High court rejects 50-50 divorce share

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The High Court has ruled against a petition that sought to have spouses share matrimonial property on a fifty fifty basis in the event of a divorce.

Justice John Mativo in his ruling said, although the constitution recognizes equality between a man and a woman in marriage, matrimonial property should not be a loophole that will be exploited by fortune seekers to reap where they did not sow.

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The Federation of Women Lawyers had wanted the matrimonial properties act to be declared unconstitutional, and couples to be entitled to 50-50 arrangement.

This happened barely 48 hours after the court of appeal declined to make a determination in an alimony case by a British couple living in Kenya citing lack of jurisdiction.

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In the landmark ruling Justice John Mativo, ruled matrimonial property can only be shared on the basis of individual contributions.

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Judge Mativo was quoted as saying, “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.

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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.

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