Distribution of Matrimonial Property in Kenya.

How Is The Distribution of Matrimonial Property in Kenya?

On January 27, 2023, the Supreme Court of Kenya ruled that marital property must be shared on the basis of fairness and not in accordance with an automatic, fixed formula that imposes a 50-50 split.

Couples seeking a share of matrimonial property after dissolution of marriages will now have to prove their contribution.

Matrimonial property in Kenya includes the matrimonial home, household goods and effects in the matrimonial home, and any movable or immovable property jointly owned and acquired during the marriage.

Trust property, including property held in trust under customary law, does not form part of matrimonial property. Non-matrimonial assets are those acquired separately by either spouse before or during the marriage.

The Matrimonial Property Act protects women’s rights to property acquired during marriage.

The division of matrimonial property in Kenya is guided by statutes as well as case law. The Constitution of Kenya guarantees equal rights to property for both spouses.

The Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) of 2013 provides for the division of matrimonial property upon the dissolution of marriage.

Section 7 of the MPA states that ownership of matrimonial property vests in the spouses according to the contribution of either spouse towards its acquisition.

The Act defines matrimonial property as property acquired by either or both spouses during the subsistence of the marriage.

The division of matrimonial property in Kenya is not always straightforward. In December 2021, Kenya’s Court of Appeal reversed a 50:50 ruling on the division of matrimonial property.

The ruling stated that ownership of matrimonial property vests in the spouses according to their contribution towards its acquisition. This means that the court will consider the contribution of each spouse towards the acquisition of the property before dividing it.

The distribution of matrimonial property in Kenya is governed by the Matrimonial Property Act, which was enacted in 2013.

Under this law, all property acquired during the marriage, including real estate, investments, and other assets, is considered matrimonial property and is subject to equal sharing between the spouses in the event of divorce or separation.

This includes property that was acquired in the name of one spouse or jointly. However, property acquired before the marriage, inheritance or gifts, and property acquired after separation are excluded from the distribution.

In cases where there is a dispute on the distribution of the property, the courts evaluate the contributions each spouse made to the acquisition and management of the property before making a decision.

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