Posh wife with expensive lifestyle told to pay her own way as court declines R95K maintenance demand

Stock image of wife and husband signing divorce papers.

Picture: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Published May 26, 2023


Pretoria - A wife who wanted to continue living a life of luxury at her estranged husband’s expense, through a R95 000 per month spousal allowance, has been told by the South Gauteng High Court to fund her own lifestyle.

The Johannesburg court dismissed the woman’s application for R95 000 monthly spousal maintenance after it found that she could afford to fund her own lifestyle.

The court however ordered that the husband contribute R10 000 monthly towards the maintenance of their child.

The woman was married out of community of property without the accrual system. They tied the knot in 2013.

The businesswoman instituted divorce proceedings against her semi-retired orthopaedic surgeon husband in April 2022. She also launched a Rule 43 application for interim maintenance for herself and their child pending the divorce.

In a Rule 43 application, the financially disadvantaged spouse can petition the court to require the financially affluent spouse to pay them maintenance and a contribution toward the costs of the divorce.

On top of the R95 000, she wanted the husband to pay R85 000 towards her legal fees.

She also wanted her husband to continue paying for her medical aid expenses and for their child. She also partitioned that he should also pay for school fees and extra mural activities including R10 000 monthly maintenance for the child.

In her court papers, she described their standard of living as very high end, as they went on regular local and overseas trips. They always stayed in five-star hotels and flew business class.

She said all trips included eating out at top restaurants and shopping at Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana stores.

“We both drive luxury cars, me, a Land Rover Velar and my husband an Audi Q7… All grocery shopping has always been done at Woolworths,” she said in court papers.

On average, she told the court that she spent R20 000 monthly on nails, spas, botox, fillers, laser treatments, and beauty products.

She said in her business, where she breeds French bulldogs, she makes about R140 000 a year, but the expenses could be as high as R100 000 per year.

She is also a director and an employee at Monsa.

She told the court she owns three houses, two in South Africa and one in Poland. Two of the houses are paid up except for the one in Bedfordview where she lives with her child.

She gets R10 000 a month from one of the properties she rents out in Germiston.

In his responding papers, the husband said he earned more than R150 000 a month, but spent R30 000 on investments, over R59 000 on rent, and more than R64 000 on what he considered to be his salary. He said his monthly expenses were in excess of R138 000.

He further denied that he was the main provider for the his wife. He said that she was a woman of substantial wealth with ample income, and her expenses could be easily covered by the income she earns from her businesses and her live-in partner.

He concluded that he offered to cover all the expenses for their child even though the manner in which she had split the expenses between herself and the child was disingenuous and self-serving.

After reviewing the evidence from both sides, Acting Judge E Mokoena said it was evident that the wife was earning an income from Monsa.

“The applicant (wife) is in a position to contribute towards the child’s expenses; however, she has not made provision (for that),” Mokoena said.

Mokoena said a Rule 43 application had to establish the need to be maintained, and so far, the wife had adequate resources to discharge this duty.

“I have considered the parties standard of living and lifestyle when they resided together. Consequently, there are some lifestyle habits the applicant will have to consider cutting down.”

Mokoena dismissed the wife’s application and ordered her to pay her own legal costs.

The husband was ordered to pay R10 000 in monthly maintenance for their child.