OPINION: Teen suing mom for maintenance money? We have a lot of questions. Number one: How dare you?

Can a child claim maintenance money?
Can a child claim maintenance money?

City Press reported on Sunday that 19-year-old student, Thomas, is taking his mother to court for maintenance money to the amount of R14 655 a month. Safe to say, Louwna, a 55-year-old personal assistant who makes R27 000 a month, before deductions, is heartbroken. 

“I recently had a nervous breakdown because of all this drama,” she said. 

According to Louwna, her son is taking her to court for: 

  • R2 200 for tuition fees,
  • R1 906 for medical aid,
  • R620 for clothes,
  • R700 for lunches,
  • R50 for extramural activities,
  • an additional R500 for pocket money,
  • a further R500 for vacations and relaxation,
  • R3 000 for groceries and personal care,
  • and R3 404 for accommodation. 

Thomas lives with his dad. 

Dad, Craig, fully supports his son in his case. 


Okay, so you’re telling me this grown man is suing his mom, and he didn’t get an ass whooping for it? How? If I dared even think to ask my mom for a R5 for civvies or a bit of change for Crack-a Snack, she would’ve intercepted my thoughts and telepathically yelled, “Do you think money grows on trees?” 

I can hear it now: “Who am I? Rockefeller?”  

One dad commented on the story, “This boy can be very happy he’s not my child.” 

“He will be chased out of the house, sitting on the street next to Kentucky where he will see the chicken, smell the chicken, but not taste the chicken...”

Which brings me to my next question: Craig, what you doing?

Also read: A dad's maintenance story: 'Fathers are not always the ones in the wrong'

We’re wondering if it’s even possible for a child to claim maintenance money from a parent. Family law attorney, Riëtte Oosthuizen, told City Press it is.

Oosthuizen commented that both parents are liable for the maintenance needs of a child. 

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development website specifies, “Maintenance is the obligation to provide another person, for example a minor, with housing, food, clothing, education and medical care, or with the means that are necessary for providing the person with these essentials.” 

“It is a legal obligation of both the biological parents, grandparents or legal guardian of the child to pay maintenance.” 

The Department’s website also specifies that the parent or legal guardian must be the one to apply for maintenance, however, if the child is no longer a minor and still needs financial support, the money can in fact be paid directly to them. The parent must pay maintenance until the child is “self-supporting”.

In this case, it is for the court to decide whether or not Louwna will have to pay the papgeld, and just how much, which will be based on the financial means of the parents and the parents’ obligation to meet the “needs” of the child. 

Also read: Maintenance money: to some, more divisive than divorce

Now, we’re not sure how we’ve raised a generation so entitled they think it’s okay to sue their parents for relaxation money.

We say this because it’s not the first time some kid’s had the audacity to do something like this. Remember that guy who tried taking his parents on because they didn’t ask for his consent before conceiving and giving birth to him?

Issa brat, if ever there was one.


Also read: Mom vs. Dad: know your rights

While we don’t know the financial situation of everyone involved in this particular maintenance case, nor do we know their personal circumstances, we’re going to assume it is not a need for Thomas to have R620 every month for clothes, R700 for lunches with an additional R3 000 for groceries, or even the R3 404 he’s allocated for accommodation. Doesn’t he live with his dad? 

And what exactly goes into vacations and relaxation? Why does he need R500 to kick back and relax? 

We're not the maintenance court – we're not experts – but we are going to propose a seemingly obvious solution:

Assuming Thomas goes to the spa every month and treats himself to a meal at Pigalle in Melrose Arch to the value of R 1200, one spoiled, lazy and simply, shameless, Thomas – who seems to have lots of time to visit a lawyer (with what money, I wonder) between classes at Wits – can better manage his time and go out and find a job. 

The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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