DWT v MT [2022] ZAWCHC 203

SALDANHA J

19 October 2022

Maintenance

Pension money attached for arrears – Ex-wife has locus standi – Two children are adults

The parties got divorced and in 2017 a settlement agreement and order of court provided for maintenance for the three minor children. One child turned 18 in 2018, one turned 18 in 2020, and the other is still a minor. The respondent contended that her ex-husband was substantially in arrears and became aware that he was to receive the proceeds of his provident fund.

Appeal: In the magistrates court the respondent was successful when she sought the relief of freezing his bank account and payment of R78,885,38 from the available amount. The appellant appeals and claims that there is no more than R32,178.77 that remains in his account.

Discussion: The challenge to respondent’s locus standi, in light of two of the three children having attained the age of majority; the Supreme Court of Appeal case of Z v Z [2022] ZASCA 113 on a parent’s locus standi to claim maintenance on behalf of adult dependent children; and the appellant’s reliance on Richter v Richter (W) to contend that a maintenance order terminates automatically once minor children attain the age of majority.

Findings: The consent order specifically provided that it was made “in favour of the respondent” for the maintenance of the children. The attachment relates to an amount to be paid to the person in whose favour the maintenance order was made. The respondent has locus standi. The appellant had not obtained a reduction or a setting aside of any of the maintenance orders against him. The amount remaining in the account must be paid to the respondent as part payment of the arrears he owes for maintenance for all three of his children.

Order: The appeal is dismissed.

SALDANHA J (ERASMUS J concurring.)