As the cost of living continues to soar, South Africans are struggling to stay afloat financially. We’re not trying to be naysayers or spread doom and gloom, but this is the reality for many people. At LAW FOR ALL, we understand how easy it can be to buckle under financial pressure and make mistakes. So we thought it sensible to put together savvy legal tips to combat debt and help you survive these financially trying times.

1. Renegotiate Your Lease Agreements.

If you haven’t paid your rent in the last few months, you are not alone. In fact, one in every four South Africans has fallen behind in their rent payments, according to the automated rental payment platform PayProp.

Remember, a contract is a contract, and if you don’t pay and fall into debt, your landlord may cancel your agreement, evict you and hold you liable for the rental arrears and legal fees.

If you’re having problems paying your rent, we’ve got your back! Get in touch with our caring legal advisors and mediators who are here to answer any legal questions you may have, provide expert legal advice and negotiate with your landlord before your debt grows and you end up in court.

When it comes to renting, putting your agreement in writing is the best idea. Download our FREE Lease Agreement and protect your legal rights.

2. Review Your Maintenance Responsibilities.

Sadly, four out of every ten marriages in South Africa end up on the rocks, and usually, the fighting continues long after the divorce papers are signed. Money issues cause a lot of problems between separated couples, especially when it comes to paying child maintenance.

No matter personal feelings, both parents have a legal duty to pay maintenance for their children, whether they were married in the first place or not. Even if one parent earns more than the other, both have to make a contribution towards living expenses such as housing, food, clothing, education and medical expenses.

Truthfully, increases in the cost of living and price increases affect both parents. Keep in mind that it is easy to underestimate maintenance requirements, even if a divorce settlement makes provision for an annual increase. As your caring friend in the law, we can help! Get in touch with our legal professionals who can advise and assist you to get an increase or decrease in maintenance.

Not paying maintenance has many legal consequences for defaulters. Read our feature on child maintenance defaulters being blacklisted.

3. Renegotiate with Your Creditors.

Currently, 75% of consumers’ salaries in South Africa go towards paying off debt, meaning there is little to no money for anything else. Making changes to buying habits, cutting back on debt and reviewing your debt agreements could be the first step to getting back control over your finances.

It is always a good idea to prioritise your debts and try to pay the debt with the highest interest rates off as quickly as possible. Defaulting on debt can have expensive and serious legal implications – from being blacklisted, handed over to debt collectors or sued in court.

If your debt is keeping you up at night, get in touch with us! Our mediators can do a FREE credit check and contact your creditors to renegotiate your debt. They may be willing to accept smaller repayments over a longer period of time, bringing down your monthly expenses.

If you are over-indebted and want to get out of debt, read our feature about Debt Review, Sequestration and Administration

4. Finalise Disputes and Collect Money Owed to You.

You may have had the best intentions of helping someone else out, but if they have let you down and given you one excuse after the other and avoided you, it may be time to collect money from someone who owes you cash.

We are experts in mediation and have been doing it for over 30 years. In fact, we resolve most of our clients’ legal troubles by negotiating on their behalf. If your debtor doesn’t come to the party, our legal advisors and mediators can help you put the ball on the roll to claim back your money in court.

Claims below R20 000 can easily be claimed in the Small Claims Court. Read our feature and find out how you can get your money back.

5. Submit Your Tax Returns

Tax season is around the corner, which means it is time to get ready to file a tax return. This year’s tax season is a few weeks shorter than usual, and it’s important to submit all the essential paperwork on time.

What’s more, if you know what you are doing you might get some money back. If you are a Platinum Plus Policyholder, get in touch with one of our tax professionals who will take the stress off your shoulder, help you submit your tax return and add some much-needed money in your pocket.

Read our feature on making the most of your tax return and see what you can claim back from SARS.

LAW FOR ALL – Your Caring Friend in the Law.

If you are drowning in debt, why not get in touch? LAW FOR ALL has partnered with, DebtBusters, an award-winning debt management company, to assist our clients with taking back control of their finances. For more about our policy benefits, see our Policies.