At the seat of every Magistrate’s Court lies a Maintenance Court which is presided over by a Maintenance Officer. When a person who is legally liable for maintenance towards a minor child has not been meeting his or her obligations, an application can be brought for the enforcement of arrear maintenance.

Maintenance Officer can compel arrears payments and more

A Maintenance Officer may make an order which compels the person liable to pay such maintenance in a particular form and manner and to pay arrear maintenance from the date of the child’s birth, as well as more specific orders such as compelling the non-paying parent to add the child to a medical aid scheme as a dependant.

Furthermore, the Maintenance Officer may attach annuities, provident funds and similar in order to pay for maintenance, and may also order an emolument attachment order in cases where timeous payment of maintenance is not made.

Failure to pay a maintenance order is a criminal offence

If an order to pay maintenance is already in place, failure to make such payment is contempt of a court order, which is a criminal offence. It is possible to have a writ of execution issued whereby the non-paying parent’s movable assets are attached and in terms of the Maintenance Amendment Act 9 of 2015, the non-paying parent may be reported to the credit bureau, where after he or she will be blacklisted.

Speak to a Family Law expert

We provide expert legal advice relating to all matters affecting the family, be it divorce, matrimonial or child-related. For further queries regarding assistance with maintenance arrears and parental and child rights please contact our Family Law specialist, Juan Smuts.

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The articles on these web pages are provided for general information purposes only. Whilst care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the content provided is not intended to stand alone as legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified attorney on any specific legal problem or matter.