It is now crystal clear that sharing of property between spouses will be based on the contributions made by the two parties and there is no automatic entitlement to half of the marital property in case of a divorce.
A woman, identified as Ms PNK filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband after she was granted only half of the matrimonial home but not a share of any other property owned by her husband. United in a customary marriage, the two were later divorced through a court order on August 1, 2017.
Seeking a declaration that she is entitled to half of all the properties acquired during her marriage, she listed her financial and non-financial contributions towards the purchase or development of all their properties particularly the construction of their matrimonial property situated in Gakoigo from her tea proceeds. Other properties were two plots of land in Ikumbi Township in Murang’a, and in North Kinangop in Nyandarua County.
However, her ex-husband dismissed her claims. He said that the land was given to him by his mother and that he took a loan to develop rental units on it.
“The applicant was my wife from 1974. We could not get children and she left after 13 years. It is not true that I was cruel. She returned in 2010 and moved into the property. I asked her to be collecting rent and to submit it,” he testified.
In his ruling, Justice Kimondo, a High Court judge in Murang’a said the court found that the woman had failed to prove that the acquisition or developments were made from tea proceeds or that she contributed in any other manner. He dismissed the woman’s claim for a share of the Gakoigo property saying that evidence had shown that it was not her matrimonial home before their relocation to Ikumbu.
“I am satisfied that during the 13 years’ coverture, the applicant made an indirect or non-financial contribution towards the Ikumbi Township property. The respondent offered no clear rebuttal. I would in the circumstances, and in the interests of justice, grant the applicant half of the parcel in Ikumbi Township,” he ruled.
Suppose the property cannot be sub-divided, Justice Kimondo stated, a valuation should be done. That either party will then be at liberty to purchase the other’s interest or the property shall be sold and the proceeds divided equally between the applicant and respondent.