In terms of the Children’s Act, every child has the right to reasonable maintenance and every parent has an obligation to maintain his or her child.
What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the family’s standard of living, their income and the cost of living.
The Court will ask three questions:
1. What are the child’s reasonable needs?
2. What are the financial means of the parents?
3. How the parents’ respective shares of their obligation are apportioned between them according to their means or ability.
Both parents have a duty to maintain the child according to their respective means.
Maintenance may include:
1. Monthly cash payments usually paid to the parent who has primary care of the child.
2. Medical expenses including reasonable medical, surgical, dental, orthodontic, ophthalmic, hospital, nursing home, pharmaceutical etc.
3. Educational costs including pre-school, aftercare fees, school fees, extra lessons, school outings, camps, school lunches, extra-mural activities, school books, stationery, uniforms and any equipment needed by the child at or relating to school.
4. Tertiary educational costs.
The duty to pay maintenance does not stop when the child has reached the age of 18, it continues until the child is self-supporting.