What is Maintenance?
Maintenance is a legal obligation to provide another person with housing, food, clothing, education, basic medical care and any other necessary essentials.
In terms of the Maintenance Act, persons who can be supported include, Minor Children, Spouses and any other person legally entitled to Maintenance.
Children have a right to be supported financially by both parents, whether they were born in or out of marriage, or adopted.
What you need for a Maintenance Application:
- Certified copies of you Identity Document/ Passport
- Certified copy of your child/ children’s Birth Certificate
- All you monthly income and expenses for three months such as:
- Accommodation Costs;
- School fees, stationary, school uniform;
- extra mural activities;
- Water and lights
- Rates and taxes
- Clothing costs
- Travelling costs
- Medical expenses, etc
All the above mentioned documents must be complied and taken to court along with a commissioned application. The Maintenance offer will issue the application and produce a directive to be served on the Respondent with a notice to appear in court on a particular date.
Non-compliance with directive issued by the maintenance officer is an offense punishable by law.
On the date of appearance, the maintenance officer will investigate your complaint to determine if you have a valid claim against the respondent. If there is a legal obligation upon the respondent the maintenance officer will then conduct a mediation session to determine if there is a prospect of settlement and an agreed maintenance order.
If the person liable does not agree to consent to the claim for maintenance the maintenance officer will refer your application to maintenance court for a financial inquiry to determine the needs of the applicant and the means available to provide maintenance from both parties. Where the respondent is found liable to pay maintenance, the court will make an order against the respondent to contribute a specific amount to maintenance.
The court can order maintenance to be paid in one of the following ways:
- Garnishee Order – Employer is ordered by the court to deduct the money directly from the respondents salary;
- Direct payment into a bank account nominated by yourself
Maintenance applications finalisation depends on the co-operation of the parties. Should an agreement be reached during medication the maintenance application will be finalised on the same day and be made an order of court. Should the application be opposed a full financial inquiry will need to be done which can take several months as several documents need to be discovered by the respondent.