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July 15, 2017

What happens to maintenance if the child reaches the age of 18 and she/he is still not self- supporting?



These are the general principles that apply to the maintenance of a child:
·         The Children’s Act defines a ‘child' as a person under the age of 18 years.
·         The parental responsibilities and rights that a person may have in respect of a child, include the responsibility and the right to contribute to the maintenance of the child.
·         The Maintenance Act places a duty on parents to support their child for his or her proper living and upbringing, and includes the provision of food, clothing, accommodation, medical care and education.
·         This duty applies, irrespective of whether a child is born in or out of wedlock or is born of a first or subsequent marriage.
·         This duty of supporting a child is an obligation which the parents have incurred jointly and which is apportioned between them according to their respective means. So, if a dad earns more, he will pay proportionately more maintenance than the mom.
·         The amount payable for maintenance will be determined by the needs of the child and the financial means of the parents.
·         If the biological parents can’t support the child, the obligation can fall to grandparents or the legal guardian of the child to pay maintenance.
·         The payment of maintenance will continue until the child becomes employed or otherwise independent and self-sufficient.
·         However, when the child turns 18, the maintenance payment should be deposited directly to the child’s banking account, unless a court order specifically directs otherwise.
·         Either parent, or the child when he or she turns 18, can approach a maintenance court, to vary the amount that a parent must pay, because of changed circumstances.

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