Wednesday, 17 July 2019 09:11

The Zero-Math Maintenance Calculator

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A Free Tool to Grow the Economy and create a better life for Children and Single-Parents 

What if we could solve South Africa's child maintenance problem and create new opportunities through the use of technology?

Mediation Academy has built a tool, doing just that - and it's free. Mediation Academy is heeding President Ramaphosa's call on the private sector to curb unemployment.

The Child Maintenance Problem

Many of the 20 million children in South Africa don't receive maintenance from both parents every month. Case backlogs at Courts are growing, denying justice to ordinary South Africans. The poorest of the poor are affected the worst.

According to Barry Greyvenstein, the App's designer: "What mediators find in practice, is a Cycle of Conflict between parents, where one parent withholds maintenance and the other parent withholds contact. The result is that children become trapped in this cycle - even though the fight is between the parents.

Up to 85% of parents miss a payment, or pay short within the first year after a maintenance order is issued by Court. The key ingredient in avoiding this, is the involvement of both parents in the decision-making process."

The Pro-Rata Principle

The App is built on the Pro-Rata Principle. According to this legal principle, each parent must contribute in proportion to their income. E.g. if parent A earns R10, 000 and parent B earns R20,000, then parent B is responsible for two-thirds of the children's total expenses.


The Solution

The Mediation Academy Maintenance Calculator is an App that involves zero math, allowing a third-party to effectively mediate maintenance between parents. The purpose of the calculator is to produce inputs, which the Courts can then consider when issuing maintenance orders.

It's in a format that makes it easy to fill out the maintenance forms used at Court and can even be used by maintenance officers.

"Where a maintenance order has been mediated with both parents agreeing on every details, we find a much higher rate of payment compliance." - Barry Greyvenstein.

The App works on just about anything with a screen: cellphones, tablets, laptops - even Smart TV's. It is built to accommodate high- and low income households, and it allows parents to decide which approach is fair for each item on the budget.

The App automatically calculates:

·  How much of each parent's income is eligible for maintenance,

·  What the maintenance payments should be,

·  And most importantly, we can see if the budget is going to be sustainable.


Why Make It Free?

"There is a huge need out there, and unless we do something about the problem, it's not going away on its own. We see a clear opportunity in the market for Attorneys, Mediators, Social Workers and Psychologists to get quicker resolution on cases involving maintenance. 

But there's also a substantial opportunity for people to become involved by mediating maintenance disputes. Think of all the unemployed graduates out there.

No Court system in the world has the capacity to solve every single problem. There are tremendous psycho-social gains for children when parents work together. Consider that the single biggest predictor for a life of crime is growing up without a father - and that is in fact the biggest predictor for a life of crime and 
Youths who never had a father living with them have the highest incarceration rates (Hill, O’Neill, 1993), while youths in father-only households display no difference in the rate of incarceration from that of children coming from two-parent households (Harper and McLanahan, 2004)

When parents work together, we find better relationships between children and (both) parents, and maintenance tends to get paid on time.

And when children are raised with enough economic resources and the involvement of both parents, they can become active participants in the economy and help grow our GDP." - Barry Greyvenstein.

View The Zero-Math Maintenance Calculator

Mediation Academy would like to thank all the people who gave their inputs, especially the staff at the Courts, fellow mediators, legal practitioners and social science professionals.

The Mediation Academy Maintenance Calculator is Endorsed by:








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