Single parents on the Cape Flats will soon have a support group to guide them on the difficult journey of getting their former partners to pay child maintenance.
Felicity Guest, founder of Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa (CMDSA), said the non profit company (NPC) was established four years ago to provide single parents with the support and advice they need when claiming for child maintenance, which, she said, is a tough journey.
She said the organisation educates these parents about their rights, as well as the child’s rights.
They also provide emotional support, information about how to file for child maintenance, and offer advice about parenting and co-parenting.
“Child maintenance in South Africa is getting worse over the years. Some people are waiting for up to seven months for a court appointment which at the end of the day demotivates them. A lot of the mothers have no idea about the whereabouts of the fathers of their children and they expect the courts to find them and that prolongs the procedure. There is a lot of judgement that happens at the courts and it takes a lot of mental and emotional support to get through it,” said Ms Guest.
The support group will be launched at Bonteheuwel library tomorrow, Thursday March 8, (International Women’s Day) from 11am.
Cape Flats group leader Ladovica Gordon said group members can share their hearing dates and accompany each other to court for support.
“The courts don’t realise what you are going through when your husband or boyfriend does not pay maintenance and you have to fight for it. You are desperate because your child has needs. They need to be more sympathetic and stop treating us like another number. Just hearing other people’s stories makes people not want to go to court,” she said.
Ms Guest said many people who are faced with going through the procedure end up suffering from depression or post traumatic stress disorder.
“We will be distributing CMDSA branded armbands soon which our clients will wear when they go to court so they are able to identify each other and support each other. We have become their voice because they don’t have one,” she said.
Ms Guest said children have rights and need to be looked after by both parents but that it is not happening and children are being negatively affected.
“At the end of the day all of this affects the child and they end up suffering,” she said.
For more information, call Ladovica on 076 182 9002 or like Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa on Facebook.