What is maintenance

Maintenance is the provision of support (usually financial in nature) for wives, children or incapacitated husbands.

Some examples of common maintenance orders include:

  • Fixed monthly payments.
  • Reimbursement (repayment) of specific expenses, either in full or in part.
  • Direct payment of expenses to a service provider (such as a childcare centre or utilities provider).

It may be given to any of the following parties:

  • A wife whose husband neglects or refuses to provide her with reasonable maintenance.
  • An incapacitated husband whose wife has neglected or refused to provide him with reasonable maintenance.
  • A child whose parent neglects or refuses to provide them with reasonable maintenance.
    • This includes children over 21 to whom at least one of the following is applicable:
      • They are disabled,
      • They are full-time NSmen or students.
      • There are special circumstances such that maintenance is necessary.

If you receive a letter from the Family Courts regarding a maintenance summons, it means that someone has filed a maintenance application against you.

You will receive a summons together with the letter. This court document will inform you of the date, time and venue for the first session, which is usually mediation. Otherwise, you may be directed to attend a court mention.

You must attend all scheduled sessions for the maintenance application. If you do not turn up, a warrant of arrest may be issued against you.

To speed up the resolution of the matter, you can log into the Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS) to make an offer online to resolve the case. This option is available up to 5 days before the first mediation session.

Read the summons to find out the type of application that has been filed against you. It may be an application for any of the following:

  • A fresh application for the maintenance of a spouse or child.
  • An enforcement of an existing maintenance order made by the Family Courts.
  • An enforcement of a maintenance order, nafkah iddah or mutaah made by the Syariah Court.
  • An enforcement of an order made by the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents.
  • An order to vary (change) or revoke (cancel) an existing maintenance order made by the Family Courts.
Resolving the dispute

Attend mediation

The court may direct you and the applicant to attend mediation to try to resolve the case. If you reach a resolution, the case will end. If not, the case will proceed to a mention.

Resolving the dispute

Attend one or more mentions

Both you and the applicant will have to attend a court mention before a judge, who will give you directions on the next steps to take. There may be further mentions to prepare the case for a hearing.

Resolving the dispute

Attend a hearing

If you and the applicant cannot come to an agreement after mediation, you will go to trial. Your case will be heard by a judge, who will decide the outcome of the application.

After an order is made

Understand the outcomes and file an application, if needed

After the court makes an order, you must comply with it or the other party may enforce it. If you are not satisfied with the court's decision, you may file an appeal.



Refer to the Maintenance brochure:

Related questions

No. Issues relating to access to children are separate from issues relating to maintenance.

If you are experiencing issues related to access, you may wish to seek independent legal advice on your options.

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