DIVORCE, CHILD AND FAMILY LAW

Family Law encompasses a wide range of legal matters that require the assistance of a skilled attorney. Our experienced Family and Divorce Law team is able to deal with any family law issues that arise, including:

FAMILY LAW

Antenuptial contracts JG

Antenuptial Contracts 

Uncontested divorce v2

Uncontested Divorce 

Contested divorces v2

Contested Divorce

Maintenance Court applications v2

Maintenance Court Applications 

Childrens Court (1) v2

Parenting Plans 

Domestic Violence and Harassment applications v2

Domestic Violence and Harassment Application

Alternative dispute resolution and mediation v2

Alternative Dispute Resolution & Mediation 

Life partnership agreements and cohabitation agreements v2

Life Partnership Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements

Various other High Court processes v2

Various Other High Court Processes 

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FAQS

Failure to pay maintenance in accordance with a court order is a civil and criminal offence. In terms of the Maintenance Act, if, after 10 days upon which the maintenance becomes due and payable, it has not been paid, you can approach the Maintenance Court to enforce the order.

Upon application to the Maintenance Court, the maintenance officer will conduct an investigation into the defaulting party’s non-compliance with the maintenance order. The court can either issue a warrant of execution against the defaulter’s moveable assets, an order for the attachment of their salary or any debts owing to them. If the court grants an order to attach emoluments, the defaulter’s employer will be instructed to make payments on their behalf, including interest thereon and costs. Non-compliance with a divorce order is also contempt of court and the offender may be imprisoned.  

Depending on your circumstances, you could discuss the issue with your former spouse and agree to jointly vary the terms of the order. If discussing the situation with your former spouse is not an option, you may approach the Maintenance Court to request a review of the order. In this instance, you will need to provide substantial proof that your financial circumstances have changed to show that you can no longer afford the payments.

No. The payment of maintenance and contact are two separate issues. If you default on a maintenance payment, you could have your assets attached, be held in contempt of court, or have a criminal complaint filed against you. It is advisable to consult with a family law attorney to resolve the issue of contact being withheld.

No. The payment of maintenance and care and contact are two separate issues and should never be leveraged against each other. Instead, you must approach the High Court or the Maintenance Court to enforce the existing maintenance order.

Yes. Maintenance payments are a legal requirement and not subject to a parent having a relationship or regular contact with the child/children.

Both parents have an obligation to maintain the child, which is determined pro rata according to their respective means. If an agreement cannot be reached in this regard,  either party may approach the Maintenance Court for an order regulating the maintenance payments.

The duty to support a child rests on both parents, irrespective of whether the child was adopted or born out of wedlock. Parents’ maintenance obligations are determined by taking into account the reasonable cost of the child and apportioning such costs between the parents according to their respective means. At a minimum, the reasonable costs of a child include the costs of the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, accommodation, medical care, and education. The reasonable costs of the child can, however, entail more than the aforementioned necessities, depending on the parents’ standard of living. There is no “standard maintenance” that a parent must pay nor is there a maintenance calculator that can be used to determine what amount is payable. The amount of maintenance payable by each parent is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Any party to a maintenance order may apply for a variation of that order, provided that good cause can be shown to justify such variation. Generally, ‘good cause’ constitutes proof that either one of the parents’ financial positions drastically changed since the original order was granted or that the reasonable needs of the child changed. To apply to vary an existing maintenance order, the standard application for the ‘Substitution or Discharge of an Existing Maintenance Order’ must be completed and submitted to the clerk of the Maintenance Court.