Astonished judge tells ‘unemployable’ wife to find a job


Pretoria – Pull in your belt and find a job if you want to maintain your lavish lifestyle.

This was the message a judge had for a mother of three who is divorcing her husband. The woman had turned to the High Court in Joburg, demanding more maintenance for her and her children, pending the outcome of their divorce settlement.

While her estranged husband earns a salary of R36 100 a month, the 27-year-old woman told the court her monthly expenses totaled R53 000.

She added that her husband, who is “staunch Greek Orthodox”, never allowed her to work. Thus, not used to going to work daily, coupled with the demands made by her three small children, she is unemployable.

But this did not go down well with the judge, who said he was astounded by her monthly expenses in light of her husband’s income.

The judge said the woman is pushing for a lifestyle her husband simply cannot afford – not while they were married, and not now.

“Quite simply, the applicant has painted herself as an unreasonable person,” Acting Judge NN Bam said.

The woman is demanding R20 000 maintenance a month for her and the children; over R9 000 for municipal services; he has to pay their medical aid; and over R10 000 a month towards the children’s private school fees.

The woman also wanted her husband to pay R20 000 towards her legal fees, while he has to foot the bill for this application.

The husband in turn said he simply could not afford this.

As things stand, he is living with his parents, and is already paying the bulk of his monthly salary towards his estranged wife and children.

He barely had money left to pay for petrol and toiletries, he said.

But the woman was adamant that it was his fault that she was “unemployable”. She said as a staunch Orthodox Greek, he never allowed her to work as only she and the grandmothers were allowed to take care of the children.

She said she held a degree in architecture, but she had never worked in this field. But her husband said she chose not to work.

The judge asked whether there were any health issues which prevented her from working, to which she answered no. In his judgment he said: “I find it astonishing, to say the least, that she concluded that she is unemployable.”

He accepted that she did not have practical experience in her field, but said many young graduates faced the same problem, and her situation was not unique.

“I accept there are challenges in restarting one’s life after having spent time at home as a home-maker. “However, often women – some at advanced ages and impelled by financial difficulties – do find a way to make it work.”

The judge rejected the notion that she is unemployable. He ordered the husband to pay R3800 a month to his wife and R2500 per child, pending the finalisation of their divorce.

Her request that he pay her legal fees was declined.

 Source: Pretoria News (emphasis by SD Law*)

*SD Law Cape Town Attorneys are a firm of divorce attorneys in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg offering highly personalised divorce lawyer services, with iron-clad confidentiality. Contact Simon at for immediate help.

Related reading:

Previous post:
Next post:

The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.

Need legal assistance?

Request a free call back