Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

In a recent legal ruling, a Pretoria woman seeking sole ownership of the house she once shared with her unfaithful ex-husband did not succeed, as the court determined that his misconduct was insufficient grounds for the forfeiture of the joint estate.

The former couple, married in community of property in April 2002 and parents to two sons, saw their marriage dissolve after the wife discovered her husband in bed with another woman in their matrimonial home in November 2009. Divorce proceedings were initiated in June 2023, with the couple having lived separately for 14 years.

The ex-wife, residing in the house with their 18-year-old son, asserted that the ex-husband, who completed payments on the house, should forfeit his share due to the marriage breakdown caused by his extramarital affair. She argued for the continuation of spousal maintenance until her death or remarriage, emphasizing her part-time employment.

However, Judge N Mazibuko considered evidence showing that the ex-husband solely funded the house and paid spousal maintenance for five years, contributing to household needs. The judge deemed no undue benefit to the ex-husband if a forfeiture order was not issued.

The court ruled against the requested forfeiture but ordered the ex-husband to pay R4,000 in spousal maintenance until the end of January 2025. Additionally, the ex-husband was mandated to pay R4,000 maintenance for their 18-year-old son until self-supporting. The ex-wife was granted 50% of her ex-husband’s pension fund, and if they decide to sell, they will share the proceeds from the house.

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