Woman’s Bid for Spousal Maintenance Rejected by High Court

Woman’s Bid for Spousal Maintenance Rejected by High Court

In a recent case heard in the Western Cape High Court, a woman’s request for spousal maintenance was denied.

The woman had sought R56,000 in maintenance payments from her ex-boyfriend, who also happens to be the father of her three children.

Despite their relationship spanning nearly a decade and resulting in three children, their partnership came to an end in April 2022.

During their time together, the man contributed a monthly sum of around R100,000 to cover household expenses and maintenance.

The rent for their former family home was paid through a trust controlled by the man, with both the woman and the children listed as beneficiaries.

However, following their breakup, the man reduced his financial support, raised the possibility of canceling the lease, and initiated legal proceedings concerning child custody.

The woman presented multiple reasons in support of her maintenance claim.

She pointed to their shared home, the public perception of their relationship resembling a marriage, and their mutual financial responsibilities.

She also emphasized her lack of assets and income that would enable her to achieve independence.

These arguments were brought before the High Court.

On the other side, the man contested his obligation to provide maintenance in the High Court.

The judges at the High Court acknowledged that marital relationships come with a legal duty of support.

However, they noted that this level of protection isn’t necessarily extended to life partnerships.

Ultimately, Judge Judith Innes Cloete and Judge Hayley Maud Slingers ruled against the woman’s claim, whereas Judge Derek Wille dissented.

Judge Wille’s dissenting opinion highlighted the evolving nature of relationships and the imperative to address discrimination faced by marginalized groups.

He stressed the need for legal protections that adapt to the changing dynamics of modern relationships.