In this case, the Applicant and the Respondent were married and divorced and then remarried and are again divorcing.
The Applicant therefore brought the Rule 43 Application in order to determine the parental responsibilities and rights of the couple’s two minor children as well as her maintenance and that of the two minor children.
The presiding judge in the matter was forwarded various submissions and reports on behalf of both parties, by psychologists and psychiatrists in order to assist him in determining which party should be with the minor children.
In regard to the interests of the two minor children, the court found that arriving at a just decision was an arduous task. This was as a result of the fact that the one minor child had been living with the Applicant, whilst the other minor child had been living with the Respondent. As such, the court was reluctant to disturb the living position of the minor children.
Instead, the court found it fit to involve a Family Advocate in the matter who was instructed to provide the court with a report in order to assist the court in solving the parties’ disputes.
The following order was made pendent lite:
- Both minor children would continue living separately with the Applicant and Respondent respectively.
- As such, the Applicant and Respondent were both awarded parental responsibilities and rights subject to contact rights in respect of the minor child that lived with them.
- The court set out specifically on which days the children would spend with each party and how weekends and holidays should be spent.
- The court also ordered that the parties’ have reasonable telephonic contact with their children.
- The dispute with regard to parental responsibilities and rights was referred to the Family Advocate’s Office for investigation and report.
- The Family Advocate was requested to appoint a psychologist in order to evaluate the parties and minor children and to compile a report in relation thereto at the expense of the Respondent.
- The court further ordered that the Respondent be responsible for the school fees of both minor children, the clothing expenses of one of the minor children, as well as the garden, domestic helper expenses and DSTV subscription fees of the Applicant.
- The Respondent was further ordered to pay all living expenses toward the Applicant and the one minor child’s common home and in the event that they were no longer occupying the common home, then the Respondent was to pay all reasonable accommodation expenses for the Applicant and the minor child.
- The Applicant was ordered to retain a motor vehicle and the Respondent ordered to pay the expenses thereto in order to maintain same.
- The Respondent was also ordered to pay the Applicant a monthly nett salary.
- It was further ordered that the Respondent register the Applicant and the minor children as beneficiaries on a medical aid and pay the expenses thereto in order to maintain same.
- The Respondent was finally ordered to contribute towards the Applicant’s legal costs and the costs of the Application were ordered to be costs in the main divorce action and the provisions of Rule 43(7) and (8) would not be applicable.
The interests of minor children in divorce proceedings are of paramount importance.
Written by Jayna Hira and supervised by Charlotte Clarke, 24 August 2018