What do I do if I receive a summons?2018-08-14T23:29:38+00:00

That depends on whether or not you wish to defend the matter. If you do wish to defend the matter, you need to have valid lawful defence to the claim. Not every personal defence is a valid legal defence. If you do have a valid defence, you may file a Notice of Intention to Defend with the attorney who issued the summons and with the Clerk of the Court. The jurisdiction of the court will be indicated on the summons and you will have to file with the corresponding clerk.

This notice must be filed within the time period stated on the summons and there will also be a section on the summons itself where you may indicate your intention to defend the matter. If you have received a summons for a claim that you acknowledge, but are unable to pay the full outstanding balance, it is advised that you contact the attorneys who issued the summons in order to make payment arrangements.

Should you fail to do so, the attorneys may proceed with judgment and follow the ordinary collection procedure, which will cost you more in legal fees.

What is a parenting plan & when would I need one?2018-08-14T23:30:13+00:00

A parenting plan is an agreement between a mother and a father that regulates each parent’s right and responsibilities, as well as their access to their minor children. The parents need not be married for a parenting plan to be valid. These plans include arrangements regarding access on holidays, weekends and special occasions, the extent to which both parents will be involved in decisions relating to the children, as well as matters pertaining to the relationship between the parents vis-à-vis the children.

A parenting plan is required when couples file for divorce, as well as circumstances in which there are any form of uncertainty or dispute regarding the parents’ rights and responsibilities regarding their minor children.

If my ex-spouse or mother of my child refuses me access to my child, what are my rights?2018-08-14T23:30:28+00:00

This depends on whether you have a divorce order in place. If you were married and have a divorce order that grants you right of access, you may lodge a charge of contempt of court against your ex-spouse. If you were not married, the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 grants you automatic parental rights (and responsibilities) if you comply with certain criteria, including criteria relating to maintenance obligations towards the child. If there is any dispute between you and the mother, the matter must be referred to mediation and you may approach the Children’s Court (in the area where the child resides) for the purpose of having a parenting plan put in place.

If the natural father of my child cannot pay maintenance for the child, can I claim maintenance from his parents?2018-08-14T23:30:45+00:00

You may claim maintenance from the paternal grandparents of your child in the event that the natural father of the child is unable to pay maintenance.

If my spouse and I are getting a divorce, can I hold her liable for the debts that are on my name?2018-08-14T23:31:03+00:00

If you and your spouse reach an agreement with regards to the payment of debt, the agreement will be binding but only between yourselves. In other words, your spouse can agree to pay a debt that is in your name and you would have a right of recourse against him/her if he/she reneges on this agreement, but such an agreement does not bind your creditor and your creditor still has the right to enforce collection proceedings against you.

Is a verbal contract binding?2018-08-14T23:31:21+00:00

A verbal contract constitutes a contract and it is binding. However, we always recommend that a verbal contract is put in writing to ensure the full content of the agreement. This applies to any and all agreements, even those that seem very simple. Should, at a later stage, there then be any dispute regarding what was agreed upon you can hold the other party to the agreement by means of the written contract and refute any other evidence that does not accord with the contract.

I do not want to go under debt review or I have already been under debt review – are there other options available?2018-08-14T23:31:44+00:00

There are various options available to overindebted consumers. Debt review is one option that we recommend due to the many favourable aspects of this course of action. Another option is debt mediation, also known as debt management. If you do choose to go this route, it is imperative that you collaborate with a qualified debt professional. There are many unlawful counsellors who offer this service without the support of a proper trust account, thereby exposing consumers to risk due to their lack of security of fidelity cover. If you wish to do debt mediation the lawful way, please contact one of our staff members who will be happy to explain the advantages and disadvantages of this course of action.