TINA HOKWANA | Husband loses out on spousal maintenance

16 November 2023 - 08:05
By Tina Hokwana
Man taking a selfie with a mobile phone.
Image: 123RF Man taking a selfie with a mobile phone.

A husband who spent money on cryptocurrency and online dating has lost his spousal maintenance application.

The parties were married around 2005 out of community of property with accrual and one minor child was born of the marriage. The minor childs primary place of residence is with the wife and according to her she takes care of all the childs maintenance needs.

Their marriage still subsists, however, the wife vacated the common home with the minor child in August 2021.

There was no allegation made by the husband that he contributed to the maintenance of the minor child. The husband brought an application at the Durban high court for interim spousal maintenance in the amount of R26,270 per month and a contribution of R50,000 towards his legal costs.

The wife argued that the husband has a more substantial income than he disclosed in his affidavit and that in any event, he earns more than enough income to support himself. In his financial disclosure form, the husband set out his income received in the last financial year from self-employment, partnership or other assets/investments. This disclosed income amounted to R12,500 per month.

The wife, however, alleged that the husband was  the sole member of another business, which he had been running for approximately ten years and it was his main source of income. This allegation was left unchallenged, and no bank statements were disclosed by the husband in respect of this business.

In analysing the husband’s personal bank statements, the court was concerned that these statements revealed numerous credits totalling R18,500 for one specific month. Furthermore, additional credits to the same account for the same period totalling R4,850.

All these amounts were not disclosed in his financial disclosure form.

The court also considered that the husband receivesd additional rental income amounting to R6,000. A disturbing feature of the application related to the husband’s expenditure where he spent an amount of R12,730 over a three-month period on purchasing cryptocurrency and R4,432 on online dating.

The wife alleged that many of the cryptocurrency purchases and online dating payments were made by the husband after he had asked for, and received, money from her on the pretext that he had no money to pay for his expenses.

The court therefore concluded that the wife’s allegation that he was falsely crying poverty was substantiated and pointed to “a level of irresponsibility and dishonesty, which fatally undermines the entire application, particularly in the light of the applicant’s failure to make full and proper disclosure of his income.

The court agreed that these circumstances were not indicative of dire need on the husband’s part. On the contrary, they support the wife’s submission that he has sufficient income to meet his needs. In the circumstances, his application for spousal maintenance was dismissed with costs.