Our expert says:
Family law expert
Gathering from the facts that you had given me, but without knowing the income of the children's father as well as your expences makes it rather difficult for me to be able to advise exactly how much maintenace should be paid. However, having said that the amounts currently paid, seems a little low.
You may claim reasonable support that is necessary for providing the children who have a right to maintenance with a proper living and upbringing. This includes providing necessities such as food, clothing and housing, as well as paying for a proper education. The court may grant an order for the payment of medical expenses, or may order that the child be registered on the medical scheme of one of the parties as a dependant. To enable the court to grant a fair maintenance order, both parties must provide the court with proof of their expenses.
Steps to follow when applying for maintenance:
- There are special maintenance courts at every magistrate's court. Maintenance officers work in these courts and help people who want to apply for maintenance. They also deal with applications to increase or reduce maintenance payments. You will need to go to the maintenance office at the magistrate's court in the area in which you live and fill in Form A: Application for a maintenance order.
- Ensure you have the following documentation with you when you approach the court:
1. The name and address of the person against whom the order is being made and the details of where they work (without this information the court is not able to serve a summons on the person);
2. Your identity document;
3. The children's birth certificates;
4. A letter of attendance from the school principal for any school-going child;
5. A copy of the divorce order (if applicable);
6. Proof of your income (such as a salary slip); and
7. Proof of all your monthly expenses, such as receipts for food purchases, school fees, clothing, electricity and or rent/bond payments, et cetera.
- Once you have filled in the application, the maintenance officer will provide you with a reference number and set a date on which you must return to the office. The maintenance officer will then send a summons to the person against whom the order is being made, instructing him or her to appear at the office on the set date.
- On that date, both parties must go to the court's maintenance office to determine how much maintenance must be paid. The maintenance officer will assist you, taking into account how much money you earn and your monthly expenses, as well as the income and expenditure of the other parent.
- If the parties cannot reach agreement, or if the other party does not come to the maintenance office on that date, the case will go to the maintenance court, where evidence from both parties and their witnesses will be heard.
- If the court finds the person liable for paying maintenance, it will make an order for the amount of maintenance to be paid. The court will also determine when and how maintenance payments must be made.
- The Legal Aid Board offers legal assistance. To locate your nearest Justice Centre, call 0861 053 425
- Campus law clinics also offer legal assistance
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