DIVORCES & SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE
Where the parents are married and are unable to reach an agreement in respect of maintenance for the spouse the divorce becomes opposed, which means that it becomes more complicated, and that you need a specialist maintenance attorney such as Tracy Sischy Attorneys.
WHAT FACTORS DOES THE COURT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN AWARDING SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE?
The Court considers whether the spouse needs maintenance or not. Even where spouses earn a salary the Court can still find that they need a limited contribution towards maintenance for example medical aid. The Court will also decide whether the maintenance will be until death or remarriage, or rehabilitative of nature.
The Court will consider the means of both parties which refers to their financial position in respect of their net worth, and the Court will consider the income of both parties.
SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE UNTIL DEATH OR REMARRIAGE
When divorces are opposed there is often an expectation that the wife or the spouse who earns less has to vacate the family home only with the clothes on their back. This is not legally correct as spouses have a financial duty of care to one another.
In the example where a housewife is already older and there is not a reasonable expectation that she can obtain gainful employment, her maintenance will be until her death or remarriage.
REHABILITATIVE MAINTENANCE FOR SPOUSES
Rehabilitative maintenance is maintenance which is for a limited period of time, to assist the spouse to get back onto their feet.
It can be for a limited period such as 6 months or a longer period such as 3 years.
Maintenance can be limited to medical aid and medical costs or it can be comprehensive.
The spouse can also request payment for the relevant qualification to help him or her to enter the employment market.
Comprehensive spousal maintenance can include various necessities which includes;
(a) Medical aid,
(b) Medical costs not covered by medical aid,
(c) Use of a vehicle,
(d) Costs associated with a vehicle such as vehicle instalment payments, insurance, licencing fees, e-toll, tracker, service and repair costs,
(e) Household expenses which includes but is not limited to; accommodation, a deposit for accommodation, transport, cellphone, Wi-fi, and the like,
(f) A cash contribution towards groceries, clothing, fuel and the like.
RULE 43 AND SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE
The Court only makes an order for spousal maintenance at date of divorce. However opposed divorces can take long periods of time. Where a divorce is opposed a spouse will often apply in terms of Rule 43 for interim maintenance pending the divorce.
It is common practice to also apply for a contribution towards legal costs as part of the Rule 43 relief.