The concept of maintenance is easy enough. The law provides that you have to support your children according to their needs and your means.
By means, we are obviously referring to your income and assets and by needs, we mean the reasonable expenses of the child. What is reasonable for one child may not be for another, and it is obviously dependent on the background of the parents and the upbringing of the child. If you don't have the money to afford an attorney, you can always go to your local maintenance court and get the help of the court officials. Those who can afford it, it is obviously better to consult with a private practitioner who can spend more time going into the matter in greater detail. However, if you can't afford that, you do always have access to the maintenance court and the services supplied to you, by the State, for free.
A maintenance order can be obtained before a divorce order is granted by means of a “Rule 58 Application” in a lower court or a “Rule 43 Application” in the High court. These applications are available even before instituting legal action when the parties are married.
A party to a divorce action can also bring an application in the maintenance court, without using the abovementioned applications. Without being married, a biological parent can also bring a maintenance application against the father or mother of the biological child.
Normally, when there is already a maintenance order in place before a divorce hearing, the courts will usually stick to that order at the trial of the divorce.