Court orders man to pay more than R67 000 monthly maintenance to wife and child

A man was ordered by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to pay more than R67 000 monthly for his wife and minor child.
A man was ordered by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to pay more than R67 000 monthly for his wife and minor child.
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • A man has been ordered to pay more than R67 000 monthly for his wife and child.
  • The man had told court he could only afford R2 000 per month.
  • The couple was married out of community of property.

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has ordered a man to pay a monthly maintenance bill of more than R67 000 to his wife and minor child after he claimed R2 000 was all he could afford.

The judgment was delivered on 3 May, and the couple cannot be named to protect the identity of their minor child.

The parties are still married but do not live together. They are married out of community of property with accrual and the family home is in the woman's name.

However, the woman approached the court for help in getting her husband to maintain her and their minor child.

Only offered R2 000

According to court documents, the couple was married in 1999 and had two children – one of whom is still a minor.

The woman worked throughout their marriage until 2017, when she was diagnosed with cancer and was later retrenched. 

READ | 'He pays very late and only when reminded': What to do about late maintenance payments

She and her children had always relied on the husband for their living expenses. 

However, the court also heard each time the woman pursued a business, her husband would apparently interfere with its management.

Eventually, she handed her last business to him to run.

The business did not operate for too long because the husband allegedly bullied staff who refused to work with him, according to court papers.

It added:

... although all the luxuries have been available to her and their children, they have lived in a very volatile home environment, due to his temper and his controlling manner.

"On 2 November 2021, she was forced to leave their home as she feared for her safety when he attempted to assault her. She left with a few of her belongings and without her minor child. She took refuge at her older daughter's home, from a previous marriage."

The woman approached the court to get the husband to help maintain her and their minor daughter.

The husband only offered R2 000 towards maintenance.

This contrasted to the estimate he gave for his property portfolio, which was valued at R25 million.

The family used to visit the casino every weekend where the man gave the wife R5 000 in cash for her and the children's entertainment.

The family also enjoyed at least two international holidays a year.

The court said the woman was close to the usual retirement age and would find it difficult to gain employment at this stage.

"One must be realistic, as the employment challenges in our country are oppressive and the applicant has not worked for a long while. Her long absence from the work environment is another factor that is against her."

According to court papers, the man did not maintain his family until his wife approached the court and launched an application in December 2021.

The papers stated:

He filed a notice to oppose in February 2022. The respondent has threatened to kill her and set her alight. They lived in a very volatile home environment.

"... when awarding maintenance, we must consider the applicant's lifestyle during the marriage, the affordability of the amount by the party ordered to pay maintenance, and the reasonable needs of the applicant.

"I considered the list of expenses and items that the applicant claims maintenance for and considered reasonable. The respondent can afford to pay in the amounts prayed for as they are expenses that he incurs in any event. 

"Furthermore, a regular gambler party must have the necessary investment capital to spend as much time in the casino. He must prioritise his family."

READ | Father can’t get money from sale of his house until he pays child maintenance, judge rules

The court added the man's staff complement and property portfolio were impressive and must cost and earn him a sizeable amount each month. 

The wife's reasonable accommodation cost is the only additional item he has to pay for until the final determination of the divorce.

He was ordered to pay:
  • R20 000 for his wife's monthly maintenance.
  • R15 000 monthly maintenance for their minor child.
  • R9 625 per month for medical aid premiums for the entire family.
  • R7 495 monthly for household costs.
  • R15 000 for accommodation costs for the applicant and minor child.

The court ordered the minor child's primary residence should be with her mother.

"An amount of R10 000 as a contribution toward costs, payable within 10 days of this order. The applicant shall retain her motor vehicle, which is to be maintained by the respondent.

"The respondent is to exercise his reasonable rights of contact with their minor child every alternate weekend from Saturday at 09:00 until Sunday at 17:00."

Further orders

The court also ordered that half of every long vacation, by agreement between the parties on dates be confirmed at the end of January each year.

"The parties shall share the religious holidays of Eid between them. Each parent shall have the minor child on their birthdays or the weekend following those days. The respondent shall enjoy full telephonic access to the minor child, with accommodation for her sleep times and school commitments.

"The respondent shall continue to pay the minor child's school fees and all related costs, including extramural expenses, clothing for school, sports, and extra lessons."

The court ordered the wife to issue a divorce action within 20 days of the order.

The man was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the maintenance application.

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