Chris Fick & Associates

Maintenance claims and life partners

More and more couples are opting to live together as permanent life partners rather than enter into a formal marriage. The risk for such couples is that whilst our law is steadily (if slowly and cautiously) extending many of the protections of formal marriage to unmarried life partners, that process is not by any means […]

Spousal maintenance after divorce and the “clean break” principle

“The clean break principle after divorce has found resonance with our courts for many years.  The aim of this principle is to ensure that the parties become financially independent of each other as soon as possible after divorce.” (Extract from judgment below) Our courts always prioritise the interests of children in any marital breakup, and […]

Life partners – You still need a will and a cohabitation agreement!

A recent High Court decision has been widely viewed as an important victory for the rights of unmarried opposite-sex life partners. Until now, if one such partner died intestate (without making a will), the other could not inherit on the same basis as could a married spouse. Nor could the surviving life partner claim maintenance […]

Grandparents – When are you compelled to pay maintenance?

How many grandparents are aware of, let alone plan for, their possible legal liability to pay maintenance for grandchildren until they become self-supporting? It’s an important issue – many grandparents are retired or planning to retire and having to support a grandchild, for decades possibly, is a daunting prospect. So, let’s look at when and […]

Collecting Maintenance in Hard Times – Threaten Jail Time

Maintenance arrears are notoriously difficult to collect, and in these hard times many dodgers will plead poverty. But particularly when children are involved our courts will not hesitate to threaten serial defaulters with jail for contempt of court – a wakeup call which has no doubt resulted in many a dodger changing tune with considerable […]

Domestic Violence and the Lockdown: Your Personalised Safety Plan

There is great concern that the COVID-19 crisis, particularly the mandatory “stay at home” lockdown phase, will see both an increase in the levels of domestic violence, and a decrease in the ability of victims to access help. It’s a worldwide concern and as the World Health Organisation puts it: “Stress, the disruption of social […]

Divorce in a time of lockdown – What grounds can you rely on?

The National Lockdown has thrown together many couples not used to spending “24/7” time in each other’s company. Relationships will have strengthened for many couples, but others will be struggling. The fears, anxieties and money worries now looming over us all certainly won’t haven’t helped. If your marriage is one of those unfortunate ones that […]

Beware the “Common Law Marriage” myth

If you live as a couple, avoid the trap of believing the myth of the “common law marriage”. It’s a very persistent myth, possibly because some other countries do indeed give formal recognition to certain forms of life partnership. But not in South Africa – there is no such thing in our law as a […]

Employees: Your new rights to Paternity and Parental Leave

It has taken over a year of confusion and delay around when new changes will be implemented, but finally your extended rights to parental leave and to an Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claim have fully commenced. Here’s an update/refresher – New mothers are still entitled to 4 consecutive months’ maternity leave. New “parents” (which would […]