The relevant provisions with respect to maintenance for a child is governed by Section 92 and 93 of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976.
Child maintenance can be interpreted to mean the provision of accommodation, clothing, food and education as may be reasonable having regard means of the parents and station in life or by paying the cost thereof.
Section 92 of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976 reads that it shall be the duty of a parent to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of the children.
Section 93 of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976 provides that it will become the duty of the father to maintain a child under the following circumstances:
- If he refused or neglected reasonably to provide for the child;
- If he deserted his wife and child;
- During the determination of a divorce proceeding;
- When making or subsequent to making an order to place the child in the custody of another.
It is an accepted position of the law that the duty to maintain children is not the exclusive domain of fathers. In the High Court case of Loke Sow Leng v. Yap Eng Kee  6 CLJ 213, Faiza Tamby Chik J has held that the wife who is working is equally obliged to maintain the matrimonial children.
This is codified in Section 93 (2) of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976. The Court is empowered to order a woman to pay or contribute towards the maintenance if it is satisfied that she has the means to do so.
There is no magic formula or fixed formula to calculate the quantum of maintenance payable.
Whilst there is no magic formula, guidance can be drawn from Section 92 of the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976 wherein it is provided that in deciding the quantum of maintenance for the children, the Court has to consider the needs of the matrimonial children taking into account the standard of living of the children, parents’ capacity, ability to pay and the realities of the parties or the parties’ financial position.
Section 95 Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976 provides that except where an order for custody or maintenance of a child is expressed to be for any shorter period or where any such order has been rescinded, it shall expire on the attainment by the child of the age of 18 years or where the child is under physical or mental disability, or is pursuing further or higher education or training, on the ceasing of such disability or completion of such further or higher education or training, whichever is the later.
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