According to section 10 of the Maintenance Act 99 of 1998, our Courts have an obligation to hold and conduct an enquiry in order to determine the reasonable amount of maintenance, by taking the following factors in consideration:
1) In terms of 15(1) of the Maintenance Act, both parents have a legal duty to support their children irrespective of whether the child is born in or out of wedlock, or is born from a previous marriage or of an extramarital affair, or adoption. Our current legal position is that the duty to support arises from the moment the child is born or adopted and continues until the child is self-sufficient, adopted or dead.
2) The applicant who brings an application to the Maintenance Court must complete a form A, setting out their total monthly income, expenditure and the total amount of maintenance required from the respondent.
The monthly needs of the child includes but is not limited to: household expenses such as shelter, food, toiletries, clothing ;medical expenses; maternity expenses, educational costs (day-care, after-care, primary and secondary school fees, stationary, tertiary fees, extra-mural activities) and transport.
The respondent must provide the court with his/her total monthly income and expenditure. Both parties must provide the court with the documentary evidence such their latest three months bank statements, proof of income, value of their assets, expenses and liabilities.
3) The child's share of the common expenses in the household is allocated as follows: one-part per child and two-part per adult or older child. For example where a single mother lives with her two minor children, the children's portion of the total household expenses shared by all the members of the household will be allocated as 20 % per child.
4) The Formula is as follows: the net income of each parent is divided by the total net income of both parents multiply by a 100. If the total expenses of the children amount to R 3000 and the net income of the mother is 4000 and the father's net income is 8000, the mother's contribution is: 4000 ÷ (4000+8000) x 100 = 33.3 % of R 3000 which is R 999.00. The Father's contribution will be calculated as follows: 8000 ÷ (4000 + 8000) x 100 = 66.7% of 3000 which is R 2001.
5) The merits of the case is different and includes but is not limited to: the number of children and their needs, the age of the child, the standard of living of both parties, the liabilities of each parent although the child's needs come first, all source of income, the nature of maintenance which is not limited to monetary value and the financial means of the parties.
Take notice that the Maintenance Court as the legal guardian of all children, is supposed to be a less expensive, speedy and convenient process and any delay in the matter will be to the detriment of the child concerned and after considering all the relevant factors and depending on the evidence produced by both parties , the Court will grant an order that is fair and reasonable subject to the condition that it shall be increased annually according to the consumer price index and each according the needs of the child concerned.
Handbook of the South African Law of Maintenance by Dr Brigitte Clark (Author) and Publisher: LexisNexis South Africa.
Maintenance Act 99 of 1998
Children's Act 38 of 2005
Child Maintenance - HALSE, HAVEMANN & LLOYD
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