How to Apply for a Child Maintenance Order in South Africa

Applying for a maintenance order in South Africa can be a daunting exercise especially if you don’t know where to start or what is required for one to apply. This article will address the step-by-step process of how one must apply for a maintenance order and the requirements thereof.

First and foremost, it is imperative to note that a duty to maintain a child exists irrespective of the child's parent being unmarried or whether the child is adopted. A child must be supported and maintained by his biological parents or grandparents (if the biological parents cannot support and maintain the child), or legal guardian of the child.

Application Process

In bringing an application for a maintenance order, you must complete and submit J101, Form A: Application for Maintenance Order, at the Magistrate’s Court in the district where you reside. This form can be obtained at the maintenance office court. The Maintenance Clerk will then submit the form to the Maintenance Officer for review and registration.

In addition to the J101 Form A, you will need to submit the following documents:

1. Your ID, passport or driver's licence and or immigration permit.

2. Your contact details, such as telephone number, home, and work address.

3. Certified copies of the child/children’s birth certificates.

4. Three months proof of income (payslip) or the signed letter from your employer confirming your income.

5. Three months of your latest bank statements.

6. A list of your income and expenditure, e.g. water and lights bill, till slips for groceries, school expenses; medical and travel receipts, clothing accounts, etc.

7. Full name and proof of the physical and/or work address of the person responsible for paying the maintenance; and

8. A copy of the Decree of Divorce (in the case of divorce).

Once you have been given a reference number, the Magistrates’ Court will issue a summons to the Respondent (parent or guardian against whom a maintenance order is sought) to appear before the court on a specified date. The Respondent then has a choice either to agree to pay the maintenance, as claimed, or contest the matter in court.