15 Sep

Can A Child’s Tertiary Education Be Included In Maintenance?

Education is considered a human right, just like food, shelter and social involvement. But what are the considerations regarding tertiary education and a child maintenance agreement? Is a parent whose duty is to pay regular maintenance also expected to pay for tertiary education?

A Shift In Duty 

When paying for a child’s tertiary education, it most likely means that the child has reached an age where he/she is considered an adult. As an 18-year-old, the child may be an adult, but is not yet considered self-supporting. When unable to look after themselves (due to financial constraints), it is the ultimately the child’s responsibility to claim maintenance from the parent in question. The spouse who may have had custody of the child is no longer expected to receive the money with regards to the wellbeing and support of the child.

Commitment To Education 

Although the child now receives maintenance from their parents toward living expenses and tertiary education, the parent is only expected to pay for the education as long as the parent has the financial means. Not only does the parent have responsibilities, but the child is expected to pass subjects at university. When he/she shows trends of failure or negligence, then it is no longer the parent’s responsibility to pay for tertiary education.

What Should You Pay For? 

It is parents’ duty to care for an adult child when they are unable to do so themselves. Children studying in a university are most often unable to provide for themselves, and therefore parents may have to fit the bill for tertiary fees, textbooks, food, accommodation, and transport.

A parent is no longer expected to provide maintenance for a child when the child is deemed at such an age and capacity to find a job for themselves, and therefore ensure their own livelihoods are taken care of.

For more information on child maintenance, child custody, and any other divorce or child-related legal query, contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!

 

05 Sep

Can Consumers Reinstate a Credit Agreement After Debt Acceleration?

A credit agreement is a contractual agreement between a credit provider and a consumer and applies for all kinds of credit services. Under the agreement, the consumer is liable to pay for installments either set out in the contract or on a monthly cycle. When a consumer does not pay by the expected date of payment, this is called a default in payment.

Defaults and Acceleration 

When a consumer defaults, the credit provider has two options available as per the credit agreement. The first is to allow the consumer to pay the default amount and then resume their agreed payment according to the credit agreement. The credit provider may also be able to ‘accelerate’ the payment vis-a-vis an acceleration clause often contained within the contract.

This means that any outstanding amount is immediately payable by the consumer, including the payment of immediate services and not just debts in arrears. When the acceleration clause has been invoked, credit providers and consumers usually terminate the credit agreement going forward after what has usually been a distasteful business relationship.

Reinstated Credit Agreement 

However, can a credit provider discontinue a credit agreement once acceleration has been invoked? Legally, a contractual agreement can be cancelled after a consumer has repaid their outstanding debts in the occurrence that an item/property has been bought and sold by the consumer during the time whereby payments were expected. However, during instances whereby a service or agreement has been entered into without limitations as those described above, a credit provider is under no obligation and has no right to cancel or end the contractual credit agreement without the approval of the consumer.

This was found out the hard way for a business that was involved with a consumer regarding mortgage repayments. As the consumer in question had not sold the property before the time of acceleration, the credit provider could not end the credit agreement. Make sure that you understand the limitations regarding credit acceleration and the termination of credit agreements as a registered credit provider.

If you require the services of a debt collection lawyer, don’t hesitate to contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible.

30 Aug

Who Has Responsibility Of Supporting a Child When Parents Cannot?

Sometimes both the custodian parent of the child as well as the parent responsible for the payment of maintenance do not have the means to support a child. There can be financial reasons for the limitations, as well as numerous other reasons. If the child’s parents cannot look after the child, who does this responsibility pass on to? Take a look at the list of people who take responsibility toward looking after the child.

Grandparents 

Both the maternal and paternal grandparents are responsible for supporting a child if neither parent is able to do so. Often all four grandparents can be responsible for contributing financially toward the child, and at least one can be found responsible for the custodianship over the child. Alternatively, if a custodial parent is not receiving maintenance from the other parent, then he/she can claim maintenance from that parent’s parents.

Siblings 

In many cases, siblings are found to be custodians of children, responsible for the upbringing of their brother or sister. This is not uncommon, and legally siblings are responsible for their other siblings’ upbringing if parents, grandparents, and stepparents are unable to do so.

However, this is only considered an option when siblings are adults and have the financial capabilities toward supporting a child.

Image result for child and older siblings

Steparents 

Stepparents are not responsible for the upbringing of the child as the parents themselves. By marrying their spouse who has maintenance or custodial duties, these duties cannot legally fall upon the stepparents too. However, there have been instances whereby parents have taken stepparents to court and the stepparents were ordered by judges to pay maintenance toward their stepchildren.

The above cases, however, are very rare, and only apply when the stepparent has the overwhelming financial security and the capability to look after their stepchildren without much effort.

As you can see, there are many people who are found responsible for the upbringing of a child when his/her parents are unable to do so. If you require legal assistance regarding the custody, support, and maintenance of children, don’t hesitate to contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys at the soonest opportunity.

23 Aug

How Can The Legal Profession Tackle Corruption?

When Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng spoke at this year’s SADC’s Lawyers Association conference in Cape Town he mentioned how lawyers and other legal professionals are ultimately responsible for weeding out corruption in government, public and private sectors. He also mentioned how lawyers and judges should refrain from taking part in a corrupt system of rule, an unfortunate common occurrence in South Africa’s municipal governance. But what Chief Justice Mogoeng did not mention was how the legal profession will go about making this nation-wide change.

Legal Strategies To End State Corruption 

  • By getting legal professionals involved in the auditing of government spending more often, instead of leaving the process largely internalised within municipal and national departments is key to ending corruption. Many countries post lawyers within government departments to audit on an ad hoc basis, rather than systematically auditing departments at a set time and date in the year.
  • International corruption conventions should be arranged to facilitate dialogue between governments that both suffer or have successfully tackled corruption. By integrating said dialogue between governments and international legal organisations, such as the SADC’s Lawyer Association, actual, tangible policy may be drafted to eliminate corruption.
  • When it comes to tackling corruption within the courts, legal professionals are very limited when it comes to using certain evidence against officials who may otherwise be found guilty of corruption. Corrupt officials are often one step ahead of legal professionals in their use of technology such as mobile devices, messaging platforms and the like, knowing full-well that some evidence cannot effectively be used in court. Much of this, as well as a considerable amount, of red tape needs to be eliminated if lawyers and public protectors are to have any success against corrupt politicians and officials.

Although there is much room for improvement, Ivan Zartz Attorneys supports the sentiments of the Chief Justice, and we all look forward to a transparent and well-governed future in South Africa.

Contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today for more legal news and views.

17 Aug

Are You Expected To Pay Maintenance If Prevented From Seeing Your Child?

This is a question often asked by those following a child custody case. The parent who only has visitation rights is sometimes restricted or even prevented from seeing their child following traumatic instances of emotional conflict between the two parties. If a father is prevented from seeing his child, should he really have to continue paying maintenance?

Please remember: By not paying maintenance, you are only harming your child and not the parent with custody and care obligations towards the child! 

Separating Child Custody From Maintenance 

It is important that you understand this important principle before you stop paying maintenance; child custody and visitation agreements are considered separate from that of a maintenance agreement.

Under no conditions is a parent obligated to stop paying child maintenance. Child maintenance is arranged so that the custodian or carer of the child has the financial means of providing food, education, and medical expenses for the child. Additionally, you cannot stop paying maintenance even in the event that the other parent prevents you from having contact with the child. If your ex-spouse remarries, has more children or finds themselves a new job, you are still expected to pay monthly maintenance according to the maintenance contract.

Here are a few things to keep in mind in the event of restricted visitation and contact, or the restructuring of the maintenance agreement:

Amending Maintenance Order 

If you cannot afford the maintenance for your child, then you may begin the procedure of amending your maintenance order. This can be done with the assistance of a divorce lawyer, or you can make the application yourself at the Family Court.

Restricted Visitation and Contact 

Your right to visit your child, or have your child stay with you on certain days, is outlined within the child custody agreement. A breach of a lawfully authored agreement is illegal, and a parent who prevents their child from seeing their mother/father may have their ability to care for the child questioned.

The best thing to do in the event of visitation restrictions or prevention is to contact a child custody attorney. With their consultation and assistance, you will be able to take the matter to court or begin a remediation procedure so that you may spend valuable time with your child again.

Contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today if you are intent on spending more time with the children you love!