NOT PAYING MAINTENANCE COULD LAND YOU IN JAIL
A Durban businessman was convicted and received a four and a half year prison sentence by the Krugersdorp Magistrates Court for failing to pay maintenance to his wife and children.
Maintenance is the financial assistance of someone else and is usually made an order of court. According to the Times Live, the father is a director of a big restaurant franchise and lived the high life while the mother and children were living in abject poverty.
The man and his ex-wife divorced and in terms of the divorce settlement the man had to pay R24 000 every month for five years to his ex-wife and R10 000 every month for child maintenance for their children.
The man defaulted in just three months after the High Court order and according to Times Live, the evidence before the court was that the man had been living the high life and concealed his assets.
Defaulting in maintenance payment means that the person is in contempt of a court order and can be criminally convicted, as was in this case. The consequences for non-payment can be:
- a court order for civil execution
- a warrant for execution in terms of section 27 of the Maintenance Act
- a garnishee order in terms of section 28 of the Maintenance Act
After a three year legal battle, the ex-wife got a writ of execution and the man’s property was attached which allows the wife to sell them and recover more than a million rand.
The Krugersdorp Magistrate refused to grant the man leave to appeal the conviction and refused to hear an application for bail pending a petition to the Chief Justice for permission to appeal.
The judgment passed by the lower court is quite unusual for such an offence, however the general public has become weary of maintenance defaulters.
In light of there being so many maintenance defaulters and in trying to curb that, an amendment was made to the Maintenance Act to include parent’s maintenance obligation as part of their credit profile. So as from September 2015, people with arrear maintenance can get bad credit records and get blacklisted.