Defaulting on maintenance has costly consequences for divorced man


Defaulting on maintenance payments can have very serious consequences, as this article from the Pretoria News explains.

Reprinted from, by Zelda Venter – 2021-07-23

Pretoria – The high court in Pretoria has ordered the provisional sequestration of a man who owes more than half a million in maintenance arrears to his former wife.

The man and his wife are identified only as Mrs and Mr M because under the law they cannot be identified.

Before they divorced in 2018, the court ordered Mr M to pay monthly maintenance of R42  500 to his wife.

He fell into arrears in 2018 and the amount owed to Mrs M eventually escalated to R564  700, after which she issued a warrant of execution against him for non-payment.

He still did not pay, saying he could not afford to, and the amount escalated by the month.

The sheriff of the court visited Mr M at his Midstream home after his former wife obtained a writ of execution against his assets in a bid to retrieve the outstanding maintenance due to her.

When the sheriff arrived at the house, his girlfriend said it belonged to her and was in her name.

Mr M also told the sheriff that he had no immovable assets which could be attached and later sold in a bid to recover the outstanding maintenance.

The sheriff returned empty-handed. Mrs M, however, would have none of it, and applied for a provisional sequestration order against her former husband.

She said that to her knowledge, her husband owned shares in a family trust and business amounting to about R6  million.

The husband, on the other hand, said he was the director of the company in which the shares were held and, if sequestrated, he would have to resign as director.

Mrs M, however, insisted that his estate be sequestrated, so that a thorough search could be done into his assets, as she believed he was hiding the fact that he was in fact wealthy.

Mr M did not deny the fact that there were some millions in his family trust and in shares, but said he could not touch them.

He also accused his former wife of having “some ulterior purpose” for bringing the application

But Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen said Mr M was a qualified architect and would be in a position to earn an income even if his estate was provisionally sequestrated.

Mr M will have to give reasons why he should not be declared bankrupt.

Get help with maintenance from a leading divorce attorney in Cape Town

SD Law is a Cape Town law firm of experienced family law and divorce attorneys, with offices in Johannesburg and Durban. What does a family lawyer do? Family lawyers deal with much more than just divorce and custody. If you need interim maintenance, or if your spouse is defaulting on maintenance, call family lawyer Simon Dippenaar on 086 099 5146 or email We will help you secure the best possible outcome for all parties.

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