Could you imagine recovering seven years worth of child maintenance?
Bottom line: Parents who default on child maintenance are blacklisted and blocked from getting credit while owing maintenance.
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
I am not holding my breath…
The maintenance court is full of desperate people trying to make ends meet and provide for their kid(s). The corridors are filled to the brim with people staying in queues, waiting.
- As it is, staff are over worked and under-supported in their tasks. Asking them to fill out another form, is like adding another 20 minutes waiting time per person in the queue
- Procedures. The court follows a tightly list of instructions. If x happens, follow with y. If 123 has happened then follow through with ABC. I know that is the right way of doing things. A person can’t be penalized for defaulting on a maintenance payment once.
- Procedures leads to time wasted. You need to wait 4-6 weeks for a person to be summoned to court. If the person isn’t present in court, they get summoned again. Another 4-6 weeks down the drain.
- When you finally have the person present, the court decides on a date to start the trail. I.e. Let’s waste another half a month.
- It is easier to climb Mount Everest while holding your breath than it is to get a garnished order on the biodad’s salary
My personal experience in the maintenance court
A trip to the maintenance court is never quick or easy. I reached a point where maintenance was a bonus. It wasn’t a reliable source of income. Wasting away my days at the maintenance court was more than I could handle. And yet I kept fighting for my kid, out of principle and because I wanted more for him.
I finally stopped fighting because my emotions were getting the best of me. I realised my kid needed me more than any money the biodad could pay. It has been 5 years [five years?] since I have put my foot anywhere near the maintenance court. I am so grateful that I haven’t needed to sit my foot near the court and by the Grace of God, I am never going back!
I digged into my blog archives. I shared quite a bit of the journey here and I was pretty surprised at how emotional I got reading and rehashing those memories. There were two posts in particular that stood out, one was about the general experience and what is involved in becoming a regular at the maintenance court. The other was when the Sperm Donor was crowned Father of the Year making a maintenance payment two months in a row while after months of non-payment.
I wish I could be more optimistic
- I don’t think the maintenance courts have the capacity to implement and follow through on the new legislation.
- I don’t think the really bad defaulters – the cases where the money is really needed – the legislation will have an effect. These candidates won’t have an issue with being blacklisted, chances are they already are.
Still, I sincerely hope the new legislation has a positive impact on our nation’s children.
My hope for any parent standing in the corridors of a maintenance court, is a positive outcome. Stay strong, keep level-headed.
Side note: I have no idea how much money seven years of maintenance would amount to. Also, I am under no illusion that I will never win the lotto. That would require you to play the lotto. Fruitless expenditure!