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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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Hi there I am married to a man with an illegitimate child.

Customer Question

Hi there
I am married to a man with an illegitimate child. He has never lived with the mother or provided a home for her. He requested her to have an abortion or give the child up for adoption but she refused. Out of guilt my husband has from day 1 given her R 1000 per month. The child is now 7. The mother is now claiming for him to pay for her a portion of all her elaborate lifestyle expenses. Will my income be taken into account when this affordability is questioned?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 5 years ago.
Good day.

Indirectly, yes. Since both of you have a duty to contribute to your common household, your contribution to the common household will be taken into consideration in establishing his direct living expenses. You, however, cannot be held liable for the maintenance of the child in any manner.

Just as an extra, this is how maintenance should be calculated.

The South African the common law with regards XXXXX XXXXX maintenance of children require that each parent support their children proportionate to their means. This basically means that, establishing the amount of maintenance that a parent is liable for, should be established following a three pronged process.

1. Firstly, the needs of the child estate be established. This will typically include a roof over his head, food, schooling, medical costs etc. A child, that is used to a certain standard of living, can be expected to maintain that standard insofar as his parents can afford it. Note that, in this section, the personal expenses of the custodian parent should not be factored in. For instance, if they are to children that needs to be maintained and the rent of the house that they are living in is for instance, R 3000, it needs to be established which portion of that R3000 is for the custodian parent personally. Typically, assuming there are two children and one noncustodial parent, the amount of R 3000 will be divided into three and the R2000 that is left will be divided between the two parents as per the calculation in paragraph 2 below.

2. Once the amount of maintenance has been established, you need to establish which part of that amount each parent is liable for. This is done right calculating the portion of a parent salary in comparison with the combined salary of both parents. For example; let's assume that the father earns R20,000 per month and the mother earns R10,000 per month. The father earns 66, 6% of the total combined salary and the mother earns 33, 3% of the total combined salary. Let's assume that the amount in 1. Equals R3000 per month. This would mean that the father would have to pay R2000 towards maintenance, and the mother needs to pay R1000 towards maintenance.

3. The final step in establishing the amount of maintenance that a parent is liable for, would be affordability. The court will have a look at the finances of a parent to establish whether the parent can in fact afford, for instance, the R2000 in maintenance. You need to note, however, that the court will not allow the parent to maintain a luxurious lifestyle at the expense of the child. If the court find that the parent cannot afford the maintenance, the court will look whether the parent can exclude some luxurious expenses from his personal budget. If, after that, he still cannot afford the maintenance, the court will make some final adjustments to bring the amount of maintenance payable in line with what the parent can afford.

It is therefore clear from this that the exact amount of maintenance cannot be established in this forum and should be at least at the Maintenance Office. The are forms at the Maintenance Officer that is specifically designed to arrive at the correct amount of maintenance.
WCLawyer and other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


So am I correct in saying that my income (and the maintenance that I receive for my children) will not come into the calculation of how much my husband earns(ie R 20 000) and what portion of the illegitimate child he is responsible for - it will only be relevant for determining what his costs(or portion thereof) are. So they do not take household income into account. Will this be different if he was divorced. Thanks for your advise,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Please reply to above question .
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 5 years ago.
Your income will not feature. Your contribution to the household will. His income will be relevant and his contribution to the household will be relevant in calculating affordability.

Whether he was divorced or not should not have bearing.