Divorce getting too costly


Constantine and Margaret were happily married for eight years. In 1989, however, Constantine walked out of their matrimonial home and gave his wife a rejection token of 20 cents.

Constantine said before he decided to terminate the marriage his wife would even refuse to go to bed with him and he slept in the children’s bedroom. They had four children.

He therefore went to court seeking a divorce because he believed the marriage had irretrievably broken down.

Margaret on the other hand still believed their marriage could be saved. She said her husband listened to n’angas and relatives and this affected his senses. Once he came back to his senses he would realise he was wrong and would return to their matrimonial home.

Initially Constantine sought custody of the two elder children and said he was willing to pay maintenance for the two younger children and a nominal maintenance of $2 a year for his wife.

Margaret asked for maintenance for the two children for herself.

When the matter was brought to trail, however, Constantine said he now wanted custody of all the children. Margaret also wanted custody of all the children and maintenance of $500 per month for each child and $400 for herself.

She also wanted the right to occupy the matrimonial home until the youngest child had turned 18 after which the house could be sold and she would get 50 per cent of the proceeds.

After the trial Judge Cheda granted the couple a divorce and ordered that the two elder children be under the custody of their father and the other two in that of their mother.

Constantine will pay the school fees and buy uniforms for the two children being looked after by their mother and pay maintenance of $150 per month for each child until each attains 18 or becomes self sufficient, whichever is earlier.

Each parent shall allow the non-custodial parent reasonable access to those children in his or her custody and the children shall alternate their stay with each parent on public holidays, provided that on these holidays the four children shall be together with whichever parent has them for that holiday.

The four children shall spend the first school holidays with one parent, and the second holidays with the other. During Christmas school holidays the four children shall spend the first half of the holiday with one parent and the second with the other, and if one parent has the four children for one Christmas the other parent shall have them for the other.

Constantine was declared the owner of the matrimonial home provided he paid Margaret $30 000 as her share.

  • Timothy was asked to pay maintenance of $500 a month for two children given to the custody of his wife of 23 years until they attained the age of 18. He was also asked to pay her $85 000 as her share of their matrimonial home.
  • Websyer was asked to pay his wife a lump sum of $7 000 and a further $25 569.86 to enable her to settle a bond for a flat which also became hers.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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