Fact check: Can missing a child maintenance payment land you in jail?

Fact check: Can missing a child maintenance payment land you in jail?

- Countless South African children are growing up without the presence of their fathers in their lives

- While contributing maintenance cannot replace physically being there for your child, it is often the only way estranged parents are involved

- Briefly.co.za explores whether or not failing to honour a court order for maintenance can land you behind bars

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The most recent Stats SA survey noted that more than half of Mzansi's children are growing up without their fathers present.

While 10.1% of the fathers in this regard had passed away, 51.7% of these households are fatherless for other reasons.

Child maintenance is often the only way people can help support their kids but often court orders in this regard go unpaid.

Briefly.co.za takes a look at what the consequences are for failing to honour a maintenance agreement:

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What is maintenance for and how is it put into place?

Maintenance is paid to cover the costs for a child's shelter, education, medical expenses, clothing, food and other key costs in their upbringing.

When parents separate, a court order is often granted, usually by the magistrate's court, to ensure the other parent contributes financially.

So what happens when a parent fails to honour the court order?

When a parent fails to pay a court order for maintenance, multiple consequences can occur. While this could see the offender blacklisted or their property attached, it can definitely land them in prison.

Offending parents can be fined or jailed for a period not exceeding 3 years. However, News24 reports that a Durban father had been sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison after failing to fork over R1 million in maintenance.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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