My 51 year husband of 26 years is verbal...

Asked by Sesi on 04-03-2024 12:23:08
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Eastern Cape

My 51 year husband of 26 years is verbally and emotionally abusive. He is also an alcoholic who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2022.He has been unemployed for the past 15 years and I have been the only one providing for our family of 6. We have three biological kids and my late sister's daughter who is the same age as my last born daughter who joined our family in 2017. My youngest child is 16, eldest 23, middle child 19 years. I feel sorry for him but I am tired of his drinking habits and the way he treats me and my children especially my niece. I want out of the marriage but I don't khow he is going to survive as he has no family as well. How do I divorce him without hassles? We are married in COP but I have paid for everything we have, our cars and the house we built. 

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 04-03-2024 13:21:31

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

The fact that you are married in COP is a bit of a problem for you (because you've paid everything over all of these years) because what it means is that there is a single joint estate with all of your assets and liabilities that you both share, and that when you get divorced you will each share 50% of the joint estate.

This means that even though your husband has not contributed towards the family or the joint estate for the past 15 years, when you get divorced he will still be entitled to 50% of everything - which includes the house, the car, and any other assets that you guys have. 

The only way around this is to ask the court for an order that your husband should NOT be allowed to benefit from the joint estate (it is called a forfeiture of benefits) on the basis that he has not contributed for 15 years and that he is an alcoholic and doesn't deserve to benefit at all. 

Based on what you have explained you might be able to convince the court to make the sort of forfeiture order, however it really does depend on whether or not you push for such an order to be granted.

Message from the client

Thank you for the response.
Will pushing for a forfeiture order ensure that he doesn't get 50% of my provident fund? How do I assist him in living his life without my support?

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 27-03-2024 21:32:01

Will pushing for a forfeiture order ensure that he doesn't get 50% of my provident fund? --> Yes, but the forfeiture order must be made in respect of specific assets. e.g. "the house", or "the provident fund", and you will need to have reasons why your husband should forfeit those benefits. You can try to get the court to make him forfeit all benefits, and that might work, but then your reasons must be good. e.g. he never contributed anything, and basically left you to go live his own life somewhere else. 

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