Court rules husband owes ex-wife maintenance after she unofficially "remarries"

Court rules husband owes ex-wife maintenance after she unofficially “remarries”

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of a woman seeking continued maintenance from her ex-husband, who stopped giving her money as she had “remarried”.

The drama began when the woman, who is a devout Christian, posted on Facebook that she had remarried. This prompted her ex-husband to stop paying her a R10 000 monthly maintenance fee as he felt he was no longer obligated to support her if she has a new husband.

According to the woman, however, she had not legally remarried but rather had a ceremony with her partner that she referred to as her ‘husband’ in order to receive God’s blessing on her new relationship, as she wanted to legitimise their ‘sinful’ relationship. The pair never signed a wedding register or had their union officially registered with the Department of Home Affairs, making it an illegitimate marriage.

The woman took her ex to court where they ruled in her favour, finding that since the ceremony was not an official marriage her ex-husband technically violated their maintenance agreement.

Not happy with his outcome, the ex-husband then turned to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. However, they agreed with the High Court’s ruling but overturned the contempt of court order against him as he had acted on advice from his lawyer to stop paying the maintenance fee.

Since then, the woman has split from her partner, and she has come to an agreement with her ex-husband to continue the monthly maintenance payments until she remarries or dies. However, a new clause was added that he would not have to be responsible for maintenance if she cohabitates with another man in a common law marriage, reports the Pretoria News.

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