A judge made it clear that times have changed, and a mother, as much as a father, had a duty to maintain her children. Picture: Independent media
A judge made it clear that times have changed, and a mother, as much as a father, had a duty to maintain her children. Picture: Independent media

Divorce: Woman’s excessive demands shot down by judge

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Aug 4, 2020

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Pretoria - As many of us are feeling the pinch in our pockets with a reduced salary due to the bleak economic times, it is interesting to note that even the rich are affected.

I had a good giggle last week when a judge told a woman that times were changing and it was high time she also contributed to the maintenance of her two small children.

The background is that she is on the brink of a much-contested divorce. But, being used to a lavish lifestyle, the woman demanded R130 000 maintenance a month, pending the divorce.

Ths included R15 000 per child, who she said each consumed R4 000 a month in food. While she said she needed R79 000 for herself to cover her expenses, the children, according to her, needed a further R4 750 a month towards their entertainment bill.

While it is not known exactly what this entertainment entails, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown, the judge frowned upon this demand, as well as several others she made.

But the woman said that they were used to a certain lifestyle, of which her husband could not now deprive them.

He, on the other hand, said while he had earned R130 000 a month - most of which he paid towards his family’s needs - he could no longer do so as he had lost his job.

The judge made it clear that times have changed, and a mother, as much as a father, had a duty to maintain her children.

The judge had a good look at some of her claimed expenses and regarded many as being excessive. The estranged couple were ordered to each contribute 50% towards the household expenses.

It reminded me of a similar judgment delivered two weeks before the lockdown started in March. In this case the judge did not mince his words and downright told the wife to “tighten her belt”.

While her estranged husband in that case earned a salary of R36 100 a month, the 27-year-old woman told the court her monthly expenses totalled R53 000.

She said her husband, “a staunch Greek Othodox” church member, had never allowed her to work. Thus, not used to going to work, coupled by the demands made by her three small children, she was unemployable, she said.

But the judge had put his foot down and said that as she had a degree, but perhaps not the practical experience to go with it, she could very well go out and find a job.

While I do not have much sympathy with these wives, especially during these times, I think back of the Elandspoort mother who undertook to pay R1 a month maintenance to her husband from whom she was divorced, towards the upkeep of their 15-year-old son.

She gave an undertaking to the court to pay a bigger amount once she was in a financial position to do so.

The mother further undertook to apply for a subsidy regarding her son’s school fees.

The couple got married when she was 17 years old, and they were married for 35 years before they obtained a divorce. She told the court that she had been totally dependent on her husband all those years and she could not even drive a car.

She said she was currently dependent on family members and church donations for her daily expenses, which totalled R3 000 a month.

Of this amount, she said she needed R1 000 as rent for the flat she was living in, R1 500 for groceries and other expenses and R500 for personal care. Her shortfall, she said, was thus R3 000 and therefore she could spare only R1 as maintenance.

This woman earned my respect as she was trying to make ends meet with very few demands.

Pretoria News

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