Your kids cannot eat your excuses for lunch

05 October 2023 ,  Aqeelah Petersen 762
Children are dependent on adults. This is a fact, and in an attempt to protect them, the law regards the rights of children to be of paramount importance. This includes maintenance obligations. 

The obligation to maintain a child rests on both parents and this is of course in accordance with each parent’s means. Unemployment is not an excuse. If one parent is unable to contribute, then the responsibility become that of the grandparents. If neither the parent or grandparents are in a position to provide financial support, the duty will pass to the child’s siblings, and also of course according to their respective means. The reason for this is that the duty to support a child is based on a blood relationship and not necessarily on affinity.

A child is entitled to reasonable maintenance to provide for necessities which includes clothing, housing, dental and medical care, education and training, and, where applicable, recreation. What is reasonable will depend on the family’s standard of living, the parent’s respective income and the cost of living. The maintenance is usually paid to the parent or guardian in whose primary care the child is. A maintenance order is never cast in stone and various factors can influence the substitution thereof. A standard maintenance order would make provision for escalation in line with the inflation rate (consumer price index). It is an attempt to ensure that maintenance is adjusted regularly according to the ever increasing cost of living. 

The enforcement of maintenance payments can become quite a headache. Often those liable to pay maintenance are either full of excuses, refuses to pay or simply neglect to fulfil their obligations. Should you find yourself in a situation where one parent refuses to comply with their maintenance obligations or allege that you are not complying, it is best to consult your attorney for advice and the way forward. 
Related Expertise: Divorce and Maintenance