What is Maintenance

Maintenance is the obligation to provide another person, (for example a minor), with food, housing, clothing, medical care and education, or with means that are necessary for providing the person with these essentials. This is a legal duty and also called 'the duty to maintain' or 'the duty to support'.

Who must provide maintenance?

The duty to maintain is based on blood relationship, adoption, or the fact that the parties are married to each other.

A child must be supported or maintained by?

His or her parents, whether married, living together, separated or divorced, including parents who have adopted the child; and/or the child's grandparents, whether or not the child's parents were married to each other. However, this varies from one case to another.
The duty to support a family member is not limited to supporting a child. Any family member, irrespective of his or her age, can ask any family member to support or maintain him or her, provided that the following two conditions are met:

  • The family member who claims support is unable to maintain himself or herself.
  • The family member from whom maintenance is claimed is able to afford the maintenance that is claimed.

What expenses may be claimed?

Reasonable support may be claimed that is necessary for providing the child or other person who has a right to maintenance with a proper living and upbringing. This includes providing necessities such as food, clothing and housing, as well as paying for a proper education.

To enable the court to grant a fair maintenance order, both parties must provide the court with proof of the applicable expenses. The duty to maintain is a right and you may not withhold the payment of maintenance even if the other parent:

remarries;

Is involved in another relationship;
Does not allow you to see the children; or if either party later has more children.
The duty to pay maintenance and the right of access to your child is two complete separate matters with no relation to the other. The amount of maintenance to be paid may be amended by the court if either of the parties should bring such an application.

For further information, go to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.