Court orders ‘fat cat’ wife to pay ex-husband R1.2m in divorce settlement

File Photo.

File Photo.

Published Dec 8, 2022


Pretoria - A former wife who refused to share her pension fund with her ex-husband saying he financially abused her while they were married, was ordered by the Pretoria High Court to pay him over R1.2 million from her pension fund.

The husband and wife were married in community of property and had no children while they married, however, the husband entered the marriage with two children born from a previous marriage.

The husband instituted divorce proceedings after 16 years of marriage and demanded division of the joint estate, half of her pension fund and alimony which he later abandoned.

During pre-trial meeting held January 2022, the wife agreed to the division of the joint estate but refused to share her pension fund which was over R 3.6m.

The wife insisted that her ex-husband should not receive half of her pension fund saying she almost single-handedly raised his two kids by paying for their expenses including school fees, university fees and medical aid.

It was her testimony that her ex-husband purposefully married her to play the role of a mother to his children and to use her as a “cash cow” and on occasion also called her a “fat cat”.

She said shortly after the children completed their studies, the man commenced divorce proceedings in 2020 and refused for her to have any contact with his children.

She testified that during her marriage that she had been financially abused by her ex-husband, she further added that in 2018, he resigned from his employment and received over R1.7m from his pension fund and then moved out of the matrimonial home and squandered most of his entire pension proceeds, and only gave her R3 000.

In his defence, the man said they jointly took a decision that he resigns from his job due to his failing health.

From the proceeds, he transferred R1.2m to a living annuity and he used the balance to settle some of their debts, including paying up the bond, settling personal loans, paying off the balance owed on his motor vehicle and buying clothes for him and the children.

He said while he was still employed, he carried a number of the household expenses. He denied that he had financially abused her ex-wife.

From the evidence presented, the court found that that he had paid over R400 000 on the joint debts from his pension fund.

In its judgment, the the court said it was not persuaded that the wife had discharged her onus of proving substantial misconduct on the part of the husband to justify a forfeiture order.

The court ordered each party to pay its own costs.