Our expert says:
Family law expert
You should lodge a complaint with your local maintenance court so that it can be established whether your ex is indeed not earning an income. A maintenance officer will investigate the complaint and may institute an enquiry in the maintenance court area in which your spouse resides. If your complaint is justified, the maintenance officer will require your spouse to appear before a magistrate. After considering the evidence, the court will make an order as it deems fit.
A person who fails to make a payment in accordance with a court or maintenance order is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment or to imprisonment without the option of a fine unless the defence that failure to make a payment in terms of a maintenance order is because of lack of means. Your are entitled to lay a criminal charge against your spouse if he fails to adhere to the terms of the decree of divorce or any order made by a maintenance court. Although this step will likely result in your spouse's being arrested it will not necessarily result in your receiving payment. But on a practical level, however, if your spouse is arrested and he immediately pays all the arrears it is more than likely that the state will drop the charge so this is yet another lever that you have to exert pressure to obtain payment.Even if the defaulting person is unemployed, he/she is still legally obliged to pay
maintenance, although the amount is changed according to the person’s means. However, if a person proves that he/she has no means to pay maintenance and that it is not due to unwillingness to work or wrongdoing on his/her behalf, then a court will not enforce a maintenance order.
For more information on maintenance go to: http://www.edivorce.co.za/maintenance-Manual.php
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