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Changing (increase or decrease) the amount of maintenance (variation or substitution)

You can request that the amount paid for maintenance be increased or decreased, either because it has become insufficient or because you can no longer afford to pay that amount of maintenance.

Steps to follow
  • If you are the person who receives maintenance:
    • Apply at the magistrate's court that is situated in the district where you as the applicant and the child resides or lives.
    • Complete the relevant application form and submit it, together with a statement of income and expenditure, to the maintenance officer.
  • If you are the person who pays maintenance but can no longer afford the amount:
    • Apply for the decrease/ variation order at the magistrate's office where your maintenance order was made.
    • Complete the relevant form and submit it to the maintenance officer.
  • Submit a complete statement of income and expenditure, as well as a statement explaining the reasons for the application, to the maintenance officer regardless of whether you are the recipient or the payer of the maintenance money. The same process as when a claim for maintenance is first instituted will then be followed.

Legal framework

Maintenance Act, 1998 (Act No. 99 of 1998) and related regulations are available on this page: http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/acts_full.html

Service standard

  • You will be treated equally, humanely, and with dignity and respect.
  • Your application will be handled as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Lodge any complaints that you may have with the Maintenance Investigator; the Maintenance Officer; the Court Manager; the Regional Head: Justice and Constitutional Development or the Centre of Service Excellence; the National Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Project for Maintenance; or with the Directorate: Gender Issues.


Unless the sheriff asks for an advance to enable him or her issue an execution order for maintenance, there will be little cost or none at all.Forms to completeAll forms are available on this page: http://www.justice.gov.za/forms/form_mnt.htm

Contact details

Promotion of the Rights of Vulnerable Groups (Maintenance)
Name: Adv. Mulalo Netshisaulu
Tel No: 012 315 1512
e-mail: MNetshisaulu@justice.gov.za

Physical address:  Momentum Building, 329 Pretorius Street, Pretoria, 0001 
Postal address:  Private Bag X81, Pretoria, 0001 

Contact details for Magistrate Courts (Lower Courts)

Updated: 2013/04/26