Judge rejects wife’s ’exaggerated’ maintenance claim
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Pretoria - A mother of five embroiled in divorce proceedings with her husband got far less than she bargained for after claiming she couldn’t make ends meet since he left.
The woman claimed she had a R60 000 a month shortfall, and her grocery bill alone was R20 000 monthly.
The woman told the Limpopo High Court that she and her husband had lived a life of luxury in a five-bedroom house before he left. Now she had to “jiggle around” to make ends meet.
As a result of his failure to contribute to the upbringing of their children, her monthly expenditure rocketed to R83 280, she said.
Her take-home salary was R23 000, and that left her with a monthly shortfall R60 280. She asked the court to order her husband to contribute at least R51 530 a month towards her and the minor children, pending the finalisation of the divorce.
The respondent’s gross monthly salary is R26 000, but the wife said he receives an annual bonus of R26 000, and over- time pay, which took his average monthly earnings to R40 000. He was a wealthy businessman who operated a taxi business earning him an average gross monthly income of R127 500, she said.
They enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle before their separation and drove expensive cars, dined out a lot, bought expensive gifts for each other and also went on luxurious holidays – paid for by the taxi business and their salaries.
The wife said her husband recently bought a very expensive, luxurious Mercedes V-Class vehicle, with a monthly instalment of R25 000. Thus, he had plenty of money to share with her and the children.
The husband denied that they were living a luxurious lifestyle. He said it was modest.
He said he left the family home in February last year when he realised “his life was in danger as his wife was plotting to kill him”.
Even after he left the home, he said, he ensured his family was well-maintained and still paid the school fees, despite his failing health and struggling business due to Covid-19.
His wife’s claims were “a cocktail of half-truths, gross exaggerations, falsehoods and outright lies, aimed at misleading the court to punish him just to vent her anger and hatred on him”.
He said he dropped groceries at her home each month and footed the bill for everything.
The judge said the wife’s monthly expenses seemed exaggerated. “The monthly grocery of R20 000 – almost equal to the applicant’s nett salary –in my view is not realistic.” Seeing that the husband was paying for everything, he ordered the man pay R1 000 a month for each child to cover unforeseen last-minute expenses such as a school trips.