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Question
Posted by: Ang | 2010/05/11

Maintenance and verbal abuse

Hi there, My ex and I have a 4yr old daughter. We never got married although we planned too. We''ve been apart for 4 years. We dont have any legal document regarding maintenance and custody. Our daughter lives with me and spends every 2nd weekend with her dad. He does pay maintenance but only an amount which he thinks is reasonable. So 1 month if hes not happy with me he''ll pay R500 and if the next month hes even more unhappy with me he will only pay R150. Some months hes in a good mood and will give me R700 to R1000. I dont go out or go on holiday or buy myself clothes. I use the money for my daugher only. But he thinks I go out partying thats why he changes the maintenance amounts. It feels like hes trying to control my life or hes jealous of me having a social life?? He owns his own business and earns around R30 000 a month and I earn R4500. He pays shcool fees and pays for some sport activities then he gives me anything between R150 to R1000 maintenance, depending on his mood. Is R1000 the maximum he needs to pay? And how do I get him to stop treating me so badly? On some occasions when our daughter is with him he''d phone me and tell me hes bringing her home and i better be there in 20mins. and if i tell him Im busy and cant go home he''d call me names and swear at me and tell me that im a dissapointment as a mother etc. And I must change my plans and get home or he''ll take our daughter away from me. I feel like im trapped. I know he cant just take her away but Im so hurt about what he puts me thru and how my daughter feels when she hears how he carries on.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

Go to the Maintenance Office at the Maintenance Court in your area to apply for the court order. You will need:

* The name and address of the person against whom the order is being made, and the details of where they work
* Your identity document
* The child's birth certificates
* A letter of attendance from the school principal for any school-going child
* Proof of your income (like a salary or
* Your papers, receipts and accounts, showing all the things you must pay every month

The maintenance officer will send a summons to the person against whom the order is being made asking them to come to the maintenance office on a certain date.

On the date, you and the other party must go to the office to determine how much that person must pay for the children.

The maintenance officer will help you work out all the things you must pay for every month, how much money you earn and how much money the other parent earns.

If the person against whom the order is being made says that they are not the parent of the child, you need to ask the court to order a paternity test.

If you agree how much the person must pay for the children, the maintenance officer will get both of you to sign a paper called an order of court. This says that the other party must pay the agreed amount of money every week or every month.

If you do not agree, or if the other person does not come to the office on that date, then the officer will say your case must go to the Maintenance Court. The court sends notices to both parties telling you both to come to the Maintenance Court on a certain date.

The magistrate will listen to both the parents' stories. They will ask both parties to show how much they earn and how much they pay every month for things like rent, electricity and food.

The magistrate then decides how much the other person must pay for the children. The magistrate will make this amount an order of court, in writing.

The person against whom the order is being made must pay the maintenance amount every week or month to the maintenance office. You must then collect the money from the maintenance office. The money can also be paid into your bank account. This will save you from having to collect the money from the office.

Regarding the abuse, I suggest that you approach the Family Court and obtain a domestic violence interdict against him on account of the abuse exerted by him on you.
Based on his relationship with you he is entitled to contact with the child and you can't refuse him access merely because he fails to pay maintenance. Tactically, however, if you do refuse that he sees the child he will have to go to court to enforce his rights. This may bring things to a head. But don't use the child as a pawn to manipultae the father. Preferably, if you can, consult a family law specialist to arrive at a win-win solution that benefits mom and dad and the child.

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: AMY | 2010/05/11

First, you need to go to the local magistrates court and get a protection order against him.
Secondly, contact the family advocate to draw up acess/ visitation. Phone as I am not sure the procedure but I know u sometimes wait up to 2 months before getting an appointment. While waiting for the FA go to the maintenance court and they will assist you with the documentation.

Reply to AMY
Posted by: G-Dad | 2010/05/11

He can not just take your child away unless he has a court order, I doubt that the courts will grant such an order. Unless he can proof that you are unstable, have mental illness or using drugs.


If he earns R30000 per month then is he paying far too little maintenance, I suggest that you see the maintenance office at your local courts they will help you and guide you with the calculation of a reasonable maintenance amount.

For the abusive language I also suggest that you get a protection order as well, all of this is free of charge.

Reply to G-Dad
Posted by: family law expert | 2010/05/11

Go to the Maintenance Office at the Maintenance Court in your area to apply for the court order. You will need:

* The name and address of the person against whom the order is being made, and the details of where they work
* Your identity document
* The child's birth certificates
* A letter of attendance from the school principal for any school-going child
* Proof of your income (like a salary or
* Your papers, receipts and accounts, showing all the things you must pay every month

The maintenance officer will send a summons to the person against whom the order is being made asking them to come to the maintenance office on a certain date.

On the date, you and the other party must go to the office to determine how much that person must pay for the children.

The maintenance officer will help you work out all the things you must pay for every month, how much money you earn and how much money the other parent earns.

If the person against whom the order is being made says that they are not the parent of the child, you need to ask the court to order a paternity test.

If you agree how much the person must pay for the children, the maintenance officer will get both of you to sign a paper called an order of court. This says that the other party must pay the agreed amount of money every week or every month.

If you do not agree, or if the other person does not come to the office on that date, then the officer will say your case must go to the Maintenance Court. The court sends notices to both parties telling you both to come to the Maintenance Court on a certain date.

The magistrate will listen to both the parents' stories. They will ask both parties to show how much they earn and how much they pay every month for things like rent, electricity and food.

The magistrate then decides how much the other person must pay for the children. The magistrate will make this amount an order of court, in writing.

The person against whom the order is being made must pay the maintenance amount every week or month to the maintenance office. You must then collect the money from the maintenance office. The money can also be paid into your bank account. This will save you from having to collect the money from the office.

Regarding the abuse, I suggest that you approach the Family Court and obtain a domestic violence interdict against him on account of the abuse exerted by him on you.
Based on his relationship with you he is entitled to contact with the child and you can't refuse him access merely because he fails to pay maintenance. Tactically, however, if you do refuse that he sees the child he will have to go to court to enforce his rights. This may bring things to a head. But don't use the child as a pawn to manipultae the father. Preferably, if you can, consult a family law specialist to arrive at a win-win solution that benefits mom and dad and the child.

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za

Reply to family law expert

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