Divorce gets ugly over house

2012-05-05 16:33

A Grahamstown man became so frustrated with his ex-wife’s refusal to have the marital home valued that he turned to the courts, seeking her arrest.

His plea to the court to have his “hostile” ex-wife jailed for two years, came after she repeatedly refused to let a valuer into the property.

The couple, who cannot be identified, were divorced in April 2010 according to an agreement that was made an order of court.

The agreement included an order for the couple’s property to be valued.

But after repeated failed attempts by valuers and estate agents to get into the house, the woman’s ex-husband decided to charge her with contempt of court.

In court papers, one estate agent who tried to value the property explained what happened.

“The wife and her house guests (seven males) were hostile and I was asked to leave the house.

“The house guests at this point had become extremely hostile and for reasons of my own personal safety, I decided to leave the property,” said the estate agent.

He added that he had attended to “hundreds of appraisals over the years and this one was definitely the most difficult of all”.

On Thursday, Acting Judge Leon Kemp handed down a judgment in which he said he wasn’t sure if the two-year sentence was “entirely appropriate”.

Kemp said “while it may be so that the parties hold each other in contempt”, the courts should not be “weapons for matrimonial combatants to bludgeon each other with”.

The application was dismissed.

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