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October 16, 2012

Child maintenance – Who is liable (and who isn’t)?

When you need financial help to support your child, who can be forced to contribute?

A recent High Court judgment, which has received extensive media attention because of its negative impact on the right of grandparents to claim foster care grants, has shone a spotlight on the question of who has a legal “duty of support” towards children.

In broad terms, the following are liable:

  • Biological parents (whether married or not),
  • Adoptive parents,
  • Then (failing parents able to provide support in part or in full) grandparents – both maternal and paternal, regardless of whether or not the parents were married,
  • Failing them, great-grandparents,
  • Failing them, siblings.

Note that step-parents have only a limited duty of support in “narrowly defined circumstances”, whilst other relatives (such as aunts and uncles) have no legal duty of support at all.

Granny and Grandpa – beware! 

Your retirement funding is in for a serious knock if, say, your son divorces or fathers a child out of wedlock (or is alleged to have done so) and can’t make regular child maintenance payments.  And if that happens to you, you are in for a long-term obligation at precisely the wrong time of your life!

For more information contact Andre du Toit at +27(0) 28 271 3031, Jacques du Toit at    +27(0) 28 312 3626  or Charl Cilliers at +27(0) 28 212 1060.

© DotNews, 2005-2012. This newsletter is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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