Can a husband claim maintenance from his wife in South Africa?


Can a husband claim maintenance from his wife in South Africa?

Yes, a husband can claim maintenance from his wife in South Africa if he is financially dependent on her.

Eligibility for Maintenance

In South African law, maintenance is not automatically granted based on gender but rather on need and the other party’s ability to pay. This means that if a husband lacks sufficient means and is unable to support himself, he can seek maintenance from his wife during or after a divorce if she has the financial means to support him.

Determining Maintenance

The court considers several factors when determining whether maintenance is warranted:

  • Financial needs and obligations: The needs of each spouse and their financial obligations are assessed.
  • Earning capacity and income: Each spouse’s current and potential ability to earn income is considered.
  • Age and health: The age and health of both parties can influence maintenance decisions, particularly if it impacts earning capacity.
  • Duration of the marriage: Longer marriages may lead to a higher likelihood of maintenance, especially if one spouse has become financially dependent over time.

Process and Application

To claim maintenance, the husband would need to file a claim through the family courts. He would need to provide evidence of his financial situation, needs, and his wife’s ability to pay. The court will then make a determination based on the merits of the case.

Practical Considerations

It’s important to note that claiming maintenance requires legal intervention and can sometimes lead to prolonged legal battles. Both parties should ideally seek legal advice to navigate this process effectively. This support could be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances, such as the duration until the husband can become financially independent again or ongoing if he cannot due to valid reasons like health issues.