Steve Hofmeyr divorce drags on

Pretoria – While Steve Hofmeyr is already deeply involved in the relationship that allegedly caused the breakup of his marriage to Natasha Sutherland, the court has now had to intervene to force him to finalise the divorce.

Hofmeyr’s divorce from Sutherland has still not been finalised, and the court had to take action when he backed out on the maintenance amount that he promised her.

Hofmeyr has not yet signed the agreement, under which he has to pay Sutherland R17 500 per month for 18 months after the divorce. The court has now ordered that the bailiff step in if he still refuses to do so.

"(Hofmeyr) must accept full responsibility for the delays in finalising the divorce," acting judge Bashier Vally found in the Johannesburg High Court.

The couple announced the split in 2008, after Hofmeyr’s extramarital affair with fitness instructor Janine van der Vyver came to light.

Van der Vyver also sued him for alleged broken promises, but the case was dropped since they rekindled their relationship.

Maintenance drama

Kenny Verhage, Sutherland’s attorney, confirmed that the settlement agreement was signed on Thursday. He says they hope to settle on a court date for the divorce soon.

The divorce proceedings have taken a long and winding road to arrive at this stalemate, as is evident from Vally’s verdict. The judge said the divorce was initially set to be finalised by December 2009.

The couple had by then already agreed on the terms of the settlement after small disagreements such as annual increase in maintenance (7,5% instead of 10%) were smoothed out.

By June last year, Hofmeyr still hadn’t signed the contract, and Sutherland went to court to force him to do so. Only after she sued him again, Hofmeyr notified her that there is a problem with a provision in which he wants to appoint their two children as beneficiaries of a policy.

After some time, Hofmeyr developed a new problem with the ongoing divorce. He wasn’t as generous with regards to the "rehabilitation maintenance" which Sutherland deserves.

He said that the maintenance that he has been paying her since December 2009 should be deducted from the 18 months of maintenance that he has to pay after the divorce.

Vally concurred with Sutherland by saying that it was the actual intent of the agreement. The court ordered that the agreement should be adjusted.

Hofmeyr was still not satisfied and filed for appeal in December last year. This appeal resulted in Vally having to send out his ruling with reasons because of errors in the transcribing decision.

According to Verhage, Hofmeyr has withdrawn his appeal. The case can now proceed since the contract was signed last week.

Hofmeyr must also cover Sutherland’s legal fees for the request she had to file to force him to sign the agreement.

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