A married 16-year-old teen’s maintenance money has been chopped off by a magistrate.While parents have an obligation to take care of their children, legally the maintenance is binding until a child turns 18 or becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first.Richard Mabeke, 45, had been dragged to the Maintenance Court in Victoria Falls by his former wife Stella Macheke, 50, who resides in Chinotimba suburb, for failure to pay maintenance for the couple’s 16-year-old daughter.
Magistrate Rangarirai Gakanje was told that Mabeke was last year ordered to pay $180 per month for the upkeep of his daughter who was still in school and now owed $720 after failing to pay.Mabeke pleaded not guilty to failure to pay maintenance and told the court that he stopped paying when the girl’s mother phoned and told him that their daughter had eloped with a boyfriend.
“I stopped paying because she phoned me saying our daughter had eloped with a man,” said Mabeke. Macheke who was also in court confirmed to the magistrate that she had phoned her former husband telling him his daughter was now co-habiting with a man.
“It’s true that I phoned him but the boyfriend has dumped her. The maintenance was for her school fees because she was still in school,” said Macheke.Gakanje said: “The maintenance order states that he should pay maintenance until the child turns 18 or becomes self-sufficient so he can’t pay for a child who has eloped.”
Mabeke will not pay the $720.