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Justice Services for Women in South Africa - Maintenance

Maintenance is the obligation to provide another person, for example a child, with housing, food, clothing, education and medical care

Maintenance is the obligation to provide another person, for example a child, with housing, food, clothing, education and medical care.

Did you know that the maintenance application service is free of charge?

1. Application

Go to your nearest Magistrate Court to make an application. You will need, among others:

  • The birth certificate/s of the child/ children, your identity document;
  • Proof of residence; and
  • A bank statement and the details of the parent/person responsible for the payment of maintenance money.

The maintenance clerk will then assist you in completing the forms. Your application will then be assessed by the Maintenance Officer and a reference number will be issued.

2. Investigation

The Maintenance Officer will call a meeting of the two parties, to investigate the claim.

3. Mediation and granting of an order by consent

The Maintenance Officer will try to reach an agreement/settlement on the claim. Where the parties reach an agreement/settlement, the agreement will be made an order of the court. Where parties do not reach an agreement, the matter is then referred to court for formal enquiry.

4. Court date

On the day of the court appearance, an enquiry will be held. After consideration, the Magistrate will make a maintenance order indicating the amount of maintenance to be paid.

5. Payment method

The court may order that the person responsible for payment makes payments by means of:

  • An electronic funds transfer (EFT) to the beneficiary’s bank account.
  • A deduction of the maintenance money from the respondent’s salary (garnishee order).

6. What to do when a respondent does not pay maintenance:

If the respondent fails to pay within the specified times, you should report the matter to the maintenance offices.

Source: The Department of Justice & Constitutional Development’s Justice Today Magazine, August 2017

Picture courtesy of Justice Today Magazine.