A woman who is in the middle of a divorce was granted over R39,000 in spousal maintenance after she told the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, that she has never worked in her marriage and only possesses Grade 10.
The pair got married out of community of property with the accrual system in August 2007, and they had two children, a 12-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl.
The wife moved out of the matrimonial home in November 2021, and the children have been primarily residing with her.
In March 2022, the husband filed for divorce.
The wife approached the High Court and filed a Rule 43 application, in which she sought interim maintenance for herself and the children pending the finalisation of their divorce.
Giving background on her financial position, she explained that she did not finish her high school education as she left school in Grade 10.
She has never been employed during the course of the marriage relationship.
She only got a job in February 2023 as a temporary administrator, earning R3,500 monthly.
Due to her position, she argued that she would be unable to generate income for herself that would fulfil all her maintenance requirements as well as those of the minor children who primarily reside with her.
She had a total of R3,923 in her FNB and Capitec bank accounts and told the court that she wanted R41,849 in monthly maintenance for herself and her children.
She also sought reimbursement for the expenses she had incurred in obtaining a hospital plan due to her husband’s decision to remove her from his medical aid.
In addition, she claimed retrospective maintenance of R192,000 and said that since she left the matrimonial home, she has been loaned funds by her lover to cover the deficit.
She said she owed her lover R118,000 and her father R75,000.
She also wants to keep the Toyota Land Cruiser 200, which her husband now wants back.
In his response, the husband said he is a partner in a business that produces dog food. He said the business was not financially viable because of the load shedding.
He said he already contributes a monthly maintenance of about R23,337, which includes a R10, 000.00 cash payment. His own personal monthly expenses are about R39,415, and he cannot afford to contribute more than what he has been contributing.
Judge Portia Nkutha-Nkontwana said the maintenance claim implicates the constitutional rights of the minor children, and the father cannot be absolved of his duty to maintain because of the prejudice he claims he will suffer.
Regarding the retrospective maintenance claim, the judge said it would be dealt with during the divorce trial.
The court also held that the husband’s arguments that he needed to dispose of the Land Cruiser in order to improve his financial position were untenable because he purchased a sailboat and a motorcycle and failed to provide proof of the purchase price.
As a result, he was ordered to pay R39,548 spousal maintenance, pay all educational expenses for the children, pay for their extra-mural and sporting activities, pay for their medical aid, including his wife, and also pay for all service and replacement of tyres and licencing fees for the Toyota Land Cruiser.
He was further ordered to contribute R50,000 to his wife’s legal costs.