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Question
Posted by: AF | 2010/06/14

bio mom will not share financial and care reponsibility for child

my husband had 2 children out of wedlock. the children are 19 and 15. their mother has full custody of them as they were unmarried. 7 yrs ago the 2 children came to live with my husband and I because the mother no longer wanted to care for them.she has to date not paid a cent towards them. my husband and i carry the full financial responsibility for them. she also does not want to take responsibility for custody.she is in and out of work but even when she works will not provide ny part of their finances.do we have any leg to stand on in trying to get her to provide part of the maintenance for the 15 yr old and for her to be bound to looking after the 15 yr old over weekends and other days when necessary?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

BOTH parents have an obligation to pay maintenance, that includes the the natural mother of the children. Altough your one child is above the age of 18, he still has a claim for maintenance if he is not self-supporting yet, unfortunately to pursue a claim for maintenance on his behalf, he will need to lay the claim against the mother, and in the instance of the other child, your husband can lay such claim. You can go to your local magistrates court and lay a claim against her. Failure to pay maintenance is a criminal offence. The only acceptable defense is the lack of ability to pay. But inability to pay is only acceptable if it’s not due to misconduct on her part, or to an unwillingness to work and earn money to pay child or spousal support. If, for example, the money was lost through gambling or spent on other things, she would have caused her own lack of means and would still be convicted.

Bertus Preller
Family Law Attorney
KWJ Inc.
bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: family law expert | 2010/06/19

BOTH parents have an obligation to pay maintenance, that includes the the natural mother of the children. Altough your one child is above the age of 18, he still has a claim for maintenance if he is not self-supporting yet, unfortunately to pursue a claim for maintenance on his behalf, he will need to lay the claim against the mother, and in the instance of the other child, your husband can lay such claim. You can go to your local magistrates court and lay a claim against her. Failure to pay maintenance is a criminal offence. The only acceptable defense is the lack of ability to pay. But inability to pay is only acceptable if it’s not due to misconduct on her part, or to an unwillingness to work and earn money to pay child or spousal support. If, for example, the money was lost through gambling or spent on other things, she would have caused her own lack of means and would still be convicted.

Bertus Preller
Family Law Attorney
KWJ Inc.
bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

Reply to family law expert
Posted by: Molly | 2010/06/15

DH and I had such a huge fight about the same thing last night, I spend most of my time in the garage washing clothes. Can SOMEONE please advise us what to do. I''m having the kids full time, and love them like my own - don''t mind paying for them, but I also feel that she can never reclaim her " rights"  if she does not take financial responsibility!! We are not asking for thousands and we are willing to pay half of everything - but she only pays R600 a month towards 1 school.

Reply to Molly

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