Divorce involving minor children in South Africa is governed by the Children’s Act of 2005. When a married couple with minor children decides to divorce, there are specific legal processes and considerations to ensure the well-being and best interests of the children are taken into account. These include, amongst others, care and contact of the child (children) and maintenance (spousal and child maintenance).


Maintenance orders refer to legal arrangements designed to ensure that individuals who are responsible for financially supporting their dependents, such as children or spouses, fulfil their obligations. Maintenance orders are governed by the Maintenance Act of 1998 and are enforced by the South African courts. The purpose of maintenance orders is to provide financial assistance to those who are entitled to it and to promote the welfare of dependent family members.


In South Africa, the cancellation of maintenance orders typically involves legal procedures and is subject to the Maintenance Act of 1998 (Act No. 99 of 1998). If you wish to cancel or amend a maintenance order, the following steps would generally be applicable:


  1. Speak to a Legal Professional: It’s advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can provide you with guidance specific to your situation and help you navigate the legal process.
  2. Application for Cancellation or Variation: To cancel or vary a maintenance order, you would need to apply to the court. This application should include the reasons for your request and any supporting evidence.
  3. Notice to the Other Party: The court will serve notice to the other party (the person who is supposed to pay maintenance) about your application. They will have an opportunity to respond and present their side of the case.
  4. Court Hearing: The court will schedule a hearing to consider your application. Both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence. The court will then make a decision based on the circumstances presented.
  5. Court Order: If the court finds in your favour, it may issue a new maintenance order or vary the existing order as per its judgment.
  6. Enforcement: Once a new maintenance order is issued or an existing order is varied, it is legally binding. The person responsible for paying maintenance must comply with the new terms. Failure to do so could result in enforcement actions, such as wage garnishment or imprisonment.


If the circumstances that led to the maintenance order change significantly, it may be a valid reason to seek a cancellation or variation. However, the court will consider the best interests of the dependents involved when making such decisions.


It is crucial to consult with a legal professional to ensure you follow the appropriate legal procedures and understand your rights and responsibilities in the process of cancelling or varying a maintenance order in South Africa, as laws and procedures can change over time, and individual circumstances can vary.


Burden Swart & Botha Attorneys specialise in Family Law and Litigation. We understand the diverse spectrum of circumstances of Divorces and Maintenance orders and we stay on top of the latest regulations and amendments. Contact us for professional, friendly and compassionate legal advice and representation.