Calculating Child Support Payments

Calculating child support payments is a decision that is made by a court. Child maintenance is an obligation that is to be made by both parents. However, the amount to be paid by each parent is entirely dependent on what each parent can afford. Should the child be living with the mother, then obviously she will have to pay for certain expenses such as food etc, but just because the child is no longer with the father it does not dissolve him of his parental obligations and vice versa.

What is unfortunately often the case is that many people do not know their rights when it comes to child maintenance payments. As a result many men and women find themselves having to pay for all of their children’s expenses without the help of their former spouse or partner. Many men and women believe that if they were not married, then the obligation to pay for maintenance becomes null and void. Again, this is not the case. Should for any reason, a man or a woman neglect to pay their child maintenance, this can be enforced by means of obtaining a court order. Should one of the parents neglect to pay the maintenance required, the court can even go as far as to deduct the money directly from the infringer’s salary.

Now of course calculating child support payments may cause some resistance on the part of the parent required to pay. However, as the court determines the maintenance they take all of the various factors in to account. Essentially, child maintenance is calculated as a percentage of each parents income divided proportionately to meet the child’s/children’s needs. However, due to the economic climate and rising and falling interest rates etc, the agreed upon maintenance amount can change depending on the financial situation of both parents. This means that should one parent be paying more initially and the other parent begin to earn more, then the first parent can make a claim to the court to get the maintenance amount changed.

At What Age do you Stop Paying Maintenance?

One issue that commonly arises in terms of child maintenance is the age of the child at which the parents are no longer obliged to pay maintenance. In South Africa, the legal age at which a parent is no longer obliged to make maintenance payments is 18 years of age. However this is subject to a number of factors. For example, should a child leave school early and get a job, then the parent is no longer legally obliged to pay maintenance towards the child. Should the child however enrol at a university, then the part is therefore required to pay maintenance until the child has finished studying. In the case that the child is disabled in some way, the parent will be required to pay maintenance indefinitely.

The process of going through a divorce or separating from a partner is difficult enough as it is. So why make the process even more difficult by fighting about who has to pay what and trying to calculate the payments yourself? The easiest way to get through the process is to find a divorce lawyer or maintenance lawyer who has all the tools at their disposal to make sure that they amounts allocated to each parent are fair. But for those of you who are still wondering how much you would have to pay, then you can work it out generally as follows: If a mother who has custody of 2 children earns R15 000 a month and the father earns R20 000 a month, the father will be obliged to pay approximately 2/3 of the rent, the food cost, and any other costs etc.