First and foremost, it is important to note that both parents, in terms of the Children’s Act, have an equal responsibility to contribute towards a minor child’s monthly expenses.

Both parents have equal responsibilities and rights towards a minor child as well as equal rights of contact, irrespective of whether one parent contributes towards the minor child’s monthly expenses or not. Contact with the minor child cannot be withheld by the one parent should the other parent not contribute towards maintenance, however, the failure to contribute towards maintenance is a criminal offence and a Section 31 summons may be issued.

A parent’s responsibility to contribute towards a minor child’s maintenance does not terminate when a child reaches a certain age but will continue until the child becomes self-supporting.

Maintenance in respect of a minor child should include the reasonable expenses on a monthly basis. Should one parent earn significantly more than the other parent, each parent’s contribution can be calculated proportionally based on their respective income.

The proportional contribution

Minor child’s reasonable monthly expenses       R10 000.00

Parent one (P1) monthly income                            R30 000.00

Parent two (P2) monthly income                            R20 000.00

Calculated on the following basis

(P1 income) ÷ (P1 + P2 income) = P1’s proportional contribution

R30 000.00 ÷ R50 000.00 = 0.6

0.6 x 100 = 60% contribution


(P2 income) ÷ (P1 + P2 income) = P1’s proportional contribution

R20 000.00 ÷ R50 000.00 = 0.4

0.4 x 100 = 40% contribution


P1 proportional contribution in relation to income @ 60% of R10 000.00 = R6 000.00

P2 proportional contribution in relation to income @ 40% of R10 000.00 = R4 000.00

The following expenses should be taken into account when calculating a minor child’s maintenance

Lodging (bond repayments/rent); Water and Electricity; Food; Telephone; Domestic Worker / Nanny; Travelling costs; Medical aid; School fees; Additional medical expenses; Clothes; Extra-mural activities and Holidays and Entertainment

The maintenance will be calculated on the following basis

Usually a minor child’s portion of the household expenses is calculated by allocating one part towards the minor child and two parts to the adult.

For example, if the rental amount per month is in the amount of R9000.00, a child’s portion thereof will be R3000.00 and the adult’s portion thereof will be R6000.00.

For more information and advice on the above, kindly contact our offices and we will assist you.