FAQ Family Law in South Africa

Family Law

Q My ex-husband fails to return the minor children in terms of a court order.

Ex-Spouses often fail to return childen on time after exercising access.

Your attorney should advise your ex-husband that he is in contempt of the order of court incorporating the settlement agreement and that if the conduct persists application will be made for an order of committal.

In terms of S28 of The Children Act 2005, a court (High Court, Divorce Court, Childrens Court) may suspend or vary the rights of access.


Q How do I get the court to award more maintenance for my children


  • An Application for the substitution of an existing maintenance order is made at the Maintenance Court. A “Form B” in terms of the Maintenance Regulations.
  • The Applicant must state the reason or cause that she relies on for requesting the substitution.
  • Full details of the Applicant’s assets, income and monthly expenditure in respect of herself and the children will have to be provided.
  • An investigation is launched, followed by a formal enquiry.
  • The parties involved will be subpoenaed to appear in Court where evidence will be presented under oath.
  • The Magistrate will then consider the evidence presented to him/her  and may make an order substituting the existing maintenance order.


Q What is the purpose of a Rule 43 application?

  • A Rule 43 Application is an interim application which is brought mainly in cases of contested divorces in order to obtain interim relief pending finalisation of the divorce.
  • The relief which can be requested include the following:
    • Maintenance for the wife;
    • Maintenance for the children
    • Interim custody and control or access to the children and;
    • Interim contributions towards legal costs.


Q Do I have to pay my ex Spouse maintenance forever?

  • Marriage creates a reciprocal duty of support, that is to say either spouse could be ordered to pay maintenance depending on the circumstances.
  • In marriages of long duration where one spouse has not worked for some time the court may order maintenance to be paid until death or remarriage.
  • In marriages of short duration where a spouse has not worked the court may award maintenance for a time to allow that spouse to reestablish work or income.
  • Where both spouses are able to work and support themselves there is usually no need to pay maintenance
  • If a spouse cannot work due to mental or physical disability  this would give rise to a maintenance claim.


Q I want to get divorced, where can I get divorced?

  • The High Court normally entertains Divorce cases.
  • Section 29(1B) allows Regional Magistrates Court to handle divorce cases. However, the courts jurisdiction is limited  to cases where the estates of the parties in question do not amount to more than R 300 000.00 (three hundred thousand rand).


Q Does a father have any rights in respect of his children born out of wedlock??


Section 21 of the Children’s Act provides that a father acquires full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child born out of wedlock if:

  • He is in a permanent relationship and living with the mother when the child is born; or
  • He consents to be identified as the biological father of the child; or
  • He contributes to the child’s upbringing for a reasonable time; and
  • He contributes or has attempted to contribute to the expenses of the child.

Section 18 of the Children’s Act states that parental rights and responsibilities include:

  • To care for the child;
  • To maintain contact with the child;
  • To act as guardian of the child; and
  • To contribute to the maintenance of the child.

A father must always pay maintenance for his child, regardless of whether or not he has parental responsibilities and rights.


Read our articles on Family Law



FAQ Family Law in South Africa — 53 Comments

  1. I have been paying maintenance without default since 1998 for my two daughters, this includes maintenance, med aid, schooling, extra murals amongst others, this is ordered till they are both 21. My ex wife has never been gainfully employed nor attempted to take a job. My eldest daughter over whom I have no control and who resides with her mother @ age 19 is now pregnant, has no workable skills and stays at home. I would like to know that if my daughter takes me to maintenance court for maintenance for both her and her child after age 21 what recourse do I have if her mother has basically NEVER contributed financially but has used the childs maintenance and her x3 ex husbands to live off. Surely there must be a measure of fairness if one parent has continually contributed and the other never made an attempt. My ex wife also has a terrible credit rating for not paying numerous clothing accounts etc. Would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks and regards

    • Maintence is payable until such time as a child is self supporting. Why has your daughter of 19yr not found a job. Notwitstanding the agreement she may not be entitled to maintenance. The child may expect maintainance first from the parents (I presume the child has a father) and failing that from the grandparents on both sides. You probably need to consult with an attorney.



      • Hi Ian
        Many thanks for your input. You replied to the above email in 2012, subsequent to my daughter falling pregnant, with no forthcoming input from her mother or her, and my not wanting her to falter in life, despite her primary care giver being her mom, I assisted my daughter (who is 22 in July) in enrolling in a pastry chef course/diploma in 2014. This cost over 80K.
        It has been six months since my daughter completed the course and despite my being in constant communication with her via phone, email and in person and assisting her with a resume, providing her with info on places she could apply/approach for employment, she has not made any attempt to find work. She is 22, I am stopping the 5k a month I give her and will only pay her medical aid.

        I am at my wits end, am 50 and need to save for my retirement.
        She wont do anything to assist herself and her mother is holding on to her and her baby (and the money she gets) and does not promote any self development.
        I can offer my daughter and her son a home with me and my wife here in Gauteng, this to get on her feet and will assist her to find employment in her field, but cannot afford to throw good money after bad for her to live in PE.
        My ex is basically implying she will not let the grandchild go?

        Her mother is still unemployed and using my x2 daughters maintenance and funds from her now estranged current husband to live – she, has, as mentioned NO income and has never worked. Narcissm and enstrangement are her greatest assets..

        I know my ex will encourage my daughter to approach the maintenance court when I stop the funds, but the only way I can now assist her is if she comes to live with me.
        could you advise on how I put this to bed (so to speak) I cant spend my life and funds aiding and abetting my ex wifes’ vendettas.

        I cannot afford the legal route, I did so to attain custody when my girls were small, it nearly bankrupted me financially and emotionally and there was at the end of the day very little justice if you are dealing with a lying, dishonest opponent.

        Again, I do and would really appreciate your feedback


  2. What is the father’s responsibilities towards the mother? Does he have to support her (child born out of wedlock)

    • The duty of support is reciprocal depending on the parties respective means.
      In plain English both parties need to support the child, in or out of wedlock

  3. I am currently going through a divorce initiated by my husband. A family enquiry was held and my husband was given custody of both kids limiting my visitations to alternate weekends! From the report it is clear that this is a buyist decision. How do I take this matter further? My kids are my life and I do everything for them daily but my husband is lying about so much and getting away with it. What do I do? Please can someone help me.

    • The family cannot determine who has custody of the children. The courts will normally award joint parental rights and then appoint a primary place of residence for the child.
      You need to see a good attorney

      Kind Regards

  4. Ive been divorced for almost a year now. My sons primary place of residence is with me. My ex wife has unrestricted access to see him when ever she pleases to. In the last 8 months or so, she wants to keep him every alternate week, and my child is happy with this arrangement, except she doesn’t fulfill this arrangement properly, she refuses to pay maintenance because she keeps him every second week, and she doesn’t take “full” responsibility during her week. I still have to make sure that he is taken care off, after school, till she can collect him, and most times she is even late at fetching him.
    How can I get it addressed, that during her week she has to take full responsibility for him?

    • Hi Mark
      The divorce agreement should make provision for maintenance.
      If there is an issue you may be able to correct the situation in maintenance court.

  5. I have a ten year old daughter, born out of wedlock. I have always had full custody of my daughter and she has always lived with me. Her father and I were in relationship for 22 years and co- habited for many years. We were engaged briefly in 1994. I broke off the engagement. Our daughter was born some years later in 2003. I separated from her father when she was four years old. I now live in Cape Town and he in Johannesburg. He is in the legal profession. Save for brief periods between jobs, I have always worked and supported my child without much assistance from her father. However recently my firm has cut my hours by half, having lost some major clients. I have asked her father to make a committment to pay to a monthly sum to contribute and support our child. I am aware that he has been retained by a client for a reasonably substantial amount paid monthly. He ignores my requests. What are his obligations in terms of South African law? What recourse do I have if he fails to assist us? The amount I have requested I believe to be modest and fair (about one seventh of his retainer from a single client- I do not know if he is currently briefed in any other matters. He knows full well that I am not in a position to brief an attorney.

  6. Please help, My husband has a child of 11yrs old, him and the mother were never married. there was a court order for my husband to pay child support as well , which was deducted from his salary as well as school fees, which he has an arrangement with the school. A year ago he stopped working and the school fees went into arrears, during the time when he stopped working her did not pay any child support. The mother of the child in the interim has had a second baby and my hubby had bought clothes as well as stationery for his son, the mother went and changed all the things which my husband has bought (as the prices and tags were still on) for her new born baby clothes and supplies. Now since then he has not paid and just received a call from the court in the area she has moved to, indicating that they are going to garnish his salary for the full amount of school fees outstanding. Is this allowed, My husband has not received any court order or anything in writing.

    What are his rights, I fully agree that this is his responsibility to maintain the child, however we are married for ten years now and have 3 sons together, financially we are not surving yet the offical at the court indicates that he wont stand for this type of nonsense. If the mother of the child could do something like this, how do we know that this money is going to be used for the child. Is there something he can do.

    He has just contacted the school and made an arrangement with them to debit his account for the school fees. The mother is married in the interim.

    • You have raised two separate issues
      – The obligation to pay maintenance which is subject to need and ability to pay.
      – The misuse of the maintenance which may reflect on an entitlement.ie if you use the maintenance for another purpose it may not be needed.



  7. Hi,I fell pregnant&the father they came to my house for lobola negotiations, left a bit of money then they said they will come back&finish off but that didn’t happen which they came before my son was born. Our son was born in 2007 & 2008 we moved in together with our child till. He told me to leave the house that he doesn’t want this relationship anymore in late 2010 which he was seeing someone else. I moved out with nothing to start afresh which he left in debt as I was taking loans , using my credit cards for life to go on in the house as he was not stable with Jobs. Ended up going into debt review while we still living together

    I left the child with him&our helper while getting back on my feet&will go pick him up during the week and weekends to sleep over @ my place. In 2012 Jan I took him on full time basis and the father was not happy , decided that he will only pay for the fees nothing else I must see to it because I took his son.

    Now he took me to child”s court that he wants a 50\50 parental care that the child is 1 week @ his place and 1 week @ my place and he also wants a freedom of letting my 6yr old to sleep over his girlfriend’s place with him not being around as sometimes he comes back late. Which the social worker&magistrate said they need to assess the girlfriends place. He is not even paying anything towards his son accept for the 1300 of school fees monthly.. I have never denied him any access he have him for weekends etc because I say I don’t want my child sleeping over @ the 3rd party that’s why his filing a court order. The social services. Advised me to file maintenance which I did..

    Do the court authorize such 50/50 week in & out for minor children?

  8. By High Couty Order, my husband is the primary caregiver of my son, aged 12 since May 2011. The child’s mother now wants to move to Germany with her boyfriend and presumably wont have a job there. my husband was recently retrenched and a maintennace order is in place. Can she stop paying if she moves to Germany.

    • Dear Madam,

      If a person fails to comply with their obligations in terms of an maintenance order there are various ways to enforce the order.

      However, a South African maintenance order will generally only be enforced in a foreign country in 2 (two) ways:
      1) Through the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act; or
      2) By launching formal maintenance proceedings in the foreign country.

      Presently South Africa does not have a reciprocal enforcement agreement with Germany and therefor the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act provides no assistance.

      In light of the above the only possible way to have the South African maintenance order made an order of court in Germany is to formally bring maintenance proceedings against the party resident in Germany and request that the German court grant a maintenance order incorporating the South African order.

      The process will likely be costly and it is advisable that you approach a Family Law practitioner who could assist you in pursuing the matter in Germany.


      McLarens Attorneys

  9. My ex fiance has a daughter out of wedlock he was supporting her all along and had visitation a few months ago he picked up his daughter from school and the childs mother filed a restraining order against him saying he kidnapped the child he has not been supporting the child since as the mother is unemployed and currently on drugs what rights and procedures should he follow to gain visitation to pay child support and possibly gain full custody as the child skips school often he has been to family court and was told to retain all proof of support

    • Your Ex would first need to deal with the restraining order and then deal with access via the courts. He needs to see an Attorney.

      Kind Regards


  10. I urgently need advice!!! I’m a 19 year old mommy to a beautiful 6month old boy. I’m not married or in a relationship with my boys father. His family and him are threatening to take my child away by going for full custody they say because he works he will get my son. I’m going to study next year from home to build a good future for my son. I’m currently selling Avon to care for my son. We stay with my mom and dad and they help us a lot. His father has never paid anything towards his son. His friends only consists of people on drugs. His dad doesn’t appear on his birth certificate. I’ve been nice to his dad he gets to see his son but now I’m so fed up with them threatening me. I’m so afraid and don’t know what to do?

  11. I have a 2yrs daugther with him, I have had a stay in and out with him in a period of 2yrs…the reason to move out he kicks me out n dumps me for no reason, it happened twice! The first time he only stayed with us for only a month since the baby was born then he insisted we move out, second time we stayed for about four months and he insisted we move out! He started to pay maintenance when he was working the baby was 6months it only took 4months then he stopped, and started again just now, she’s on his medical aid and I too, but now he threatens to consult his lawyer to take the baby to stay with him that I’m staying far and he can’t see his baby well, its not my fault my home is far…so am I gonna lose staying with my baby now? I am unemployed…

    • Dear Madam,

      As an unmarried father of a child the father is entitled to seek primary care of the child.

      However, this does not mean the father will be awarded the primary care.

      Ultimately the situation that caters for the best interests of the child would be taken, as the court has a duty to uphold the best interests of a child.

      You should approach a Family Law practitioner who can properly advise you once they are aware of the full facts.


      McLarens Attorneys

  12. hello. I want my baby dad to start supporting his child. the only problem its i dont have have his current workplace address. but i have the home address AND Previous employer ‘s adrress.so i want to know if the family court will be able to trace him down or its up to me to get the info?

    • Dear Malebo,

      If you have the father’s residential address this should be sufficient for the Sheriff of the Court to serve the necessary maintenance documents on him.
      If the Sheriff is unable to serve the documents you may have to investigate and obtain further details to locate the father.

      McLarens Attorenys

  13. I live in the UK and pay maintanence to my ex-wife and her new husband who live in SA for my 10yr old son. She is now demanding full and unreserved custoday of our son. I was just wondering what this means to my rights as a father. Do I lose parental rights? Can her new husband adopt him? Can she change his surname? Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Dear Mr Nel,

      Please take note that the concept of “custody” no longer exists in South Africa and has been replaced with “care”.

      As the father of a child born from a marriage you would automatically be vested with full parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child.

      Upon your divorce your parental rights and responsibilities may be altered by an order of Court.

      Generally speaking however, if the minor child lives with your ex-wife she is already has the primary care of the minor child and there should be no reason for you to relinquish any of your parental rights.

      Notwithstanding the aforegoing, the minor child’s name change and/or adoption cannot be processed without your consent as the father of the child.

      McLarens Attorneys

  14. hi
    i just wany
    t to find out if im within my rights as a single mother of an illegitamate child. me and my childs father are broken up a year now and he pays maintenence and has been seeing her every weekend but now that im studying iv been spending less quality time with our daughtr and told him he can get her every second weekend so i can also spend weekends with her and can therefore also bond with her. he wants to go to court becoz he is demanding that i should continue letting her see hin
    m every weekend. am i in my rights to do so?

    • Dear Madam,

      As the mother of a child you are automatically vested with full parental rights and responsibilities in terms of Section 19 of the Children’s Act and unless the father has established his parental rights, you are entitled to determine the contact arrangements between the parties.

      If the father wishes to establish his parental rights or wishts to contest the present contact arrangements, he is within his rights to refer the issues to mediation, or to approach a court.


      McLarens Attorneys

  15. My wife and i are getting divorced. she often sleeps over at her male “friend’s apartment taking our two minor daughters (6 & 7Yrs old) with. The apartment is a bachelor apartment that consists of a kitchen, bathroom and a living area, the living area being being a area that has a double bed and lounge suite.

    She and her male friend sleep in the double bed and the children sleep on mattresess on the floor in the same area as the double bed.

    Is this legal/permissable ? As far as I know the South Afrcan Family Law specifies that the (minor) children must each have their own bed IN A SEPERATE BEDROOM FROM THE ADULTS.

    Please advise and if I am correct please quote the section where this is covered in the Family Law, eg Section 4- 2.4.3

    Thank you

    • Dear Graham,

      The law does not specify that children must have their own bed in a separate bedroom to adults.

      The definition of “care” in the Children’s Act includes providing the child with a suitable place to live and with living conditions that are conductive to the child’s health, well-being and development. The definition further includes protecting a child from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, degradation, discrimination, exploitation and any other physical, emotional or moral harm or hazards.

      Bearing the above in mind, the situation you have described may not be in the best interests of the minor children and as such it may be advisable to refer the issue to the Children’s Court.

      It is advisable that you approach an experienced Family Law practitioner who can assist you in this matter.

      McLarens Attorneys

  16. Hi There…Im divorced for 5 years.I have a maintenance order in place.Thus far he has complied with his monthly payments.Recently however he was fired from his place of work.He is still paying his maintenance but have now indicated that there is a possibility that he will not be able to comply in future because of the unemployment.He was paid out his pension and Im assuming that he used this money.He is remarried and his current wife is unemployed too.I have custody of our children all minors.I am unemployed. what is my way forward?

    • Dear Gillian,

      Until such time as your current maintenance order is varied, substituted or discharged, it remains valid and enforceable.

      You may approach the Maintenance Court for a Warrant of Execution or further relief in respect of your current maintenance order.

      McLarens Attorneys

  17. Hi

    I have been retrenched and have been surviving off my payout and have hit brick walls in my job hunt due to positions being BEE or AA. Im primary care giver to my two children my ex husbands been threatening to take me to court for money he feels I owe him for travel expenses for himself to see the children as I relocated to KZN from Cape Town as I secured a better job as I was beginning to battle financially. He has had the family mediator issue a directive on these grounds and Ive never seen any proof of how his amount has been derived. On my relocation to Durban he was insisting I pay him R10k in order to see he children which I refused.

    He is difficult with the ancillary maintenance and already the magistrate has deducted monies from him. He pays maintenance with a ref ” Victim Fund”. He loathes any financial commitment at all for the children as he tells them I sqaunder it on myself and that they should ask for it from me.

    I’m in a position financially now going forward where I cannot keep things going and I’m struggling to find work. I can get a job but it doesn’t cover all expenses , I will ultimately loose all at a lesser pay and find myself in debt. I’ve requested my ex husband to please place kids on medical aid until I’m on my feet and he has even refused that request and is not interested in my misfortune.

    what are my rights for the sake of my children?
    Will I loose my children due to not being financially stable?

    • The fact that you are struggling is not a good reason to take the children away from you. If you cannot look after them properly there is a possibility of welfare intervention. I suggest you refer the matter to maintenance court with a view to getting an increase in maintenance

  18. Hi there,
    I need advise on the amended child act which now requires I get written approval for a natural father to travel abroad with a child.
    Section 18 of the Children’s Act states that parental rights and responsibilities include:

    To care for the child;
    To maintain contact with the child;
    To act as guardian of the child; and
    To contribute to the maintenance of the child.

    If a natural father does not comply with any of the above responsibilities let alone those of the Section 21 what legal recourse do I have as a natural mother.

    Also I need clarity on Section 21 (b) (i) that states below:
    Consents to be identified as the child’s father, successfully applies to be identified as the child’s father, or pays damages in terms of customary law.

    I completed the child registration documents section for the father 9 years ago when my daughter was born and he did not sign. The unabridged certificate has the fathers details and the endorsement section is not signed.
    How do I resolve this issue?

    • Dear Reneilwe,

      If you need to travel with your minor child and the father has not yet established his parental rights, you may approach the Children’s Court for an order declaring that you are the only parent vested with full parental rights and responsibilities. In terms of the new immigration regulations, should the aforementioned court order be granted, you should no longer require the father’s consent to travel with the minor child.

      To clarify Section 21(b)(i), if the father consents to be identified as the child’s father, or has successfully applied in terms of Section 26 of the Children’s Act to be registered as the child’s father, or has paid customary damages to the mother’s family for the child, he may, depending on other factors, be automatically vested with full parental rights and responsibilities. However in light of Section 21(3), this rarely is the case, because if the mother disputes the fathers fulfillment of the requirements, the father would be required to establish his parental rights and responsibilities.

      It is advisable that you approach an experienced Family Law Practitioner who can properly advise and assist you with your situation.

      McLarens Attorneys

      • Afternoon Nuno,

        Thank you very much for your response, you have shed some positive light to my challenge.

        I see that as a law firm McLanrens Attorneys offers services in Family Law.
        Would my case be one that you would be able to assist with as a firm?
        If so, what are the costs implications and time lines in resolving this issue, also a contact person I could take this further within your firm?

        Kind regards,
        Reneilwe Themba

  19. Good day

    Me and my daughters father were together for over a year. I left him recently cause we didn’t get along. My daughter is all most 5 months old and he’s saying that he is going to fight for full custody. I got a protection order against him cause I was afraid he’s going to steal my daughter or maybe hurt us. I’m really afraid and don’t know what to expect when we go to court that he will maybe get full custody. Will the court give him full custody even though we weren’t married.

    • Dear Annezelle,

      Generally speaking, the Courts remain reluctant to remove a child from the care of its mother, unless there are proper grounds (ie child neglect; child abuse).

      It is advisable that you approach a Family Law practitioner for assistance in this matter.

      McLarens Attorneys

  20. Good day,
    My child was born in 2014. I was supportive to my girlfriend throughout her pregnancy, taking her to all the check-ups and doctor’s appointments, pay for all the cost related to the pregnancy and the birth of our child.

    2 days after the child was born my girlfriend and our child were discharged from hospital, and I have never seen our baby since then. My girlfriend and her mother refuse to allow me access to our child even though I pay maintenance every month and provide for our baby’s other needs over and above paying maintenance.

    The reasons that my girlfriend states for not allowing me access to the child are that my family has not paid damages as required by culture, even though my family has made attempts to do so but her mother will not let the families meet and conclude the cultural affairs. Even with the current situation, I continue to pay maintenance as required.

    Do I have a parental rights to our child in terms of the Childrens Act and how to I go about being granted the right to exercise those rights and have access to our child?

    • Dear Sean,

      Regrettably you do not automatically have parental rights and responsibilities.

      You should approach the Children’s Court and request assistance to establish your parental rights.

      McLarens Attorneys

  21. Good day

    My husband’s daughter completed her teaching degree in mid-November 2014. He is still paying maintenance and full medical, which adds up to more than the average starting salary for a teacher. I can see on Facebook that her fellow students/friends already started jobs at the start of the school year, but she doesn’t have a job. We aren’t sure whether she started applying for jobs yet, as she would easily get a job based on her excellent marks.

    How should my husband go about stopping the maintenance and medical so that she can start supporting herself? She is 23 years old.


    • Dear Deena,

      Your husband must first establish that his daughter can in fact support herself.

      The obligation of a parent to pay maintenance generally terminates only when a child becomes self-supporting.

      Once your husband has ascertained that his daughter can in fact support herself entirely or partially, he can approach the Maintenance Court to have the original maintenance order set aside or varied.

      McLarens Attorneys

  22. Good day, my ex husband has not been paying maintanance for 7 months, because he is out of a job but he has had them for holidays and some weekends, he has been telling the children that he is working but they must not tell me, he also said he is going to take my my son as soon as he turns 12 this year, the other day he asked my ID no, i think maybe he is working. I am also scared that he is going out of South africa with my children. What am I to do? Regards

    • Dear Gerda,

      You may approach your local maintenance court to have the maintenance order enforced against your husband and the arrears paid up.

      Given the new regulations in respect of travelling with a child, it is unlikely that your ex husband would be able to exit South Africa with the children without your consent.

      If he does manage to exit South Africa with the children, without your consent, it is possible to launch an urgent application at the office of the Family Advocate in terms of the Hague Convention to have the children returned to South Africa

      McLarens Attorneys

  23. I have just moved abroad to be with my current wife and I am currently unemployed however actively seeking employment. I have a biological child in SA and have always paid maintenance up to date however last month I have paid the maintenance short and this month I could not afford to pay maintenance however have given the last money that I have in my bank account which was not the full amount either. I have communicated that I have no more funds until I have a job and will resume payments then. The mother of my child is threating to contact the embassy to inform that I have not paid full maintenance?
    What are the implications at hand?

    • Dear Craig,

      The implication is that you have fallen into arrears in respect of maintenance.

      Maintenance Orders granted in South Africa can be enforced outside the country in 2 (two) ways:
      1) By requesting a Reciprocal Maintenance Order in a country with whom South Africa has signed an agreement in terms of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act; or
      2) By approaching the court in the country and requesting that court to formally recognise and enforce the South African maintenance order.

      An embassy from a foreign country does not have the necessary authority to enforce a South African maintenance order.

      Please read our article on the Maintenance of Children in Foreign Countries for further information.


      McLarens Attorneys

  24. Good day,

    My name is Trevor and I’m paying maintanance for my son via court order and the mother of my child does not want my son to visit me, she even moved from where they lived and does not want me to know where she live. What steps can I take to atleast see my son? Thanks

    • You should approach your local Children’s Court and formally establish your parental rights and responsibilities.

  25. Good day, I desperately need help, I have a minor born out of wedlock, I got married to someone else and my child is on my maiden surname. The biological father doesn’t phone or contribute anything. We are in the process of relocating but I get different answers from people saying, I need the biological father’s consent to leave, some say I don’t because my child is on my maiden surname, I have a passport for my child without the consent of his father, which they were not sure about either, I’m still waiting on unabridged birth certificate for months, I didn’t put the father’s details on there, not sure if that is the reason why they can’t help me, if I do put the biological father’s details on the birth certificate will I still need his consent? I’m afraid when we get to the airport there might be problems, it just looks like people don’t really know when it comes to single parents where the child is on the mother’s surname. Sorry for this long story, thank you very much

    • Generally speaking, you require the consent of the other parent to relocate a minor child outside the Republic of South Africa.

      If you are vested with sole parental rights and responsibilities you would not require his consent.

      If the father of the child has been absent from the child’s life for an extended period of time, you should approach a Family Law practitioner for advice on obtaining an order of sole parental rights and responsibilities.

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