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Wives protected in property Bill-Kenya

In the recent past, Kenyans have been having hot discussion for and against the Marriage and Property Bill set to be discussed in parliament. some have said that it is not allowable for a man to be allowed by law to marry as many women as he may want. some men, among the dignitaries secretly married women who after the death of the spouse claimed to be legal wives with legal children of the deceased, sometimes it caused pain and complications to the family that were never informed of other existing family elsewhere.

Those against the bill say it will make the man a slave since the women have more matrimonial rights than before. women women indicated relief especially over property right since they will enjoy the rights over property acquired while in marriage. this is going to change how things were done previously since men and their relatives solved property without the knowledge of the legal wived in the event that they divorced or died. first wives are protected in the bill and Kenyans are watching with mixed reactions on the unfolding of events.

By JOHN NGIRACHU jngirachu@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Tuesday, July 23 2013 at 23:30
Summary

Assets acquired before marriage will not be shared if MPs pass law on what each partner will get in case of divorce

Property acquired before marriage shall not be shared between two or more partners in case of a divorce, a Bill set to be introduced in the National Assembly proposes.

Published on July 5, the Matrimonial Property Bill provides for the rights and responsibilities and spouses in relation to matrimonial property.

It is sponsored by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga and has been submitted to the committee by Attorney General Githu Muigai.

If enacted, it will determine how the property is shared.

It defines matrimonial property as; “matrimonial homes, household goods and effects in the homes, immovable and moveable property owned by both or either spouse and acquired during the marriage and any other property acquired during the marriage.”

This means that anything acquired after the marriage will be shared equally once the union ends.

Wives would also be protected from the common cases where their husbands sell homes without their knowledge or consent.

The Bill states that “the matrimonial home shall not be mortgaged or leased without the written and informed consent of both spouses.”

It will also be illegal to sell, gift, lease or mortgage matrimonial property without the consent of both parties.

It would also be illegal to evict a spouse from the matrimonial home unless a court makes that order, meaning the cases where women are kicked out of their homes would be in breach of the law. The Bill suggests that it will not matter how much each spouse is considered to have contributed.

It states: “Ownership of matrimonial property vests in the spouses equal shares irrespective of the contribution of either spouse towards its acquisition, and shall be divided equally between the spouses if they divorce or their marriage is dissolved.”

It states that where matrimonial property is acquired during marriage in the name of one spouse, it is assumed that the property is held in trust for the other spouse.

First partner protected

If it is in the names of the spouses jointly, it is assumed that their interests are equal.

There is, however, a provision for a man and his wife to enter an agreement before their marriage as to their property rights.

In case of a polygamous union, property acquired by the man and the first wife before he marries other women shall not be shared with the other wives, the Matrimonial Property Bill states.

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