Child Maintenance – If the parent doesn’t pay

What if the parent doesn’t pay?

Once a court order is in place, if the parent fails to pay in accordance with the order, he/she will be in contempt of the court order. There are several options that you have when this happens. You can lay a criminal charge against the defaulting parent who will then be subject to criminal prosecution.

If the parent is formally employed you can make application to the Maintenance Court for a garnishee order to be issued. This is an order which will be served on the employer of the parent. The employer will be ordered to deduct from that parent’s monthly salary the maintenance which he/she should be paying, and to pay the funds directly to you.

Alternatively, the Maintenance Court can issue a warrant of execution which authorises the Sheriff of the court to demand the outstanding monies from the defaulting parent. If the funds are not paid over, the Sheriff will make an inventory of all the movable goods at the home of the defaulter and you can then instruct the Sheriff to remove the goods, sell them on auction and pay over to you the funds raised on auction. If the defaulting party owns an immovable property you can also apply to court for permission to sell the immovable property in order to recover the arrear maintenance.

It is evident that the issue of maintenance can be highly contentious. However, with perseverance and the correct legal advice you can ensure that your children are properly cared for.

by Sheri Breslaw is a Senior Associate at Fairbridges Attorneys, in Cape Town.  Read more here…