claimed. The mother knows that he can afford the required amount due to his standard of living and what she experienced while they lived together.

What tips are there for the mother in maintenance matters?

What follows is a list of things you can do, either yourself or through the maintenance court. However please note that the court won’t entertain your application for child maintenance should it be excessive. In other words, if you know the father cannot afford the amount claimed, or that you are intentionally claiming too much; then, in that case, you would be wasting your time. If you have a legal representative, you would be wasting money as well.

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Maintenance Court Investigator

Insist that the maintenance court instruct the maintenance investigator to investigate the financial affairs of the other parent. This you should even more so insist on if the father does not even provide the court with a copy of his salary slip and outline of expenses.

The father’s employer

Ask the maintenance court to issue a subpoena against the father’s employer for the salary advice of the father. Also, request details of the father’s pension interest the father may have.

The father’s banking account

Obtain the father’s bank statements. Here you should ask the court to subpoena various banking institutions for bank statements of the father. Bank statements hold in them valuable information about the lifestyle of a person. You may find out that the father spends half his money on his cell phone or luxury clothing. You can use this information to show the court that the father can tighten his belt and spend more money on his child. What sometimes happens is, you may find additional income coming into the father’s banking account.

Father’s Credit Profile

Have the maintenance court obtain a credit profile of the father. From the profile, valuable information can be obtained. For example, where he last applied for credit, employment and residential details. If the father says he does not have money, but he applied for credit to purchase a new car, clearly there is money.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.)

These days, many people publish their lives on social media. If the father, in this case, keeps loading pictures and posts of how hadvice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorcee lives the good life; that information may be used to show the maintenance court that the father lives a life different than what he wants the court and you to believe.

Many people also make use of LinkedIn accounts. On it, they provide updated employment details. This would be useful to show the court should the father say he is an admin clerk. but on LinkedIn tell the world he is a manager.

Property Search in maintenance matters

What may be useful, is to do a property search on the father. Here you would find out what property that person owns. For example, the father may rent a house, but own a house in a different province where he obtains rent. That house he could have inherited.

Other tips and tricks in child maintenance matters

Each case is different. What would work in one maintenance matter, won’t work in another. For example, if someone is self-employed, and only get paid with cash, the dynamics are different. There won’t be any bank statements or payslips. In such a case, you need to be creative. Maybe ask questions to clients of the father and find out what he does and charges. If you can obtain the names of people the father does business with; that would be very useful. You may provide that information to the maintenance court and the investigator could follow up on it. If the father sees that you are getting somewhere, he may decide to pay a fair amount.

Final words in child maintenance matters

Your maintenance case is largely dependent on you proving that your child needs the requested amount. If you do not have proof, or cannot prove it, even if you show that the father can afford it, the court won’t order him to pay it. The court would only order him to pay what is fair and proved. Therefore, always ensure that you keep proof of your income and expenses up to date and ready to provide it to court.

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Have a family Law appointment with us

We have an online appointments system which enables you to save valuable time and cut straight to the chase. There is, therefore, no need for you to visit our offices (unless it is best for you to do so, or is your most preferred option).
You may set up telephonic or video consultations should you wish to do so. You can, therefore, stay in the office or on the couch in the comfort of your own home when dealing with us. We are therefore physical, online, set-up and ready to meet with you. Make your appointment online for a consultation today.

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16 thoughts on “Tricks and tips on how to win your child maintenance case

  1. I had a woman who was Pregnant and she was not sure until the baby was born and she told me is my baby but on the Child birth certificate,she gave the baby her family name and on the mothers side she filled her name but on fathers side she never fill anyone,and she demand child support,but i told him to go and fix child burth certificate on thr fathers side bcoz i cant support a child who i real dont have any prove if is my child although i cant afford to do DNA as is too expensive.what will happen to me as a father who im ready to suppport my child if the birth certificate will prove me as a father??what will happen if my baby mother send me to court with empty father details birth certificates?

  2. Kindly advise husband has two kids from another lady ..the kids are currently living with us and hasn’t seen her for over 3 weeks ..she has sent a maintenance order against my husband even though he takes care of the children. Please advise on dealing with this situation. What evidence can be taken to court to prove kids are with us

    1. If there is a dispute at court as to where the child lives, then he can have a social worker provide a short report after visiting the homes.

  3. Good day

    iam in bit of a stressful situation I was traditionally married to the father of my son in December 2018 and moved in stayed together even before then we recently had a fight now in November 2019 and we I moved back home and he also moved out to stay at his desired place he hasn’t given me any money for child support or let alone buy the Childs needs he has him on medical aid and is currently paying R600 for that and I have to pay the nanny and buy the Childs things and now I couldn’t take him to day care because he said he wont maintain the child and that he needed his things back from where we were staying previously I did not stop him from getting his things and now he hasn’t done anything for the child ever since. please advise on how to deal with this

  4. I am looking for someone to draw up an agreement on maintenance with the father. He earns nearly double my earnings but expects me to pay half of everything. I am a Preschool teachers simply cannot afford that on my salary.
    I live in Durban. Please may you forward me a person to contact

  5. Can I still ask for child maintenance if we once agreed on doing an abortion then I informed him of the change of mind regarding keeping the baby

  6. Father of my child doesn’t wanna do anything. The child was staying with his family for 6 months and I went and fetch her but she didn’t have food nor pampers nor medication nor proper clothes. I told him to buy atleast clothes and food a child he said he doesn’t see a need to do that. Do I was wondering if I can get help with child support maintenance procedures.

    1. Good day. A parent must make an application for a maintenance order at a Magistrate’s Court. Make sure to include all the relevant documentation in your application.

  7. Don’t seem to find anything that protects an unmarried father from being exploited? Mother hardly ever worked in 7 years, married wealthy and can afford a rich lifestyle in USA and now demands more and more maintenance – also threatens contact with his child if he doesn’t pay. Father has more than generously contributed to maintenance since the child’s birth. Now they are in USA, father offered R4000 a month, and R2000 a month to savings for one flight a year to see his child. She has now gone legal to dispute maintenance.

  8. my bby daddy has threatened to resign if I continue with the court maintenance what should I do

  9. My son is 23 yrs, not employed, have 3 children, drop out of college. I still pay maintenance, why. How can I stop it.

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