Even the rich feel the pinch of the economic impact of Covid-19, as a mother of two small children discovered in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria). She wanted her estranged husband to pay R130 000 a month in maintenance, pending their divorce.

A Pretoria News report says the wife, a practising attorney, told the court she earned a net salary of only R15 000 a month.

Her husband, on the other hand, earned about R170 000 a month. But the husband said as from the end of May, he was jobless following a retrenchment and could no longer afford to pay for his wife's lavish lifestyle.

Among her list of demands is maintenance of R60 000 towards their two small children – R30 000 per child a month. This includes R4 000 a month for food for each child, as well as R4 750 towards the children's monthly entertainment bill.

As for herself, the wife said she needed R79 000 to see the month through as well as a contribution of R50 000 towards her legal fees in their divorce battle.

She also asked the court to ensure that her husband continued paying the R33 000 a month bond on the house in which she and the children stayed.

According to the husband, in the past he used to spend only about R17 500 of his R170 000 a month income on his personal expenses, thus he had enough to maintain the family in the style they were used to.

But as things now stood, he asked the court in a counter application to order the wife to contribute at least R31 500 to the household expenses.

Judge Colleen Collis ruled that spouses had a duty to support each other and maintain their children between them.

‘An argument cannot be made out that only one parent must carry such an obligation (towards the children) exclusively.’

She said the wife was not ‘a woman of straw’ and added the husband would receive a severance package. Thus she ordered both parties to share the R47 000 expenses earmarked by the wife for school fees, insurance and bond repayment.

She further ordered the husband to pay R5 000 maintenance per month per child.

Full Pretoria News report

Judgment