How do I claim main­te­nance?

CityPress - - Business -

Efi writes:

My ex and I di­vorced in 2013. He kept ev­ery­thing. I kept the child and he was meant to pay main­te­nance, which has not hap­pened. How do I find out if he’s still work­ing and can I claim from him if he is un­em­ployed?

Kristy Giva Knill, di­rec­tor at McLough­lin Clark At­tor­neys, replies:

In this case, there is al­ready an ex­ist­ing main­te­nance or­der in place and your ex-hus­band has failed to com­ply with it. You must ap­ply to the main­te­nance court in the area where your ex-hus­band is res­i­dent for:

Au­tho­ri­sa­tion to is­sue a war­rant of ex­e­cu­tion against your ex-hus­band; or

A so-called gar­nishee or­der (de­duct­ing money from your ex-hus­band’s salary).

The clerk of the main­te­nance court will as­sist you in com­plet­ing the nec­es­sary forms and ad­vis­ing you of what sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion you will re­quire.

It is im­per­a­tive that you know the where­abouts of your ex-hus­band be­fore ap­proach­ing the court, so the sher­iff can serve the nec­es­sary doc­u­men­ta­tion upon him. You do not need to know whether he is cur­rently em­ployed. The court will de­ter­mine this when he ap­pears be­fore the mag­is­trate.

If your ex-hus­band is un­em­ployed, the mag­is­trate will post­pone the case, al­low­ing him an op­por­tu­nity to seek work. Re­mem­ber, even if your ex-hus­band is un­em­ployed, but he owns as­sets (such as a mo­tor ve­hi­cle or fur­ni­ture), the court will or­der him to sell these as­sets to com­ply with his main­te­nance obli­ga­tions.

Non­pay­ment of main­te­nance is a crim­i­nal of­fence and the de­faulter can be fined or even im­pris­oned for up to one year, or both. The main­te­nance of­fi­cer may also or­der that the de­faulter be black­listed.

To avoid such ac­tion, the de­faulter must show to the sat­is­fac­tion of the court that he could not pay main­te­nance be­cause of a lack of money or in­come.

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