Pretoria - Following a failed marriage of 24 years and a pending divorce, a father has to cough up and ensure that while he is still living in comfort, his estranged spouse and children also still enjoy their comforts.
The wife took her husband to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to ensure that he continued to maintain their two children at university and that he increased her maintenance, as her expenses were R111 100 a month .
The wife said this left her with a shortfall of R56 628 each month.
She complained that her husband continued to live in luxury all by himself in their four-bedroom matrimonial home, with a full-time domestic worker and gardener.
These are all luxuries that she and the children do not enjoy, the court was told.
Apart from this, she told the court, he drove a top-of-the range German car, a Mercedes-Benz SL 500 Roadster, while she had had to sell her car after she and the children moved out of the house in 2019.
The children are sharing a car which was bought for them, so the wife wanted to ensure that the husband continued to pay the fuel card which allowed them to buy fuel up to a maximum of R2 400 a month
While her employer made a contribution towards the children’s education fees, she wanted to force her husband to make a payment of 100% of the shortfall regarding these fees.
Another demand was that he had to contribute towards their books and study material, computer software and other educational expenses.
Apart from this, she wanted R35 000 in maintenance a month, as well as R50 000 towards her legal fees in their contested divorce.
The husband, an architect, said he had no problem paying towards his children’s education, but he drew the line by paying his wife R35 000 a month maintenance as well as contributing towards her legal fees.
He said he wanted to get divorced as soon as possible, but she was the one who had prolonged the process.
He also said she had itemised extravagant items on her monthly expenses, which she could do without.
He accused her of failing to budget properly and said she ended up spending her income irresponsibly
The husband argued that he could not keep footing the bill for his wife’s “extravagant” lifestyle, and it was time his children also pulled in their belts.
He said he was advised that “major children are not maintained as lavishly as minor children”.
He claimed they both earned around R48 000 a month, and that he was in the same boat financially as his wife.
A document drafted by his accountant, as demanded by his wife’s legal team, however, showed that he averages a monthly income of R97 401, considering the benefits he received.
The court said that a spouse, pending a final divorce order, was entitled to support on a scale similar to the social position, lifestyle and financial resources of the parties before.
“It would be reasonable to maintain her in a position similar to that which she would ordinarily be accustomed to while she was living together with the husband,” Judge Colleen Collis said.
However, she warned that all parties, including the children, would somewhat have to tighten their belts in future.
The judge granted the wife’s demands, but drew the line at the contribution to her legal fees, which the wife must foot herself.