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Maintenance payments via EFT

Usually a divorce order would state the way maintenance must be paid. It could be a cash payment, into a bank account, at court or by an emoluments attachment order, where an employer would deduct the maintenance from a person's salary.

EFT payments are becoming more and more popular lately. Cheques are becoming old-fashioned. Cheques must be delivered to a bank and sometimes take a few days to clear. It is far easier to make an EFT payment as this you do on your computer. Cheques cost money in bank fees, whilst an EFT payment is for free.

Recently the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, launched an electronic funds transfer (EFT) payment system for maintenance at courts. This took place in the Philippi Magistrates Court in Cape Town.

An EFT payment system is just so much more efficient than other payment systems in many ways. In the poorer areas it is quite common for people to collect maintenance at the courts. The court hours are from 09h00am to about 15h00pm normally, and sometimes even close earlier. Those collecting maintenance at court can only do so during the time the courts are open.

Those collecting maintenance at court very often have to use public transport to collect their maintenance. Busses, taxis and trains cost money and time. Sometimes the queues at the courts are quite long and the person collecting the maintenance must wait for long periods of time. If they work they must also take time off work to go to court to collect the maintenance.

There is a chance also that once you have collected the maintenance money from court that you may be robbed on the way. Criminals are becoming clever nowadays. They target their victims and know that people collect maintenance money at the courts.

In order to be paid your maintenance by EFT, there is however a procedure to be followed. You need to take your identity document to the Magistrates Court, where you will be given a form to fill in. You also obviously need a bank account, as an EFT transfer involves the transfer of funds from one bank account to another.

From November 2010 to June 2011 the system was launched at 12 sites throughout South Africa. According to the Justice Department, until December 2012 it will spread out bit by bit to all courts throughout South Africa.

Maintenance beneficiaries have responded very well to the new EFT payment system. They now receive their funds on the same day payment has been made or at least two days later. I am very impressed with the new system. It just makes life so much easier for the maintenance beneficiaries.

This article was written by Cape Town divorce lawyer, Peter M Baker

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