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How to apply for child maintenance in South Africa

Mumtaz Moosa | mumtazs@icloud.com
16 August 2023 | 12:00 CAT
2 min read

Photo Credit: Pagel Schulenberg

With the passing of Women’s Month, applying for child support for many women in South Africa remains one of the most daunting tasks. Daily, there are several requests on forums for assistance in applying for child support when one parent is unwilling to help with the rising cost of living.

In South Africa, both parents are liable for the child’s care and provisions for education, medical, housing, and clothing within reason. The cost is usually split between two parents when a marriage has been dissolved.

Both parents’ income and expenses will be considered. Courts suggest that a discussion happens first, and if an agreement cannot be reached, to approach the magistrate court.

Many would assume a legal representative who costs thousands is needed, but one can lodge a maintenance claim. They would have to apply to the closest magistrate or family court near them; most forms can be found online via the court’s pages.

One thing that I must mention is that when lodging a claim, please take with you your identity document, proof of residence, as well as expenses for the child and your proof of income, six months’ bank statements, the child’s birth certificate and a certified copy, and other parent’s name, surname, and address if possible.

A date will be provided, and the court will need both parents to be present.

In South Africa, the law states that even adult children can claim against both parents for educational and living needs until they become self-sufficient or the court rules otherwise.

Legal aid is available for those needing a lawyer but cannot afford one; a criterion must be met to access Legal Aid South Africa, or the front desk at the Magistrate court can help you.

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