Mud slinging in divorce case

Published Apr 15, 2024


A regional court magistrate was accused by counsel for his estranged wife, of abusing his position during their divorce proceedings to gain advantage in their acrimonious legal fight.

The Western Cape High Court was told that the manner in which the dispute between the parties and divorce proceedings were conducted, suggested that the applicant (wife) had been treated poorly by the husband.

“This poor treatment should be frowned upon by this court, more especially that the respondent (husband) is a Regional Court Magistrate. The fact that the respondent elected to fight the applicant using a litany of applications clearly suggests that he abused his position as a magistrate,” the court was told.

An example of this treatment, the wife’s lawyer said, occurred when a police official arrived to serve him with a domestic violence order, and he instructed the police to wait for him until he had adjourned court. Immediately upon adjournment, the husband went to a colleague who issued a family violence order against his wife.

In the latest round of their divorce saga, the wife turned to the high court to obtain interim maintenance from him, pending the divorce. She wanted him to pay her R10 200 a month and a contribution towards her legal costs of R250 000.

The wife said although she worked, she was used to a luxurious lifestyle. The husband countered that she was “delusional” in thinking they had a high flying lifestyle.

He said they had tightened the belt and only went to eat out on special occasions such as birthdays. He claimed that she lived beyond their means by wearing branded clothing, and kept incurring debt.

The applicant and the respondent have been married since October 1996. She was a SAPS constable and he a public prosecutor at the time.

The wife said at one stage her husband was unemployed, and she was supporting the household single-handedly until he got a job as a specialised prosecutor. He later trained as a magistrate

The wife characterised their marriage as tumultuous. She said her husband had fathered a child from an extra-marital relationship. That led her to depression and their relationship deteriorated. At some point when no one was available to take care of their children at home, he asked her to resign her job and take care of the children.

The wife claimed that until he had become a magistrate, things had gone fairly well and they lived a very comfortable lifestyle.

According to her, her husband asked her in 2014 for a “sham divorce” as he needed to access his pension to pay their debts. Despite this divorce, they continued to live as husband and wife. With the R646 374.51 he received from his pension fund, they were able to pay creditors and finance their lavish lifestyle.

Two years later they got married again.

The husband, in denying their lavish lifestyle, said when on occasion they went to out to eat, they split the bill. He said his wife had about six retail store accounts, while he only had two clothing accounts.

In his view, a magistrate’s salary was inadequate to pay for all their household expenses.

The husband who said he had to do household chores during their marriage, also accused his wife of frequenting nightclubs and leaving him to take care of their children.

He said whenever she did the cooking, she would do so “with a whiskey bottle in her hand.”

While denying their first divorce was a sham, he said he decided to remarry her as he was a devoted Christian.

Judge Babalwa Mantame commented that this was a matter that could easily be settled, “However, the parties are hell bent on tiring each other with litigation that is completely unnecessary.”

She said the wife clearly needed some maintenance pending the divorce and a contribution towards her legal costs, but both parties could be on an equal footing.

Judge Mantame ordered the husband to pay his wife R5 500 per month towards maintenance and R187 500 towards her legal costs.

Pretoria News

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court casesdivorce