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Nthabiseng Monareng holds an LLB from Wits Univer­sity and is study­ing for her LLM. Nthabi has more than 10 years ex­pe­ri­ence in the le­gal field, spe­cial­is­ing as a fam­ily law ex­pert. She’s writ­ten books on fam­ily law and is a fam­ily law me­di­a­tor.


When a di­vorce process is in progress, can a hus­band claim main­te­nance for him­self and house­hold con­tri­bu­tion if the wife is not con­tribut­ing? ANONY­MOUS, MABOPANE

A Mar­ried spouses have a le­gal duty to fi­nan­cially sup­port each other and to con­trib­ute to the house­hold ex­penses. If your wife is not con­tribut­ing and she is em­ployed and can af­ford to, you can re­quest the court to or­der her to con­trib­ute to the house­hold ex­penses and to also fi­nan­cially sup­port you.


I have two boys who are still young. Their fa­ther passed away in a car ac­ci­dent and now his par­ents want to take them away from me. They say they paid dam­ages so they have a right to have the kids. Can they do that? ANONY­MOUS, WELKOM

A The pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents do not have a right to take the chil­dren away from you. As the bi­o­log­i­cal mother, you have full parental re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and rights. You are the only one who can de­cide on the terms and con­di­tions un­der which the grand­par­ents can have ac­cess. The fact that they have paid dam­ages does not give them any rights.


I am mar­ried but sep­a­rated from my hus­band. He is now liv­ing with some­one else. What rights do I have? Can I sue the girl­friend for main­te­nance of my kids with my hus­band and for ru­in­ing my mar­riage? ANONY­MOUS, PIMVILLE

A The law of South Africa does not recog­nise sep­a­ra­tion be­tween mar­ried spouses. You need to make the de­ci­sion whether you want to con­tinue with the sep­a­ra­tion and him liv­ing with some­one else or whether you want to file for di­vorce. If you are mar­ried in com­mu­nity of prop­erty, you will be held li­able for any fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions that your hus­band en­ters into, that he does not pay. But you will also ben­e­fit from any as­sets or monies he gets. Un­for­tu­nately, you can­not sue the girl­friend as the law of adul­tery has been abol­ished in South Africa.

Q RIGHT TO CUT OFF POWER Can a mu­nic­i­pal­ity cut off elec­tric­ity sup­ply if a home owner is in ar­rears? ANONY­MOUS, SOWETO

A Yes, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has a right to cut off the elec­tric­ity sup­ply un­til pay­ment or pay­ment ar­range­ment is made. Each month the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is­sues state­ments in terms of the mu­nic­i­pal by-laws that each home owner must make pay­ment by the due date.

Q REPOSSESSED GOODS What hap­pens if a per­son has had his as­sets at­tached by a bank but the as­sets do not be­long to the per­son be­ing sued? ANONY­MOUS, MAMELODI

A The owner of the as­sets must write an af­fi­davit and send it to the sher­iff. The sher­iff then is­sues an in­ter­pleader sum­mons. This is a pro­ce­dure whereby the sher­iff brings a mat­ter to court in or­der to ad­ju­di­cate over who the valid owner of the at­tached as­sets is. If it can be proven that the third party is the owner and not the per­son ow­ing the bank, the sher­iff has to re­turn the as­sets to that per­son.

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