Child Support Laws in South Africa

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Child support, also known as child maintenance, in South Africa is ordered by the courts. Child maintenance is expected from both parents and includes families that have children born out of wedlock. Child maintenance is the ongoing financial support to aid in the expenses needed to raise the child or children.


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Child maintenance is money provided by the parent who does not have the child in their custody for more than half the time as the other parent. Child maintenance aids in covering necessary living expenses for the child and is ordered by the courts after review is conducted of each parent's individual income earnings. Child maintenance can be awarded to anyone caring for the child including but not limited to other family members, religious leaders or even doctors caring for the child more than the other parent.


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To claim child maintenance in South Africa you must first apply at the Magistrate's court. It is not necessary to set an appointment and you can seek assistance from the clerk of courts to complete the proper forms. It is important to bring as much information about your personal financial information as possible to ease the process. You do not normally need a lawyer for this process as the maintenance officer will investigate your application. After the review has been made by the maintenance officer, both parents will be asked to join in an informal meeting to decide maintenance. If the parents cannot come to an agreement then the case is passed on to the magistrate for final decision.


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If maintenance has to be decided by the magistrate it then falls into a court order. If one of the parents does not appear for the case, the magistrate can order child maintenance anyway. If the parent ordered to pay child maintenance refuses to pay within 10 days after the court order, the court assumes the right to garnish the contempt parent's wages or sell their goods to obtain past dues. The court must be notified if you do not receive child maintenance after 10 days of the court order.