Maintenance – Time to Revisit your Maintenance Obligations

There can be no doubt that this National Lockdown has created many uncertainties regarding the do’s and don’ts of maintenance.

Further, many South African citizens have taken a pay cut, been retrenched or are simply not receiving a salary due to the financial impacts of the National Lockdown.

We have therefore determined a few steps that can be taken by either a party not receiving maintenance or a party not able to make payment of maintenance:

  1. In as far as possible, abide by your maintenance obligations. The National Lockdown has not suspended any maintenance orders nor is it an opportunity for a party to cease or reduce maintenance payments.
  2. If you are unable to make payment of your maintenance obligations due to a salary cut or lack of income, inform the other party timeously. Do not wait for the last minute and spring this information on the other party as this will no doubt create more animosity.
  3. If you are unable to meet your maintenance obligations and cannot reach a compromise with the other party, approach the maintenance Court timeously for a variation of the existing maintenance order alternatively for the Maintenance Court to put an order in place. Make sure to have your bank statements, proof of expenses and proof of income ready so as to avoid numerous postponements.
  4. If you are not receiving maintenance as per usual or in accordance with a Court order, and you are unable to reach agreement with the other party, approach the Maintenance Court timeously to either put a maintenance order in place (if there isn’t one) or compel the defaulting party to make payment of the maintenance and/or hold a financial enquiry as set out in the Maintenance Act.

Parties should attempt to resolve the issue of maintenance amicably during these times as the Maintenance Court is no doubt inundated with matters at the moment.

Should you require assistance with the varying of an existing maintenance order, applying for a maintenance order or compelling compliance with an existing order, please feel free to contact us.