The Court of Appeal presided over by Justices Elizabeth Musoke, Muzamiru Kibeedi and Christopher Gashirabake, has on Tuesday made pronouncements with far reaching consequences on the rights of married persons in matrimonial properties when they divorce.
In their judgment in Ambayo Vs. Aserua Civil Appeal No. 100 of 2015 the court stated that: The couple filed for a divorce in 2012 before the Family Division of the high court after the latter had an extra marital fair with a driving school instructor.
Court presided over by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire granted the divorce on grounds that the marriage that was formalized in 2005 suffered irretrievable breakdown. She shared property equally among the couple of four children, stating that they equally contributed to the marriage.
<a target="_blank" href="https://urldefense.com/v3/__http:/thevoice.africa/__;!!JhKdOwKRoV0QTA!rYVR_Qqse-vOS53kf1UeIx5dpVo5JWAlwqkeTtw9a0tKRudKxLG19vmL97iA6OcUL4oqma4FNNn3BiOh0vV9_daIVserQSKsNrEy4tU%24" rel="noopener"> </a><a></a>
The judge proceeded to divide into two halves the matrimonial property accrued in the union. However, this decision was challenged by Ambayo, the husband on the basis that he educated his spouse since 1989 when the couple started cohabiting.
Aserua who was in primary by then was educated through Nakasero Primary School for P.7, after which she obtained a Certificate in Tailoring and Diploma in designing and dress making. Ambayo also paid for her driving skills.
In his appeal, Ambayo argued that Aserua didn’t equally contribute to the acquisition of his property and that the judge failed to properly evaluate the evidence on record concerning acquisition, ownership and distribution of his property.
In their ruling on Tuesday November 15,2022, the three justices of the court of appeal ruled as follows;
1. That; Marriage does not give a spouse an automatic half-share in the matrimonial property.
2. A spouse’s share in the matrimonial property is dependent on his/her contribution to it.
3. Contribution can take either monetary or non-monetary forms or both.
4. The non-monetary contribution usually consists of “unpaid care and domestic work” rendered by a spouse during the marriage like caring for the children, elderly and the sick members of the family, household chores, cultivating food for the family subsistence et cetra.
5. When court is determining the value of the “unpaid care and domestic work” rendered during the marriage it should take into account monetary value principles like the value or cost of similar or substitute services available on the labour or service market.
6. Where one party has, in the course of the marriage, contributed towards upgrading the other
Compiled by Rashidah Nakaayi