Enforcing a South African maintenance order in a foreign country

May 20, 2016 | 2016, News

The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act allows a parent living in South Africa to claim maintenance from a parent living in a foreign country and vice versa.

South Africa, however, only has reciprocal enforcement agreements with Australia, Botswana, Canada, Cocoa Islands, Cyprus, Fiji, Germany, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Jersey, Isle of Man, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norfolk Island, Sarawak, Singapore, St Helena, Swaziland, United Kingdom, United States of America (restricted to California), Zambia and Zimbabwe.

This means that a maintenance order (provisional or final) granted in any one of the listed countries or territories is enforceable in South Africa.

If the country in question, however, is not a proclaimed country in terms of the Act, legal proceedings must be instituted in the foreign court. This is generally a more time consuming and costly process.

In order to enforce a maintenance order in proclaimed countries and territories, the following documentation must be sent to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development:

a) Four certified copies of the provisional court order.
b) Four certified copies of the affidavit by the complainant or an officer of the court as to the amount of arrears due under the order.
c) Four certified copies of the affidavit or evidence of the complainant.
d) Birth certificate(s) of the child or children.
e) Marriage certificate (if applicable).
f) A photograph and description of the defendant.
g) The exhibits referred to in the complainant’s affidavit or evidence.
i) Physical residential and or working address of the defendant in a proclaimed country.

For more information on the enforcement of maintenance orders see: http://www.justice.gov.za/ilr/intmnt.html