The High Court sitting in Kenya on Monday ruled against a petition that sought to have spouses share matrimonial property on a fifty fifty basis in the event of a divorce.
The Federation of Women Lawyers had wanted the section of the law to be declared unconstitutional, and couples to be entitled to 50-50 arrangement.
The development occurred barely 48 hours after the country’s Court of Appeal declined to make a determination in an alimony case by a British couple living in Kenya citing lack of jurisdiction.
But in the landmark ruling, the presiding Judge Justice John Mativo held that matrimonial property can only be shared on the basis of individual contributions.
He was quoted to have said “a person cannot walk into a marriage and then walk out with more than what they deserve.”
The ruling presents a legal setback to FIDA who sought the removal of section 45 (3) of the marriage and Property Act to allow spouses to share wealth on a 50-50 basis regardless of their contribution. He ruled fortune seekers could exploit the law for their selfish gains.
The organization argued there has been a failure to recognize or reward a spouse whose contribution to the family has been performing household course, bearing and raising children or a spouse who uses his/her resources for the day to day expenses.