Child Support – how does it work in foreign countries?
IS THE FATHER OR MOTHER OF YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN LIVING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY? HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOU GET CHILD SUPPORT FROM THEM?
Child Support – South Africa has Reciprocal Enforcement Maintenance agreements with many foreign countries. Those countries currently include:
|Isle of Jersey||Isle of Man||Kenya||Lesotho|
|St Helena||Swaziland||United Kingdom||Zambia|
In these cases of foreign child support (foreign maintenance), the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Act 80 of 1963 is applicable
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE OF THE PARTIES LIVE OUTSIDE THE BORDERS OF SOUTH AFRICA?
When one of the parties lives in a foreign country, the process can become complicated because it involves a whole administration process between diplomatic channels. The reason for this is that serving the documents has to go through the departments of the two countries diplomatic channels.
WHAT DOES A PROCLAIMED COUNTRY OF TERRITORY MEAN?
This means that the proclaimed country or territory is a country which has entered into a special arrangement with South Africa and us with them, whereby child support orders which have been granted in one country can be enforced in the other.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
If they reside outside of South Africa then the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders under Act 180 of 1963, provides that whenever a certified copy of a Maintenance Order against any person by any Court in a proclaimed country is issued, it is sent to the Minister through diplomatic channels by any authority of that proclaimed country. The Minister then sends a copy of the Order to the relevant channels by an authority of the proclaimed territory. The Minister then has to send a copy of the Order to a Maintenance Court. The Order is then registered by the Court, in the prescribed manner. It is important to remember, that to obtain a maintenance order for a minor child or children in any foreign country, it is highly advisable that an order for the maintenance of the minor child or children is first made by a South African court.
WHAT KIND OF DOCUMENT ARE NEED TO START THE PROCESS?
Firstly one should remember that there will be red tape, many documents and a process that needs to be followed. It is certainly easier if one has a Yambu Legal Protection policy so that the lawyers who are qualified to handle a sometimes complicated matter can take the stress out of the man in the street who has no legal understanding, this makes the process easier, less stressful and often faster at the end of the day.
You will need four certified copies of the provisional court order. Then you will need to obtain an affidavit from the complaint or an officer of the court showing the amount of arrears due under the order.
The complainant will have to provide a deposition of evidence of the complaint (this could include the original divorce order and bank statements showing regular payment or lack of payment as evidence of non-payment)
The defendant will have to provide a physical or working address where they can be contacted as well as a photograph and full description of the defendant
The complainant will need to provide original (this is very important) exhibits of the marriage certificate, birth certificates, and photographs) all of which will be in reference to the complainant’s deposition or evidence which has been duly endorsed as prescribed in the affidavit
You will also need to provide three certified copies of the documents referred to in my explanation and in the event that it goes to the High Court, four copies, as well as an additional (making it five copies), will have to be submitted to the High Court as required I law
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS NO RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE FOREIGN COUNTRY?
In cases like this, it does become a little more complicated. If a foreign country does not have a reciprocal enforcement agreement with South Arica, then the applicant needs to lodge formal proceedings in the courts of the foreign country based on an existing maintenance order. In these cases, the procedure may be very costly and can take a long time to get to a court to hear the case and in most cases, this procedure does not get favorable results. Love can blind a couple to the realities of the question “ what if things don’t work out”, so one should arm themselves with all the information before getting married and having children with someone whose country does not fall within the jurisdiction of South Africa’s foreign maintenance order diplomacy.
Always bear in mind that all laws that are applicable in terms of Child Maintenance as contemplated in the Acts that are relevant to the foreign country or South Africa are applicable. If you would like to find out more on Maintenance in terms of South African laws, you can refer to our information on Maintenance on our website or if you have a Yambu Legal Protection policy contact us directly per phone or on our Facebook and we will come back to you immediately or at least in 24 hours.
You can also contact us on the web Yambu.co.za, or call our offices on 0860 88 88 37, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or if you want to join immediately you can SMS the word JOIN to 40009 (SMS’s cost R1.50)
Contact us on www.yambu.co.za today and get yourself and your family covered by Yambu Legal Protection Policy.
Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act 80 of 1963