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How To Enforce a Maintenance Order

At the outset of this article “How To Enforce a Maintenance Order”, it should be noted that failure to pay maintenance when the court has ordered payment, is a criminal offence and one may be jailed for failure to pay maintenance.

Enforcement of maintenance orders is dealt with by section 26 to section 30 of the Maintenance Act 99 of 1998 (hereinafter “the act”).

A maintenance order can be enforced in one of the following ways:

  1. Approach the maintenance court in order to lay a formal complaint.
  • The maintenance officer will then send a notice to the defaulting parent, advising them to attend court on a specific date in order to explain why maintenance was or is not paid.
  1. Request the court to make an order against the defaulting parent’s salary.
  • The maintenance will then be directly paid from the defaulting parent’s salary.
  1. Issuing a writ of execution against the property which belongs to the defaulting parent.
  • The sheriff will attach property which belongs to the defaulting parent and sell the attached property in execution in order for the outstanding maintenance to be settled.
  1. By the attachment of emoluments as contemplated in section 28.
  • Upon obtaining a court order, the defaulting parent’s employer can be requested to make full payment of the maintenance or a portion thereof to the parent whom the child is residing with, on a month to month basis.
  1. By the attachment of any debt as contemplated in section 30.
  • Upon obtaining a court order, the defaulting parent may have the outstanding maintenance amount attached, which attachment will state that a certain amount is owed, and is to be paid on a certain date together with interest thereon.

Please do not hesitate to contact our offices regarding “How To Enforce a Maintenance Order” should you require assistance in enforcing maintenance orders.



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