Child Maintenance vs Accrual Claim

12/03/2015 18:11

When we set out to get engaged, get married or live together, the intention is to build a life together. Once the bells have stopped ringing and have been replaced with the sound of child entertainment toys, one soon finds out where your priorities lie.


 “Building a life together” for most women would probably mean building a FAMILY and then added to that, her DNA naturally nudges her into a role of CARING for the family.


For men the same principal of “Building a life together” would most probably equate to PROVIDING for the family and his DNA would then automatically allow him to create WEALTH.


Most men will venture into the family life by default yet most women will not even consider getting involved in the family finances let alone know where the income is coming from or where it is going to. This could be as a result of the trust that you have placed in your spouse (which is a good thing), or perhaps due to the hectic schedule to raise kids or maybe you are just intimidated.  What could cause this?


  • Lack of financial knowledge
  • Respect or your believe system
  • You are told not to worry about it   
  • You trust that you will be cared for
  • It is easier to rely on someone else for financial security
  • Trying to balance your time and family life


In my view this creates the Divorce Conundrum Ratio: 90% CARE vs. 100% WEALTH. When the topic of divorce comes up most women will fight to care for the kids 100% of the time and men would fight to keep 100% of the wealth. You are however entitled to 50% of the combined wealth (depending on your marriage regime) even if you have spent 90% of your time raising kids and managing the household.


What is wealth?



Paper with applicable information on it is empowering during marriage and is also a powerful witness during divorce proceedings. To avoid a paper war which is what divorce initially is, use this information to balance out your marriage regime. Make sure you know how you are married and what is stipulated in your contract.


To CARE costs money!


In marriage there is no cost associated for your time and effort to raise your kids (this includes all the home work projects) and the running of the household. It is called love and it is so easy to do when you have 2 parents working together and picking up where the other left off. When you get divorced someone will have to pay for this, this is why there is maintenance. As a single parent you will most probably have to find a new job and and work longer hours. It won’t always be possible to quickly phone your ex to pick up the kids because you are runnning late.


Divorce should always be your last option.  Having said that, you sometimes don’t have a choice or a say in this regard.  In the event of divorce, keep in mind that child maintenance is a separate issue and not related to your claim of your share of your wealth in your combined estate (accrual system).


My advice to you would be to get involved in your family finances by simply running a budget and discussing it with your partner or husband. This could possibly also build your marriage? A budget gives you proof of income and expenses which becomes a valuable tool should you choose to separate or  divorce. It ensures thet you know how much the childrens expenses are per month.


 Christel du Toit:  Specialist Divorce Financial Planner