Family law is the section of the law that is dedicated to protecting and serving the best interests and the rights and responsibilities of children and their parents. When it comes to child maintenance, the law is fairly straightforward. The difficulty within family law is not within the law itself, but rather in the applications.
Child maintenance and family law is founded on a basic principle that factors within all maintenance plans. The income and standard of living each parent has will be considered when deciding which parent will be paying what. The common misconception of this is that it is the sole responsibility of the father to financially support the child/ children. The mother has the responsibility of contributing to support her children. To ensure that this type of unfairness is completely avoided, the parents should enlist a child support lawyer to ensure that the best interests of the children are completely met.
Family law states that the visiting arrangements of the child does not influence the child maintenance plan in any way. No parent may not make their financial contribution if the child is visiting a parent. Essentially, if the child goes on holiday with the mother or father, they cannot suspend their regular payment because they child is with them. This may only take place if a court order contains a specific provision to the effect that this may happen.
Family law continues to state that a parent’s duty of support in means of child maintenance is not affected in any way by a remarriage. A step-parent is also under no obligation to support a stepchild. Similarly, a child from a first marriage does not have priority over a child from a second marriage when it comes to maintenance obligations. Essentially, it is the sole responsibility of both parents to support their children. It is also worth noting that family law states that the refusal to allow a parent contact does not entitle that parent to stop paying child maintenance.
When maintenance court makes an order regarding child maintenance, such an order is not fixed forever. If circumstances change, an application for an increase or reduction in child maintenance can be made. In order to fulfill their obligations to support their child, parents must use both of their incomes and, if necessary, their capital. This means that if a father/mother has no income but has assets, he/she will not be able to avoid paying child maintenance. A court may order that the assets be sold to satisfy the obligation to pay child maintenance. This also prevents a parent from evading his/her duty to pay child maintenance by giving up work and becoming, for example, a full-time student. The ordinary rules relating to parents’ duty to support also apply in respect of children born out of wedlock.