'She never sent him the money': What to do when a garnishee order isn't returned?

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The court order must be obeyed from the day it is made
The court order must be obeyed from the day it is made

The following question comes from a reader who wants to know what to do when their child's maintenance money is being paid into the wrong account, thanks to a garnishee order.

The reader writes: 

Good day,

I am paying child maintenance through a Garnishee order on my Payslip. My child has matriculated and he is staying with me now.

We went to court so the money may now go straight to his account and the Magistrate have signed off the documents.

It was also mentioned that the changes will take time and since court approval, the Mother should deposit the back money in the child’s account until then.

She never sent him the money and this may lead to him not studying next year since he already got his student number from Unisa.

Can I open a case of fraud against her or what will be the way forward for us?

Also read: Is your child's mother keeping you away? Fathers, know your rights

The way forward

A garnishee order, which is also known as an emoluments attachment order (EAO), is a court order that is served by the sheriff (or messenger) of the court that instructs an employer to deduct money from an employee's salary or wages to pay off and settle the debt owed.

To answer this question, News24 spoke to Anchen Faber, a Candidate Attorney at Di Sienna Attorneys

Faber says that a maintenance officer has seven days after the date of the court order to deliver the notice to the employer.

"The notice tells the employer to pay the money to a specific bank account. The Reader should follow up with the maintenance officer to find out if the notice has been delivered to the employer. Once the employer receives the notice, he must pay the money to the child’s bank account," explains Faber. 

The court order must be obeyed from the day it is made and if the mother fails to pay the money over into the child's account, she is guilty of an offence, according to Faber. 

"If the court order did not order the mother to pay over the money to the child, the mother will have received money without a legal reason. The father may then speak to an attorney and take further action against her on that basis," says Faber. 

"Alternatively, the child may apply at the maintenance court closest to where he lives for a warrant of execution against the movable property of the mother."

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