Divorce Attorney Cape Town

More women file for divorce than men


Although the novel Fifty Shades of Grey portrays Anastasia Steele as a submissive woman, more women are ending marriages and are filing for divorce these days, proving the point that women in general, are not as submissive as men would want them to be.

In the past the majority of Plaintiffs (the party initiating divorce) in South Africa were male, these days they are in fact women.

Recent figures released by the Department of Statistics has revealed that there were more female (49,8%) than male (35,9%) plaintiffs in divorces instituted during 2010.

According to the statistics there were significant differences among population groups. Among the white population group 55,8% of the wives filed for divorce compared to 41,3% of wives among the African population group.

Even though a high proportion of the plaintiffs did not indicate the type of occupation they were engaged in at the time of divorce, the highest percentage of wives (18,9%) were in clerical and sales occupations whereas husbands (15,3%) were in managerial and administrative occupations.

Adultery has become more common with the introduction of infidelity websites such as Ashley Madison.com with their slogan “Life is short have an affair”. Years ago it was more likely men who committed adultery, but research into the behaviour of 4,000 cases of infidelity in the UK claimed that women in general are more promiscuous, having an average of 2.3 secret lovers compared to a mere 1.8 for men. The survey found that while unfaithful men have their first affair until almost six years of married life the average female cheater strays just five years after exchanging wedding vows.

Catherine Hakim, a British social scientist and bestselling author argues that a “sour and rigid English view” of infidelity is condemning millions of people to live frustrated “celibate” lives with their spouses. According to her sex is no more a moral issue than eating a good meal. This view may be a bit skew especially since her view propagates the moral decline of our society.

She attacks the traditional morality and also accuses relationship counsellors and therapists of trying to “pedal a secret agenda of enforced exclusive monogamy”. Her argument is that the rise of the internet, has brought about a change in sexual behaviour on a par with the invention of the contraceptive Pill. Adultery is now, she says, simply the “21st-century approach to marriage”.

It is a fact that children living in families with greater parental supportiveness, from both mothers and fathers and less marital conflict live healthier lives. History repeats itself many times before we really learn that values matter. Families matter, moral courage matters, honour and integrity matter. Not only for individual happiness and prosperity, but more importantly for the good and strengthening of our society. The most important cause of our lifetime must be our family.  Devoting ourselves to this cause will improve every other aspect of our lives.

Source: http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2012/09/beware-men-more-women-are-suing-for-divorce-these-days/

Bertus Preller

Family Law Attorney

Abrahams and Gross Inc.

Twitter: bertuspreller

Blog: http://www.divorceattorneys.wordpress.com 

Tel:  021 422 1323

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Can a wife claim maintenance from her husband when she lives with another man?


The Supreme court of appeal recently gave an interesting judgement in the matter of Harlech-Jones v Harlech-Jones [2012] ZASCA 19. The question raised in this matter was inter alia whether it would be against public policy for a man to pay maintenance to his wife while she is living with another man.

The appellant appealed against an order obliging him to pay R2 000 per month to his wife of almost 29 years, upon dissolution of their marriage. His principal objection against the order lied in the fact that for some eight years prior to the divorce his wife had been cohabiting with another man. This, the husband contended, disentitled her from receiving maintenance from him.

The parties were married out of community of property in December 1972. Two sons, both majors and self-supporting, were born from their marriage. After 28 years of marriage, the husband left the matrimonial home in Port Elizabeth as he had formed a relationship with another woman and had decided on a new life. He purchased another residence in the city, but his new relationship also failed and within six months he had formed an intimate relationship with another man with whom he had cohabitated.

The wife was friendly with a married couple, whom she had come to know some years previously when their sons attended the same school. Shortly after the husband had moved out of the common home, the friend’s wife passed away. When her husband was already cohabiting with his male partner a relationship began to blossom between the wife and her new partner. With the passage of time the relationship became more intimate and the wife moved into the home and bedroom of her new partner, and they thereafter cohabited as man and wife. During the first two years that they had lived together the wife’s youngest son, lived with them as well.

Although the evidence established that when the wife initially moved in with her partner it was regarded as a temporary arrangement, the relationship between them matured over the almost eight years that they had lived together before the trial. By then they both regarded their relationship as permanent and neither had any intention of terminating it. The wife’s partner supported her unconditionally and was prepared to continue to do so indefinitely. By the same token, not only was the wife being maintained by him but she, reciprocally, assisted him in his business, for which he paid her a small gratuity.

Relying upon judgments such as Dodo v Dodo 1990 (2) SA 77 (W) at 89G; Carstens v Carstens 1985 (2) SA 351 (SE) at 353F; SP v HP 2009 (5) SA 223 (O) para10 it was argued, both in the high court and in the appellant’s heads of argument, that it would be against public policy for a woman to be supported by two men at the same time. The court was of the opinion that while there are no doubt members of society who would endorse that view, it rather speaks of values from times past and the court was of the opinion that  in the modern, more liberal (‘enlightened’) age in which we live, public policy demands that a person who cohabits with another should for that reason alone be barred from claiming maintenance from his or her spouse. Each case must be determined by its own facts,and counsel for the husband did not persuade the court to accept that the mere fact that the wife was living with her new partner operated as an automatic bar to her recovering maintenance from the husband.

Under the common law, the reciprocal duty of support existing between spouses, of which the provision of maintenance is an integral part, terminates upon divorce. This might well cause great hardship and inequity particularly where one spouse, during the subsistence of the marriage, has been unable to build up an estate and has reached an age where he or she is unable to realistically earn an adequate income ─ the classical case being that of a woman who has spent what would otherwise have been her active economic years caring for children and running the joint household. This potentially iniquitous situation is alleviated by s 7 of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979. Section 7(1) which provides for a court on granting a decree of divorce to make a written agreement between the parties in regard to the payment of maintenance by one party to another an order of court ─ while in other cases s 7(2) provides:

‘In the absence of an order made in terms of subsection (1) with regard to the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other, the court may, having regard to the existing or prospective means of each of the parties, their respective earning capacities, financial needs and obligations, the age of each of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living of the parties prior to the divorce, their conduct in so far as it may be relevant to the break-down of the marriage, an order in terms of subsection (3) and any other factor which in the opinion of the court should be taken into account, make an order which the court finds just in respect of the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other for any period until the death or remarriage of the party in whose favour the order is given, whichever event may first occur.’

It is trite that the person claiming maintenance must establish a need to be supported. If no such need is established, it would not be ‘just’ as required by this section for a maintenance order to be issued. It is on this issue that the wife’s claim failed. Both she and the husband had moved on with their respective lives and had formed intimate and lasting relationships with others.

The wife was therefore being fully maintained by her new partner in life, and had no need for that maintenance to be supplemented in any way. Accordingly, the respondent’s claimed failed at the first hurdle as she failed to show that she actually required maintenance from the husband.

Social Networks and Divorce


It used to be lipstick on the collar,  then there were the give-away text messages that spelled the death for many marriages, but these days it is said that one in five divorces involve  social networking sites.

There was a recent article on the internet where a Pastor in New Jersey USA said that 20 couples in his congregation of about 1,100 members have all experienced marital trouble as a result of Facebook. As a result he urged his congregants to delete their Facebook profiles, calling Facebook a “portal to infidelity”.

The Pastor’s statement also seemed to have been a matter of the pot calling the kettle black and he himself was later forced to take a leave of absence after his own non-Facebook transgressions were revealed when he admitted that he took part in three-way sexual trysts in the past.

Although the Pastor’s view of Facebook is extreme, it does lead to the question: Whether new technologies are bringing people closer together, or does it tempt people to stray from those who matter to them?

In a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers it was found that 81% of divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the amount of cases where evidence was used that was obtained from social networking websites. It is also becoming more common for divorce attorneys in South Africa to use information from Facebook and Twitter in divorce proceedings.

In the United States various Attorney and Advocate Associations are conducting workshops on how to find evidence through social media sites. Before, private investigators would follow a spouse where infidelity was suspected but these days evidence could show up on a Facebook wall.

According to media reports celebrities as well as ordinary people have been humiliated online in connection with a separation or divorce.  For example, former NFL star Deion Sanders’s wife discovered that he announced his decision to divorce her on a social network.  When actors Katy Perry and Russell Brand separated, Perry “unfollowed” her estranged husband.

There are a number of ways in which Facebook can cause relationship stress or breakdown. Some ways would be by sharing way too many information, the photo factor, where a person is tagged in posts of an ex, getting a friend request from an ex or not deleting conversations in your inbox between you and an ex. If divorcing spouses do not sabotage themselves, their friends on Facebook or in real life, can do it for them whether intentionally or accidentally. Peter may be dating Ann, if they go out with friends, she does not tell them he is married. Ann’s friend takes pictures and posts them on Facebook, where his wife then sees them.

Experts say that opportunity is a major predictor of infidelity and opportunities for connections have never been greater than in the digital age we live in. Years ago, there were numerous barriers to getting in touch with an ex or potential partners.  These days, by Googling people one is likely to find what their email address is, where they work and their Facebook page. The lure of relationships based on social media is based on the premises that they seem so innocent at first. Research at Lehigh University in the US had found that people who communicate online fell for each other 1 to 3 times faster than those communicating face-to-face. The reason lies in the fact that when there is nonverbal communication, the likelihood of being able to disclose at a deeper level is far greater, because there’s less inhibition. Spending too much time on social networking sites can have a negative impact on any relationship. Just like sitting in front of the television.

The conduct of the parties leading to the break-down does play a role in South African divorce law. In terms of section 10 of the Divorce Act a court may have regard to a parties’ conduct when making a cost order in contested divorce proceedings. Section 7 (2) of the Act also states that when making a maintenance order, a spouses’ conduct insofar as it may be relevant to the break-down of the marriage, should be taken into account.

When a Facebook affair results in adultery (extramarital sex with a third party that willfully and maliciously interferes with marriage relations which renders the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship) a court may award damages against such a third party.  According to South African law adultery conflicts directly with the undertaking of spouses towards one another and towards the outside world to have sexual intercourse only within the marriage. As such our law regards it as a violation of a collection of personality rights each spouse has arising out of the marriage. The convictions of the community are that the exclusive sexual relations of marriage have to be respected and that it is unlawful to interfere with them. In terms of legal policy it is necessary to protect the exclusivity of sexual relations to which spouses have bound themselves from interference by third parties. A court will consider the spouse’s financial and social situation, their moral reputation and the state of the relationship before the adultery was committed. When an innocent spouse’s behaviour was partly responsible for driving his or her spouse into another person’s arms, the damages awarded can be considerably lower.

Source: http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2012/02/social-media-and-divorce/

Bertus Preller

Divorce and Family Law Attorney

info@divorceattorney.co.za

Tel: 021 422 2461

Twitter: @bertuspreller

Blog: http://www.divorceattorneys.wordpress.com

Is a husband obliged to pay maintenance when his wife lives with another man?


 

A recent judgment concerned the issue whether a husband is obliged to pay maintenance to his former wife, who is involved in a relationship with another man, after divorce. The plaintiff issued summons against the defendant, her husband, during 2003, for a decree of divorce, maintenance for herself and their son and ancillary relief.

The parties had not lived together as man and wife for a continuous period of at least two years prior to the date of the institution of the divorce action. In terms of the provision of s 4(2)(a) of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979 (the Divorce Act), this is proof of the irretrievable break-down of the marriage. The remaining issues were whether the plaintiff is entitled to maintenance, and if so, what such maintenance should be. The defendant’s case in respect of the plaintiff’s entitlement to maintenance was that it is against public policy that a woman should be supported by two men.

The maintenance post-divorce Section 7(1) and (2) of the Act sets out when a court may order the payment of maintenance and the factors that should be taken into account when making such determination.

It provides as follows:

‘7(1) A Court granting a decree of divorce may in accordance with a written agreement between the parties make an order with regard to the division of the assets of the parties or the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other.

(2) In the absence of an order made in terms of subsection (1) with regard to the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other, the Court may, having regard to the existing or prospective means of each of the parties, their respective earning capacities, financial needs and obligations, the age of each of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living of the parties prior to the divorce, their conduct insofar as it may be relevant to the break-down of the marriage, an order in terms of subsection (3) and any other factor which in the opinion of the court should be taken into account, make an order which the court finds just in respect of the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other for any period until the death or remarriage of the party in whose favour the order is given, whichever event may first occur.’

Through a long line of cases dealing exclusively with maintenance pendente lite, it has become customary not to award maintenance to a spouse who is living in a permanent relationship with another.

In Drummond v Drummond the Appellate Division agreed with the definition of the phrase ‘living as husband and wife’ as stated by the full bench. The parties agreed that the husband would pay maintenance towards the wife and that maintenance would ‘cease should the plaintiff prove that the defendant was living as man and wife with a third person on a permanent basis’. The said phrase has the following meaning: ‘. . . the main components of a modus vivendi akin to that of husband and wife are, firstly, living under the same roof, secondly, establishing, maintaining and contributing to a joint household, and thirdly maintaining an intimate relationship.’ The plaintiff and S clearly live together as husband and wife according to the said definition.

In Cohen v Cohen the parties determined in a deed of settlement that the maintenance payable by the plaintiff (the husband) would cease if the defendant lived with another man as husband and wife for a certain specified period. This order was varied by a maintenance court in respect of the amounts the husband had to pay towards maintenance. In the maintenance court’s order the condition in respect of the cohabitation was left out. In a subsequent action it was decided that, where the magistrate had left out the said clause, the condition was no longer enforceable as it had been substituted by the maintenance court.

In Carstens v Carstens the wife claimed maintenance pendente lite in a rule 43 application while she lived with another man as husband and wife. Mullins J found: ‘It is in my view against public policy that a woman should be entitled to claim maintenance pendente lite from her husband when she is flagrantly and deliberately living as man and wife with another man. Not only is applicant in the present case living in adultery, but she and her lover are maintaining a joint household complete with the addition of an adulterine child. She has by her conduct accepted the support of Clarkson in lieu of that of her husband. The fact that Clarkson is unable to support her to the extent that she may have been accustomed in her matrimonial home with respondent does not appear to me to affect the position.’

In SP v HP (another rule 43 application) it was found, on the strength of Carstens, that ‘(t)he objection is not so much about the moral turpitude attaching to the illicit cohabitation, but more about the notion of a woman being supported by two men at the same time’.

In the unreported judgment of Qonqo v Qonqo dealing with a rule 43 application for maintenance pendente lite, the court, in spite of the fact that the applicant cohabited with her lover, ordered the respondent to pay maintenance pendente lite. The reason for ordering the payment of maintenance was that there was no proof that the lover supported the applicant in that instance.

It is also clear from the wording of s 7(2) of the Divorce Act that the legislature did not determine that maintenance should cease when the person receiving the maintenance is in a relationship akin to a marriage but only on remarriage. It is usually by way of an agreement between the parties that the additional condition relating to the cessation of payment of maintenance on the cohabitation with a third party is added.

Marriage entails that the parties establish and ‘maintain an intimate relationship for the rest of their lives which they acknowledge obliges them to support one another, to live together and to be faithful to one another’. One of the effects of marriage is the reciprocal duty of support. This duty of support does not exist, in circumstances such as these, if there is no marriage.

In Volks NO v Robinson and Others the proceedings had been initiated by Mrs Robinson who had been a partner in a permanent life partnership with Mr Shandling for a period of 16 years until his death in 2001. The couple had not been married, although there was no legal obstacle to their marriage. Following the death of Shandling, Robinson submitted a claim for maintenance against his deceased estate. The executor of the estate, Volks, rejected her claim because she was not ‘a survivor’ as contemplated by the Act. Skweyiya J said at paras 55 – 56: ‘Mrs Robinson never married the late Mr Shandling. There is a fundamental difference between her position and spouses or survivors who are predeceased by their husbands. Her relationship with Mr Shandling is one in which each was free to continue or not, and from which each was free to withdraw at will, without obligation and without legal or other formalities. There are a wide range of legal privileges and obligations that are triggered by the contract of marriage. In a marriage the spouse’s rights are largely fixed by law and not by agreement, unlike in the case of parties who cohabit without being married. The distinction between married and unmarried people cannot be said to be unfair when considered in the larger context of the rights and obligations uniquely attached to marriage. Whilst there is a reciprocal duty of support between married persons, no duty of support arises by operation of law in the case of unmarried cohabitants. The maintenance benefit in section 2(1) of the Act falls within the scope of the maintenance support obligation attached to marriage. The Act applies to persons in respect of whom the deceased person (spouse) would have remained legally liable for maintenance, by operation of law, had he or she not died.’

If regard is had to the decision of Cohen, that it cannot be read into s 7(2) of the Act that the maintenance will cease when the recipient of the maintenance lives as husband and wife with another, as an express agreement to that effect can be amended by the maintenance court. Having regard to the factors that should be taken into account when determining whether the defendant ought to pay maintenance for the plaintiff, in terms of s 7(2) of the Act, the factors mentioned are not exclusive.

When taking into consideration the factors mentioned in s 7(2) of the Act to determine whether the defendant is liable to pay maintenance the following emerge:

(a) The existing and prospective means of each of the parties and the parties’ respective earning capacities.

(b) The financial needs and obligations of the parties. It is clear that neither of the parties can live lavishly, but they are not destitute.

(c) The age of the parties.

(d) The duration of the marriage.

(e) The standard of living of the parties prior to the divorce.

(f) The conduct of the defendant insofar as it may be relevant to the breakdown of the marriage.

The facts of this matter differed materially from Carstens; SP v HP; and Qonqo. It is immaterial whether the defendant was unable to support the plaintiff and their son, or whether he was merely unwilling to do so. Other legislation also makes it clear that the legislature envisaged that a man can be supported by two women. In terms of the provisions s 8(4) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998, a court dissolving a customary marriage has the powers contemplated in ss 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Act. This has the effect that with polygamous customary marriages a husband will have the right to be supported by more than one wife, post-divorce, if circumstances demand it. Although it might have been a concept that was unacceptable in a previous dispensation, the concept is not unacceptable today. The court was of of the opinion that in the circumstances of this case it could not be said that it is against public policy that the defendant should be liable to pay maintenance to the plaintiff; there is no legislative prohibition and the court found that there was no general public policy to that effect or moral prohibition.

Adultery, Infidelity, Extra-marital Affairs and Divorce


From a moral, ethical and religious view adultery is a sin and an act contrary to the basis of trust between married spouses and so is the behaviour of that a third party that break up the marriage seen as immoral.  This article is purely focussed on the law and not the public view or for that matter any moral or religious viewpoint.

Adultery may be defined as extramarital sex that wilfully and maliciously interferes with marriage relations which renders the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship. It is often cited as grounds for divorce. In our law, both the married person and the lover will be regarded as adulterers.

South African law has recognised  claims for damages that can be instituted by an aggrieved spouse against a mistress, but is our law not evolving away from the historic public and religious views? Damages may still be awarded on the basis of the insult caused to the innocent party and of the loss of consortium. Compensation can be claimed for financial loss caused by break-up of the marriage, as well as for the loss of the affection. A court will consider the spouse’s financial and social situation, their moral reputation and the state of the relationship before the adultery was committed. When an innocent spouse’s behaviour was partly responsible for driving his or her partner into another person’s arms, the damages awarded can be considerably lower.

It can however be argued that the South African common law on which a Plaintiff’s claim is predicated for damages against a spouse who committed adultery in a marriage must be developed to promote the spirit, purport and objective of the Bill of Rights contained in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (“the Constitution”) and the interests of justice (under Section 39 (2) and section 173 of the Constitution).

According to the view expressed above it is argued that the time has come to develop the common law so as to remove or curtail claims for damages by a married person, utilising the actio iniuriarum, against a person involved in an intimate relationship with the married person’s spouse. The actio iniuriarum is used to claim for the impairment of one’s personality.  The purpose of this action is to compensate for the intentional injury to one’s mental integrity.

The argument against such a claim is that it breaches the right to human dignity (of the adulterer and mistress) under Section 10 of the Constitution, in that:

  • The relationship and love between the adulterer and mistress is treated as morally reprehensible or without opprobrium;
  • The mistress is held wholly responsible for damage caused to an aggrieved spouse by the other spouse’s marital infidelity; and
  • The mistress is treated as an instrument, in that her human relationship with the adulterer is used as a means to express condemnation for the adulterer’s marital infidelity, and/or to generate sympathy for the aggrieved spouse.

It is further argued that such a claim breach the adulterer and mistress’s rights to equality and freedom from discrimination under Section 9 of the Constitution on basis of marital status, conscience and belief in that:

  • No similar claim for damages is possible against a person who begins an intimate relationship with a man or a woman involved in a long-term homosexual or heterosexual relationship, customary law marriage or religious union;
  • The emotional consequences and loss for the aggrieved partner (i.e the person who learns of the infidelity of his or her partner with a third person) in all of the above relationships may be no more or less serious than a spouse in a marital relationship;
  • The law accordingly differentiates between a person who enters a relationship with a married person; and a person who enters a relationship with a person in other types of committed, long-term relationships;
  • The differentiation amounts to unfair discrimination on the basis of marital status and on the basis that it impairs, or has the potential to impair, the fundamental human dignity of an adulterer and a mistress.

It can further be argued that an adulterer and mistress’ right to privacy under Section 14 of the Constitution is violated in that it causes a public inquiry into the details of their relationship, how it formed and its strength.

Furthermore it seems that an adulterer and mistress’ rights to freedom of conscience, thought, belief and opinion under Section 15 of the Constitution, expression under Section 16 (1) of the Constitution and freedom of association under Section 18 of the Constitution also come into play for the following reasons:

  • Burdening people such as the mistress with damages will have a detrimental effect on her ability to honestly and openly express her emotions and love for another person;
  • The expression of emotions and love between the adulterer and mistress will be treated as morally reprehensible or tainted with moral opprobrium.

Therefore it seems that the common law must be developed in the interests of justice taking in to account the recognition that both parties contribute to the breakdown of the marriage relationship, which is inherent in the ground for divorce introduced in Section 4 of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979, namely “the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”.

It is so that many foreign jurisdictions don’t tolerate such claims anymore and that there seems to be developments in South African case law to that effect. The historic view in our law that damages are awarded on the basis of the insult caused to the innocent party and of the loss of consortium seems to be outdated and time will tell on how our courts will develop the common law.

About the Author

Bertus Preller is a Divorce Attorney in Cape Town he specializes in Family law and Divorce Law at Bertus Preller & Associates in Cape Town. Bertus is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times. His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, international divorce law, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

www.divorceattorney.co.za

info@divorceattorney.co.za

Adultery and the emergence of the Alpha Woman…


Adultery and the emergence of the Alpha Woman

New research reveals that it’s not just powerful men who become sexual predators, but women too…

Sipping her glass of chilled Chablis, Erica Waddington’s eyes wandered slowly around the bar. It didn’t take her long to find what she was looking for. In the opposite corner, blond hair falling foppishly onto the collar of his Paul Smith shirt as he idly scrolled through his BlackBerry, was a stranger. And he was alone, like her.

As Erica’s eyes locked with his just an instant too long, she felt a surge of excitement. Crossing her legs suggestively, she knew all she had to do was wait. Sure enough, two minutes later, the stranger was standing casually at the bar beside her. For Erica, the thrill of the chase had begun.

‘Two hours later we were making passionate love in my hotel bedroom,’ Erica, 50, recalls with a smile. ‘After a long day at work, the release was exactly what I needed — my little treat to myself.’

Whether her husband and three children would agree with her is doubtful. But then, Erica’s not alone. In fact, she’s just one among a growing band of women who’ve been dubbed the Alpha Adulteresses.

These high-earning, successful women are every bit as willing as men to use their power to attract younger lovers for quick flings.

Newspapers are crammed with sex scandals involving powerful men. This past week alone, Dominique Strauss-Kahn — of late the world’s most powerful banker — has been accused of rape, megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger has admitted having a love-child with his housekeeper and the scandal surrounding MP Chris Huhne’s past indiscretions continues to rumble on.

However, a new academic study suggests women are inherently no more virtuous than men. It’s just that, in the past, they have lacked the confidence or opportunity to stray.

Like men, women are finding that power is a potent aphrodisiac. And just like men, they are giving in to the thrill of illicit lunchtime assignations and the sheer excitement that accompanies their transgression.

Nor do they feel any more guilty or ashamed about it than a man would — if anything, less so.

Professor Joris Lammers, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who conducted an anonymous survey of more than 1,500 readers of a business magazine, has found being powerful makes women more prone to be unfaithful.

He questioned people, from top executives to ordinary employees, about whether they’d had affairs. They were asked how powerful they thought they were and quizzed on other factors including their feelings of confidence, and what they thought their risk of being caught was.
The results revealed a strong link between power and infidelity, regardless of gender.
‘The strongest predictors are not religion or moral belief, but power and opportunity,’ says Professor Lammers. ‘Power can undermine your morality and increase your risk-taking, and the effect of power on women is just as strong as on men.’

Certainly, women like Erica are happy to admit they feel no shame in going all out to get what they want — not just in the boardroom but in the bedroom.

For Erica — for obvious reasons names in this article have been changed — treating herself to a night of illicit sex is on a moral par with her regular shopping trips to Paris, her facials and her gym membership. For her, and many other alpha females, sex is simply another trapping of success, a reward for hard work.

A millionaire businesswoman who runs her own chain of travel agencies, she lives in Cheshire with her husband, Thomas, 52, who works for her, and their three children aged from 11 to 17.

She says, ‘I love walking into a boardroom, wearing a beautiful tailored suit, knowing that every man’s eyes are on me. The success of my business — we had a turnover of £2million last year — gives me such a feeling of power and confidence, and that has translated into my attitude towards relationships.

‘I don’t feel guilty: my family have a lovely life, in a five-bedroom detached house with a swimming pool, thanks to my hard work, and my children are privately educated.

‘I suspect there are a lot more alpha women like me who but who simply aren’t prepared to admit they are using their power and money to have affairs.

‘I have had the best sex of my life in the past decade. None of these affairs, or flings, have meant anything to me, they are simply exciting and flattering.

‘My “shenanigans”, as I call them, are my way of de-stressing after my long working day. Inevitably they take place in hotels when I am away from home, and I have discovered that I can completely divorce my emotions from my sex life. I can be on the phone to my daughter talking about her homework one minute, and then gazing into the eyes of a handsome young man in a dimly-lit bar half an hour later.

‘I know men approach me because I am rich and successful, and I often end up paying the bar bill and for the meal. But that doesn’t bother me. In fact, it gives me a sense of achievement that I am totally in control of the situation.’

Lucy Kellaway, a columnist on the Financial Times, wrote her novel In Office Hours after observing the increasingly similar traits of male and female executives. Her main character, Stella, is a highly successful economist in her mid-40s who has an affair with her twentysomething trainee.

Kellaway says her character is typical of a new breed. ‘Climbing the career ladder can do weird things to people and it can corrupt both men and women,’ she says. ‘I think it’s very plausible that it makes women more sexually promiscuous.’

This is borne out by the volume of traffic on Illicit Encounters. The internet site which caters for married professionals looking for adulterous affairs has nearly 600,000 members, and women looking for extra-marital sex outnumber men by 3½ to 1. Most are married with children, aged between their early 30s and mid-40s, and pursuing a well-paid career.

‘Alpha women look for a partner and conduct their encounters in a very business-like fashion. They will often grill prospective partners as though they were conducting a job interview,’ says the website’s Rosie Freeman-Jones.

‘I was naïve when I joined this business. I thought women would be looking for a Brief Encounter-style romantic love affair. But it really is all about sex.’

Wealthy businesswoman Sarah Pattinson holds her hands up to that. She’s embroiled in an affair with a man eight years her junior. He give her the high-octane, high-risk sex she craves; she gives him expensive gifts and treats him to lovely holidays.

‘We met through friends and I fancied him instantly,’ admits Sarah, 49. ‘I think he was very impressed by my status and success.

‘He likes all my “toys” — the Range Rover Sport and my disposable income. I love to buy him clothes, and I recently paid for him to fly to India with a friend. In a way, he is my kept man. I have a phone that I use only to communicate with him which I keep hidden from my husband.

‘At work, I am the boss. I make tough decisions, I hire and fire, and I have to maintain this air of control. I get a buzz from the power and the adrenaline, and that has translated into my sex life.’

Sarah, a mother of two teenagers, runs her own head-hunting business in London and lives in Islington with her husband Robert, 52.

Like most Alpha Males, she regards her affair as a healthy distraction. And, like most Alpha Males, her success has given her an intoxicating sense of invincibility; she simply can’t imagine being caught out.

‘Before I ran this company, I don’t think I would have contemplated being unfaithful. But you do start to think no one can touch you and you are invincible,’ she admits.
‘On the surface, Robert and I have the perfect marriage — he works in the City in insurance, we have a beautiful five-bedroom home in Islington, our children are at a high-achieving private day school and our social life revolves around like-minded wealthy couples.

‘But sex is unfulfilling. If we didn’t have the children, I might have considered leaving Robert for my lover, but our lives are just too complicated to  un-pick. Besides, we do get on reasonably well and we have a fabulous lifestyle, including a villa with a swimming pool in Portugal.

‘We have a live-in nanny who also acts as our housekeeper so my domestic duties are quite light. I work thirteen or fourteen hour days, and I have evening meetings too. This gives me the freedom to meet my lover, who also works in the City.

‘Sometimes I take risks. Once my lover Nick rang me at home and Robert could have picked up. I’ll make excuses to walk down the garden and phone Nick at the weekends, and often I ring his phone just to hear his voice.

‘The sex is incredible, and I think the “edge” of ours being an illicit affair makes it even more enticing.

‘Nick makes me feel beautiful and alive, and he keeps me young. I need to feel vibrant to stay on top of the game, especially during this recession, and that adulterous sex gives me that kick, that energy, to keep me motivated at work. Sex with Nick is my reward for my success and exhausting hard work. I would die, though, if Robert or the children ever found out.’

So why do women, who have worked so hard to achieve professional success, risk losing everything for the sake of adulterous sex, however electric?

According to Rosie Freeman-Jones, risk is a key element. ‘Both men and women at the top are addicted to risk. It is part of the DNA of successful people that they are more prone to take risks and more prone to cheat,’ she says.

But you have only to look at golfer Tiger Woods to see how quickly an affair can destroy not just a marriage but a career and reputation.

Even if he is found not guilty of rape, will former International Monetary fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn ever be able to rebuild his reputation? Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has shelved plans for a career comeback in order to deal with the fallout from his affair.

And Lucy Kellaway warns that Alpha Adultresses are risking even more than their male counterparts.

‘There is a double standard,’ she says. ‘A man having an affair might be seen as a bit of a lad, whereas a woman like Stella in my book is likely to be seen as pathetic, or a bitch and a slapper.

‘Because there are so few women executives, the ones that do succeed are put on a pedestal — and they have a lot farther to fall. The message of my book is that affairs end badly for everyone.’

And, while the figures demonstrate very clearly that increasing numbers of successful women are being tempted to stray, can women really divorce sex from commitment in the same way as a man?
Article Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1389812/Adultery-Alpha-Woman-Its-just-powerful-men-sexual-predators.html#ixzz1NMzBRiE9

Compiled by: www.divorceattorney.co.za

Living together, make sure you have a cohabitation agreement, otherwise you leave with nothing!


Personal finance: If you don’t say ‘I do”, get it in writing – Interview with Bertus Preller – Family Law Attorney

Gone are the days of “single” or “married”. You only have to look at Facebook’s relationship declaration options to know that today’s partnerships come in all shapes and sizes.

But what are the financial risks of being involved in a long-term relationship that is not formally recognised as a marriage?

We quizzed some experts to find out the best ways to protect yourself if you don’t fancy walking down the aisle with your life partner.

Family law attorney Bertus Preller said patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabiting without marriage had been changing for years.

“The incidences of domestic partnerships are growing throughout the world.”

Preller said that, according to the 1996 census, 1.3million people described themselves as living with a partner. When the 2001 census came around, this figure had almost doubled to nearly 2.4million.

Many people believe that, if they live together for some time, the relationship will be recognised by the state, and there will be legal rights, duties and protection.

But Preller said there was no such thing as common-law marriage – because the concept has been abolished worldwide.

“The time a couple spend living together does not translate into a default marriage. The consequence is that, at the dissolution of the relationship, the assets or any obligations are determined or distributed on a basis of the arrangement that parties used during their relationship,” he said.

Domestic partnerships were never prohibited in South African law – but neither did they enjoy any noteworthy recognition or protection, Preller said.

“In SA, marriage laws traditionally provided parties with a variety of legal protections. These laws governed what happened to the property of the parties during the marriage and on dissolution, either by divorce or death, and also meant that certain benefits were automatically acquired, such as membership of medical aid funds, pension funds, etc.

“Married spouses also had a reciprocal duty of support under the common law.”

Preller said South African courts had occasionally helped couples by deciding that an express or implied universal partnership existed, but this was usually difficult to prove.

“The only way to be protected in our law is to enter into a cohabitation agreement. Such an agreement clarifies the expectations of the partners and also serves as an early warning of future problems.

“A cohabitation agreement will determine what would happen to the property and assets of the couple if they should decide to separate. The agreement is, however, not enforceable in so far as third parties are concerned.”

However, in terms of the 2005 Children’s Act, the parents of children born out of wedlock had a duty to maintain their offspring, “irrespective of the living arrangements”, Preller said.

“Basically a cohabitation agreement regulates rights and duties between the partners.

“It could almost be compared to an antenuptial contract entered into prior to the conclusion of a civil marriage.

“The agreement can provide for the division and distribution of assets upon dissolution: for instance, the formal agreement may set out the rights and obligations towards each other; the respective financial contributions to the joint home; clarify arrangements regarding ownership of property that they may purchase jointly and the division of their jointly owned assets should they separate,” said Preller.

“An agreement such as this will be legally binding as long as it contains no provisions that are immoral or illegal.

“If there is no agreement on the dissolution of a domestic partnership agreement, a party would only be entitled to retain those assets which he or she has purchased and owns and further would be entitled to share in the assets proportionately in terms of the contribution which they have made to the partnership.”

Preller said, however, that problems arose if a partner tried to enforce a domestic partnership agreement if the partner being sued was married to someone else.

“It has been argued that in such cases domestic partnership agreements violate public policy to the extent that they impair the community of property rights (where applicable) of the lawful married spouse.”

He said the Domestic Partnerships Bill was still being formulated, and it wasn’t clear how it would be implemented.

“In the current constitutional dispensation it is unlikely that a partner will be left in despair, taking into account the Domestic Partnerships Bill,” Preller said.

Fiona Renton, head of the legal services department at financial and risk services provider Alexander Forbes, said: “My advice would be for cohabiting couples to enter into a contract – a written partnership agreement that states exactly what will happen in the event of death or a split, protecting their rights and outlining their obligations.

“For example, when it comes to the ownership of property, the contract should state what happens to ownership of the property (such as one spouse buying out the other) or payments in the event of death or a split.

“Putting any relationship into writing is always helpful, even if it’s just adding someone on your medical aid as a dependant.

“Having said that, in the event of death, having a will is always the best idea.

“Out of the bounds of a legally recognised marriage there is no intestate succession – meaning there is no automatic participation in the estate to make sure the other partner is looked after.”

Joint accounts never a good idea

Money is one of the most important matters a couple needs to resolve when contemplating living together or marriage, according to Sugendhree Reddy, director of banking products at Standard Bank.

“One issue that often comes up in these kinds of discussions is whether to have a joint bank account. In many ways, this can seem like an appealing option.

“However, most financial experts don’t recommend having a joint account at all. We never encourage a joint account because whether you are married or living together, you both need to grow your assets and get a good credit rating. Having a joint account invariably makes it difficult for one of the partners to do so. Besides, a joint bank account puts one partner at great risk in the event of a break-up, death or financial difficulties.”

Reddy said there was no joint bank account with two equal account holders. “A ‘joint’ account is actually an account in one person’s name, to which the other person is a signatory. This causes a number of complications for that signatory. The most important of these is that without a bank account in your name, you will have no credit record at the bank – which makes it difficult to get credit at shops, open a cellphone account or apply for a loan.”

In the event of a break-up, Reddy said, the joint account could be emptied by one partner or the person in whose name the bank account is held could remove the second signatory.

If one partner dies, “banks tend to freeze the account until the estate is resolved – leaving the signatory partner with no access to the funds for an extended time”, said Reddy.

Reddy advises couples to split responsibility for monthly expenses, or open an account for the household into which both pay a portion of their salaries for general expenses.

Who gets your pension?

There are typically two types of benefits payable to “spouses”, says Fiona Renton, head of legal services at Alexander Forbes.

“Firstly pensions, which are payable to those who qualify as spouses – and that would depend on how each fund defines an ‘eligible spouse’: people must check the fund rules to see if their partner/spouse would qualify.

“Fund rules may stipulate that you must be married to the same person at date of retirement and date of death for them to qualify for a spouse’s pension. This prevents so-called ‘death-bed marriages’ where a pensioner marries someone much younger than them after they have already retired – and on their death the fund realises that there is a much younger spouse to whom they have a liability to pay a pension for many years.”

The second benefit type is the typical fund benefit (fund credit or share of fund) plus an insured multiple of a salary (three times annual salary, for example).

“This is allocated by the trustees, to your dependants and nominees.

“A dependant includes a spouse; the Pension Funds Act defines a spouse as ‘a person who is the permanent life partner or spouse or civil union partner of a member in accordance with the Marriage Act, Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, Civil Union Act or the tenets of a religion. A very wide definition.”

To ensure that no partner is overlooked, the pension fund member should always nominate a beneficiary in the relevant form to help the trustees – although trustees are not absolutely bound to follow that nomination, said Renton.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to death and money such decisions by fund trustees are often contested.”

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