A police officer, who was living with his girlfriend in his marital home, was forced to share half of the house and his pension fund with his ex-wife during a divorce settlement in the Limpopo High Court.
The former couple got married in community of property in 1992 and had four children.
Their relationship reached a state of disintegration and the wife moved out of their marital home in 2014.
Shortly after moving out, a pregnant woman moved into the marital home.
In November 2016, she instituted divorce proceedings and wanted the husband to pay R3,000 maintenance for their last born and she further demanded half of his pension fund and the division of their joint estate.
She testified that in 2016, she resigned as a teacher and received a payout of over R1.2 million.
The ex-wife told the court that she used the money to build another house for herself and her children, bought furniture, paid debts which were incurred during the marriage, paid for the children’s university fees and also bought herself a Mercedes Benz.
She now works at another school on a contract basis.
During the marriage, she said her husband paid for the bond instalments and was responsible for household necessities.
She said she also took out a R100,000 loan which went into renovating the marital house, bought beds, a dining room suite, couches, new doors, kitchen utensils, crockery, and was used to re-tile the floors.
Regarding school fees, she said the husband only assisted when the children were in primary and high school, however, she was the only one responsible for their tertiary education and had to finance their studies through Edu-loan, which she had to pay back.
At some point, their daughter took the father to court to compel him to pay for her tertiary education and he was ordered to pay R900 monthly. However, he defaulted on the payments and she obtained a garnishee order.
In his defence, the husband disputed the wife’s evidence saying she never contributed to the house and argued that she did not use her pension payout of R1.2 million towards the joint estate.
He admitted that his girlfriend moved in with him and they have an eight-year-old.
He accused his wife of cheating and said she would leave under false pretext that she was attending school workshops.
Furthermore, he told the court that he doesn’t want his ex-wife to get a share from the house or his pension fund.
Limpopo High Court Judge Marisa Naudé-Odendaal said when a claim for forfeiture was considered, the court must have regard to the duration of the marriage, the circumstances which gave rise to the breakdown thereof, and any substantial misconduct on the part of either of the parties.
Looking at the evidence, the judge said the husband was the one who was involved in an extra-marital affair which resulted in a child being born out of wedlock.
“In my view, the defendant (husband) did not manage to prove that the plaintiff (wife) was the cause that gave rise to the breakdown of the marriage,” she said.
“In addition, in my view, the defendant did not prove any substantial misconduct on the part of the plaintiff. In the result, the defendant's claim for forfeiture must fail.”
Regarding the maintenance that was sought by the ex-wife for the last born, the judge said all four children were no longer minors and she would not rule on maintenance issues.
The judge ordered that the marital home be shared between the husband and the ex-wife. It was also ordered that the ex-wife would get half of the ex-husband’s pension fund.
Both parties were ordered to pay their own costs.