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Family: Judge denies wife 'interim meal ticket'

Interim maintenance pending a divorce was not created to give an interim meal ticket to an applicant who quite clearly at the divorce trial will not be able to establish a right to maintenance. A Pretoria News report says this is according to an acting judge sitting in the Free State High Court (Bloemfontein), who said the purpose of Rule 43 is to provide a streamlined and inexpensive procedure for procuring the same interim relief in matrimonial actions as was previously available under common law regarding maintenance and costs.

His comments were sparked by an application by a mother of two who claimed R20 000 a month maintenance from her estranged husband, while the husband opted to settle the matter out of court by paying her R7 000 a month. He made it clear that as he is taking care of their two small sons, he cannot afford to pay her more. The judge said it is common cause that the wife has a need for maintenance, and though the husband is insinuating that it was self-created in that she is a qualified teacher and makes no effort to gain employment, the court cannot under the circumstances find this is so. The court, however, found that the list of her expenses indeed contains luxuries which in the circumstances the husband cannot meet. The court deducted the luxuries like pocket money, entertainment, pet food and domestic help, and reduced the ‘excessive amounts’. In doing this, the court calculated that R8 000 a month was sufficient for her needs and the husband was ordered to pay this.

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