28 Apr

Municipal Job Cards Used In Debt Collection

The contractor who is responsible for the installation, repairing, maintenance and/or removal of either an electricity meter or a water meter on every property in South Africa is required to fill in an official job card. This municipal job card holds all the information regarding the installation/repair/removal of the meter and is handed over to the municipality. This municipal job card becomes an important part of the debt collection process when the municipality follows up on unpaid invoices.

If customers want to dispute a particular consumption invoice, the municipal job card becomes an important document for both the municipality and the consumer. The municipality will use the job card within the municipal billing department to rectify a billing mistake. Otherwise, the customer can use the job card to prove the fact that they were incorrectly billed and can be used in court if the issue is in litigation. However, municipalities have been withholding municipal job cards from consumers when asked for them. This is illegal for a number of reasons.

  • The most important reason as to why this is illegal is because it means that a third party (the municipality in this case) is withholding important information that is relevant to the account holder and is needed by them in order to legally protect themselves.
  • This goes directly against the Consumer Protection Act because the job card holds information that is needed by the consumer to dispute a billing mistake.
  • The municipality cannot issue a summons, issue credit control measures, black-list or cut services if there is a billing dispute in progress. The dispute needs to be concluded, and this cannot happen if the municipality is withholding job cards.
  • Withholding municipal job cards, and starting the debt collection process against the consumer, shows a lack of accountability and transparency on the part of the municipal government.

Consumers must ensure that they collect all the documents and information concerning their dispute with the municipality so that the information may be used in court after the outset of the municipality’s debt collection process.

If you require one of the most experienced debt collection attorneys in South Africa make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!

25 Apr

Holiday Tips For Separated Parents

It’s easy for parents to get side-tracked and plan vacations and holidays without their children so as to not alienate the other parent. Other times parents plan exotic and flamboyant holidays just so they can ‘get one over’ on the other parent. In both cases, the children are not considered, and parents should make more of an effort to show their children love and attention. Here are a few holiday tips for separated parents that help ensure that the children enjoy themselves and that the other parent accepts the vacation.

  1. Make sure that you plan ahead with regards to vacation ideas. Most separated parents will have a schedule in place that sets out times and periods in which parents are allowed to take their children on holiday. Follow up on dates with the other parent, and discuss the vacation in more detail a few months before the holiday.
  2. Make sure that all the vacation plans and necessary information are provided to the other parent. The other parent has a right to know where their child is staying, who else will be in contact with the child, and where their child is going. Little or no details can be used against you if a matter is brought to court regarding the care and custody of the children.
  3. Make sure that you understand the legal and regulatory requirements when travelling abroad with children. Consider the written consent required from both parents, as well as the limiting yet protecting Hague Convention and international child abduction laws. Countries bound by the Hague Convention will require the written consent of both parents. This is one of the most important holiday tips for separated parents.
  4. Make sure that the children are aware of the nature of the vacation. They must understand that both parents are supportive of the vacation and that the parent who is not attending the vacation will not be saddened by the fact that the children are going on holiday with the other parent. If this is not communicated the children may feel guilty by going on holiday.
  5. Make sure that the children are properly looked after, and all their needs are considered. Medication, health insurance and constant observance on the part of the travelling parent are important for their own legal protection and the wellbeing of their children. Both parents must understand that vacations should not be used as a competitive tool, neither should they be used to alienate the other parent.

The following holiday tips for separated parents will ensure that both parties agree on the holiday and that the children are most likely to enjoy their vacation.

For more information and tips regarding child custody make sure to keep visiting the Ivan Zartz articles page.

If you require a child custody attorney, make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today.

18 Apr

How Long Should You Be Paid Spousal Maintenance?

This is a contentious issue; how long should it take for an ex-spouse to become financially independent? In many cases of divorce, there is a spouse who has not worked or does not earn sufficient money to remain financially independent. At the time of divorce, the ex-spouse is expected to help their previous partner by providing maintenance until they are financially stable. Much of the time this spouse is often the guardian of children that belong to the couple, and they therefore need the extra spousal maintenance apart from the maintenance provided for the children.

South African courts do very little to ensure income provision, but where it does occur it is often questioned how long should the partner provide spousal maintenance before the other becomes financially stable. Many women (and a few men who are without employment at the time of divorce) are expected to be self-sufficient in very short time, but in most cases it takes a lot of time for a person who has not had employment to stand on their own two feet.

The truth is that there is no obvious answer, as every case differs. Some ex-partners have very little work experience or qualifications. In other cases, the ex-partner may be expected to look after one or many children, and this can disqualify them from certain jobs. It is ultimately the courts’ responsibility to ensure that there is a parity of income so that both parties have fair opportunity after the divorce. However, the courts should also decide exactly how long spousal maintenance should be paid. It is the ex-partner’s responsibility to restore their financial situation. Based on a number of factors, the court will make their decision of spousal maintenance period, and revisit their decision after this period has ended.

If you require a child custody attorney to assist you in your case regarding child maintenance and divorce, contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today.


13 Apr

Business Acquisition And Legal Checks

Big businesses are often involved in the acquisition of smaller companies. They undergo the process so often that all the legal requirements and checks are processed seamlessly. The lessons that they learn through business acquisition can give smaller businesses the advice necessary to undergo an acquisition, and fulfill any legal requirements. Without said advice, businesses can suffer from pitfalls and hidden costs.

The first critical piece of advice for anyone looking to purchase a business is to ensure that tax structuring is in place. The tax structure and the consequences of tax will make an impact on the way the acquisition unfolds. This will also uncover any hidden costs associated with tax.

By evaluating the due diligence of the company that an investor/businessman is willing to acquire will ensure that they know the exact worth of the business. This will indicate the assets that the company currently owns, and how much of an investment injection is necessary not only to acquire the business but also to ensure its optimum operation after purchase.

Those looking to buy a business must also ensure that they understand the regulatory body that controls the market. The bylaws and regulations in place must be thoroughly adhered to by the new business owners. Additionally, the acquisition of a large company will also require the approval of the Competition Commission because an acquisition may have a detrimental impact on the market and therefore for the consumer. The regulations set by the Competition Authority only requires compliance during the acquisition of extremely large companies, though.

A transaction contract is absolutely necessary for both parties in the acquisition. The contract will stipulate exactly when the transactions should take place, as well as their value. Without a contract, there can be no proceedings, but more importantly, a well-written contract will protect both parties. Make sure that a lawyer is available to facilitate the drafting of the contract, and is present during all meetings to ensure that the process complies with the legal and regulatory frameworks in place.

For more legal news, tips and advice, keep in touch with Ivan Zartz Attorneys blog page by clicking the link.

If you require a legal expert for advice during your business acquisition, or to facilitate any other commercial law or family law process, then contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!


11 Apr

Why Couples Shun Mediation

Recent studies have shown that the majority of separating couples go to the court to settle their disputes, rather than settling the separation through mediation.

Mediation is a tried, proven and trusted method of dispute resolution, and has less of a psychological impact for those involved in a separation between parents. This means that children are more likely to benefit from a mediated separation rather than a dispute that goes to court.

Why do parents choose the option of going to court when the process is more lengthy and more costly than settling the dispute through resolution? The answer usually lies with the fact that cases of separation are adversarial in nature. Both parents are seeking a set of outcomes that only one party to the case would be satisfied with, and neither is willing to capitulate.

The culture surrounding divorces and separation needs to be changed if there is any progress to be made. Parents need to identify the holistic benefits of mediation, and that the separation affects their children more than it affects them. By going through the process of dispute resolution, with the assistance of a mediation attorney, they can both think about the futures of their children. Additionally, any decisions made by both parents in a mediated case are more likely to be followed through by both parents.

In the long term, there needs to be more government support for projects and initiatives that encourage mediation between separating couples, and that the courts will also benefit from an institutionalised process of mediation.

If you require the services of a mediation attorney, then make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible. We will ensure that our role as mediator facilitates the grounds in which both parents can reach a resolution that benefits their children.

For more information regarding our dispute resolution services, click the link.