DID YOU KNOW…..That a maintenance order can be varied?
In the event that the circumstances have changed after obtaining an order for such from a competent Court, one can make an application for variation of the order. The circumstances can include the child’s age as well as changed social and economic realities amongst other factors. A maintenance order can be varied either upwards or downwards.
In the case of Hora v Tafamba it was held that the role of a Magistrate in maintenance cases is to;
“Generally, the duty of a magistrate in a maintenance application, more particularly where the parties are unrepresented, is that of an investigative magistrate. He is not merely an umpire in a dispute between two sides. He is the upper guardian of the most important party, the child. He must therefore seek out the relevant facts. He must ask whatever questions are necessary to enable him to give an adequate judgment. He must aim to give the child reasonable financial support without placing an unfair burden on either parent.”
Where circumstances have changed the court will take into account the extent of the change as well as the needs of the minor child/ren. It is important that the applicant in a case for upward variation be in a position to justify the amount that they are claiming as they may at times be called upon to provide a breakdown of the sum that they are claiming from the respondent in the matter.
As with all matters involving children, the guiding principle is that the best interests of the child are of paramount importance. Whatever is decided should be in line with this legal principle.
This is for general information purposes only. Seek legal advice from your Lawyer.