Parenting is not a bed of roses for every parent. Some moms and dads deal with a dead beat parent who fails to take accountability for raising their child. In as much as it does not only take money to raise a child, finances play a big role in the rearing of a baby.
And unfortunately, a lot of single parents do not know what their rights are when it comes to making their partners take accountability. Child maintenance is one such instance.
According to the Department of Justice, child maintenance is “the obligation to provide another person, for example, a minor, with housing, food, clothing, education, and medical care, or with the means that are necessary for providing the person with these essentials”.
Which necessities can you claim for?
How can you go about claiming child maintenance?
Step 1: Go to the relevant magistrate court and complete and submit Form A: Application for a maintenance order (J101).
Step 2: Submit proof of your monthly income and expenses, such as receipts for food purchases, electricity and/or rent bill payments.
Step 3: A court date will be set for you and your partner to appear in court, and a judge will also issue a court order with an amount to be paid by the other parent.
He/she then has a choice.
i) Pay the amount as per the court order
ii) Contest the amount in court where the magistrate will hear arguments from both parties.
If the partner agrees to the amount “the court will also determine when and how maintenance payments must be made” according to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
Therefore, not all cases appear in court.
The amount can either be paid to the:
i) Directly to the person that filed the claim
ii) Magistrate office account
The ordered amount can also be garnished, meaning deducted directly from the salary of the person liable to pay it. This is in accordance to the new Maintenance Act, 1998.