An application by an unemployed man who wanted to stay married to his wife, saying he was only willing to divorce if she paid him R26,000 spousal maintenance and shared half of her pension fund, was dismissed by the High Court in Johannesburg.
The husband argued that it was unfair for him to forfeit his wife’s pension as he used his first pension fund to pay lobola and spent some of it on the children.
He initially wanted 80% of her pension fund.
In her court papers, the wife said her husband secretly cashed out his second pension fund and used the money for his own benefit without informing her.
The husband said he used the funds to renovate and complete their house in Rayton. He provided the court with pictures of the renovated house.
However, the court found that the pictures were not enough proof that he used funds to complete the property and it also did not show much was spent on the property.
The Pretoria couple got married in community of property in 2015 and had two children born of the relationship.
The parties did not initially live together from the date of marriage as the husband worked in Centurion. He used to visit the wife in Danville where she lived with her mother and sister.
The Danville house belonged to the wife and her mother.
The couple eventually moved in together and lived in Rayton towards the end of 2019 and permanently separated around May 2020.
According to the wife, she wanted out of the marriage because they argued a lot and there was no meaningful communication between them.
She accused the husband of shouting at her and using foul and abusive language in the presence of their minor children.
She also said that her husband confessed to having 22 extramarital affairs. He sent her pictures during and after the separation of his girlfriends.
The husband denied the accusations.
He said he does not want to get divorced and the church to mediate in their marital issues. He said he also wanted to meet with his wife’s uncle to see if they could resolve their issues.
She said it will be impossible for her to pay her husband spousal maintenance as she earns R33,000 per month, both children are on her medical aid and their needs ranged between R8,000 and R9,000 per month.
The current value of her retirement fund was over R774,000.
She said her husband didn’t contribute towards her pension fund.
Instead, she demanded the husband to pay R2,500 per month towards each child, and also contribute 50% to their other requirements.
The husband didn’t provide the court with any proof of income. He said he gets money from his family from time to time.
He also receives R4,500 per month rental income from one of their properties in Loerie Park.
The court also heard that the husband was highly educated and holds a master's degree in engineering management.
He tutors students in mathematics and also created an app for child maintenance planning which explains parents' duty to pay maintenance.
In his defence, he said he doesn’t benefit from the app and hopes to sell it for R5 million.
He said he struggles to get a job because his wife opened criminal cases against him.
Acting Judge WJ du Plessis said the husband can earn a salary should he find employment and he also testified that he would be employed soon.
Du Plessis said the wife had withdrawn the charges, and he obtained a clearance.
Regarding the R26,000 spousal maintenance, Du Plessis said the husband failed to demonstrate how he got to that amount and how the wife would afford it.
Since there were three houses in the joint estate, the judge ordered that the wife keep the Danville property as it was under her and her mother’s names, the husband will keep Loerie Park.
Their Rayton property will be sold and they will share the proceeds.
It was also ruled that he would forfeit 50% of her pension fund because their marriage was short-lived, and he cashed out his pension fund and did not explain what he did with it. He also forged his wife’s signature on her bank statements, and also damaged her car.
The husband was also ordered to pay R2,500 per month towards each child, and also contribute 50% to their other requirements.
He was also ordered to pay 50% of the cost of the application.