Answer to a question from a reader

Can I re-apply for a child's grant now that my husband has walked out on us?

The short answer

Yes, if you still qualify. You can also open a maintenance claim against your husband.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

He is no longer providing for our children.

The long answer

If you stopped getting the child’s grant because your circumstances changed when you got married and your husband was providing for the children, you should be able to re-apply if your income as a single person is not more than R4,000 a month (R48,000 a year). If you are married, your combined income should not be more than R8,000 a month (R96,000 a year).

SASSA will have a record of your previous application and they will ask you about your present circumstances. You will have to prove through the means test that you qualify for the child grant. 

You should also bear in mind that your husband can’t just decide that he is no longer willing to provide for the children. If the children were not your husband’s biological children, but he married you, took the children on as his own and supported them, he is still liable to pay maintenance for them. And, obviously, he must pay maintenance for them if he is their biological father. All parents have a duty to support their children until they are self-supporting.

If you don’t know where he is, the investigators at the maintenance court can track him down.

You can approach any magistrate’s court to open a maintenance claim.

  • Go to the relevant court and complete and submit Form A: Application for a maintenance order (J101).

  • In addition to the completed form, submit proof of your monthly income and expenses, such as receipts for food purchases, electricity and/or rent bill payments.

  • The court will set a date on which you and the respondent (the person whom you wish to pay maintenance) must go to the court.

  • A maintenance officer and an investigator will investigate your claim and look into your circumstances.

  • The court will serve a summons (a letter instructing a person to come to court) on the respondent (the person against whom the claim is brought) to appear in court on a specific date to discuss the matter.

  • The respondent then has a choice between agreeing to pay the maintenance as claimed, or contesting the matter in court.

  • If the respondent agrees to pay the maintenance as claimed, a magistrate will review the relevant documentation. They will then make an order, and may decide to do so without requiring the parties to appear in court.

  • If the person who is allegedly liable to pay maintenance does not consent to the issuance of an order, they must appear in court, where evidence from both parties and their witnesses will be heard.

  • If the court finds the person liable for paying maintenance, it will make an order for the amount of maintenance to be paid. The court will also determine when and how maintenance payments must be made.

  • The court can order maintenance money to be paid in one of the following ways:

    • At the local magistrate's office or any other government office designated for this purpose

    • Into the bank or building society account designated by the person concerned

    • Directly to the person who is entitled to the money

    • By means of an order that directs the employer of the person who is liable for paying maintenance to deduct the maintenance payment directly from the employee’s salary, in accordance with the new Maintenance Act, 1998.

These are the documents you need to bring to court:

  • An identity book (green book with your photo), passport, driver's licence, or immigration permit

  • Certified copies of the children’s birth certificates

  • Three months' bank statements (these must be current)

  • Three months' proof of income (payslip) or the signed letter from the employer confirming your income.

  • Physical/work address of the person responsible for paying the maintenance money.

  • List of your income and expenditure e.g. water and lights bill, till slips for groceries, school expenses, medical and travel receipts, clothing accounts, etc.,

  • Full name of parent/person responsible for paying the maintenance money.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on June 11, 2021, 1:10 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.