To protect the people involved I shall not use their real names.
Peter and Joan got married 10 years ago under ANC, they had 2 children and bought a house in a well to do suburb in Midrand registered in both their names.
Peter goes to the municipality and signs all the documentation to get the municipal fees etc in order.
Things do not go well and they get divorced on 15 December 2008 complete with a settlement agreement. Joan immediately packs her things and moves to a different city +- 200 Kms away.
Peter gets left in the house and after a while moves out and rents the house to a third party. At the point of separation Peter undertook to look after the interests of the house which obviously includes the municipal fees. Peter receives the rent and does the bond and other payments. In the settlement it was determined that the house should be sold asap and the proceeds divided.
Without Joans knowledge , Peter purposely * defaults on the municipal payments and Peter gets issued with a summons in May 2009 and a judgment issued against himself and against Joan as a co respondent. ( Joan is still unaware of anything being amiss as she has not received any summons or notification from anybody what so ever ) Peter in the meantime settles the issue with the municipality and requests the judgment being set aside a removal of his name from the credit bureau.
* ( The issue with the municipality hinged around a problem that they got billed for vacant land instead of built up property )
4 Days ago Joan gets a fax from Peter, from a credit bureau, stating that she now has a bad credit rating against her name as a result of the judgment.
She contacts the lawyer for the municipality and gets told that it is good enough that the summons was delivered to Peter and it is assumed that she would be informed.
My question now to the legal boffins............... Is this normal practice ?
Do you think she has a case to take to the Law Society for negligence against the lawyers for the municipality in not ensuring that she gets her summons or not even been given the opportunity to rectify the municipal accounts issue ? ( Remember, although she co-owns the house, she did not sign any documents with the municipality and was totally unaware of any problem. )
According to a friend, who is a lawyer, there is not much to do about this but to me it sounds totally wrong and unfair.
What do you think ?