Grandparents – When Must You Pay Maintenance?

Grandparents – When Must You Pay Maintenance?

One wonders how many grandparents are aware of (let alone plan for) the possibility that they may have a legal duty to support their grandchildren in certain circumstances. It could be a heavy blow – trying to navigate one’s retirement financially can be hard enough without suddenly having to maintain not only yourself and your spouse but also a grandchild, possibly for decades. And what about the risk that when you die your deceased estate might remain liable – a drain, possibly a critical one, on your estate’s sufficiency to support your surviving spouse? A recent Supreme Court of Appeal…
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Collecting Maintenance in Hard Times – Threaten Jail Time

Collecting Maintenance in Hard Times – Threaten Jail Time

Getting money out of serial maintenance defaulters is a notoriously difficult exercise, but even the most recalcitrant and cunning dodger will baulk at the prospect of being locked up for contempt of court. And our courts, mindful of their position as “upper guardian” to all children, have shown again and again that they will have no hesitation in acting firmly against the sort of bad-faith defaulters we are talking about. What must you prove? You must prove not only a deliberate breach of the court order, but also that the breach was “wilful” and in bad faith. Although normally in…
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When is a Debtor “Insolvent”? A Case of Arrear Maintenance Illustrates

When is a Debtor “Insolvent”? A Case of Arrear Maintenance Illustrates

If you are owed maintenance you have a variety of enforcement options open to you and should ask your lawyer for advice on which is the best for your particular claim and circumstances. A recent High Court judgment of V v V (7833/2016) [2018] ZAGPPHC 505 confirms that one of the weapons in your legal armoury is the sequestration application. And as the defaulter’s desperate attempt to avoid sequestration in this particular case illustrates, even just the threat of sequestration can be a powerful motivator to settle up, regardless of whether your claim is based on maintenance arrears or on any…
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Child Maintenance in Arrears? The Contempt of Court Enforcement Option

Child Maintenance in Arrears? The Contempt of Court Enforcement Option

Our law, in protecting the interests of children in particular, provides you with an array of options when it comes to enforcing payment of maintenance orders.  One of them is to ask the court to jail the defaulter for “contempt of court”. The idea of course is that the threat of a stint behind bars is likely to extract payment out of even the wiliest of maintenance dodgers. How does it work and what must you prove?  A High Court case Deenanath v Deenanath and Others (11852/2015) [2016] ZAKZDHC 44 illustrates - “Pay up or go to prison” – what you…
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In the Wings – New ways to chase Maintenance Defaulters

In the Wings – New ways to chase Maintenance Defaulters

The latest amendments to the Maintenance Act, which was adopted on the 9th of September, will have maintenance defaulters clutching at straws. The amendment is aimed at making it easier to enforce payment of arrear debts. Of particular significance is the provision which allows defaulters to be registered with credit bureaus, which essentially prevents them from obtaining further credit until the outstanding amount has been settled. In spite of the fact it has yet be gazetted, the amendments have been welcomed with open arms and can be seen as a victory for society as a whole (unless you’re a maintenance…
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