Western Cape's top maintenance defaulters named
Western Cape’s top child maintenance defaulters owe R1 million.
The names of the top 20 defaulters on child maintenance payments have been named by the Justice Department, according to EWN; collectively the alleged defaulting dads owe in excess of R1 million.

Outstanding payments, not outstanding parents

The Justice Department has teamed up with the Department of Home Affairs and SAPS to track down the defaulters and the outstanding payments. The top three alleged defaulters were named by Justice Department as Sean Burgess from Strand, Richard Wright from Mossel Bay and Gavin Mileham of Simon’s Town. Between them, they apparently owe over R500 000.

Maintenance is one of the trickiest hurdles to surmount in a divorce or relationship dissolution. It can be used to put pressure on one or both parties and may be used as a weapon: Some dads know that even if it’s illegal to withhold maintenance, the moms will be forced to behave in ways which suit the fathers. Generally, it is usually the fathers who have the responsibility of paying maintenance.

In an emotional situation it can be very stressful to worry about how money is apportioned, although good divorce lawyers will do their best to attain a fair agreement. Maintenance courts may also be approached for support from fathers if necessary and again if the support is not forthcoming.

Some divorced couples avoid the stress of making payments to an ex by suggesting that school fees or other expenses can be paid directly in lieu of maintenance, although the divorce agreement will state how much each party is to receive, and this remains a binding document.

Stick to the agreement...

Unfortunately, fathers may sometimes hide their financial status by concealing money or assets in order to prevent having to make maintenance payments. In addition, if the father becomes unemployed, this may also impact on his ability to meet any prior maintenance agreement. Some dads refuse to pay should their ex-wives or partners remarry or have new partners, as if the new partner must now cover the costs of someone else’s children. Fathers may also apply for adjustments to the agreement should circumstances change, although it is important to have a formal agreement in place.

Occasionally divorced couples may opt for a reverse situation where the mother will pay maintenance to the father who becomes the primary caregiver.

The naming and shaming of top child maintenance defaulters comes with a caution to others who have fallen behind on payments, as the Justice Department is making a concerted effort to recoup these amounts, and failure to make payments could result in criminal prosecution or even a prison sentence.

Read more on maintenance:

How much maintenance

Divorce and school fees

Desperate dads, angry moms

If you’re a divorced parent, what has your experience been with child maintenance?

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