Family lawyers have welcomed Tuesday’s court of appeal ruling on marital property.
Three justices; Elizabeth Musoke, Muzamiru Kibeedi and Christopher Gashirabake have ruled that it’s not an automatic half share of matrimonial property for a divorcing couple.
In the ruling, Justice Kibeedi who wrote the lead judgment states that the spouse’s share in the matrimonial property is dependent on his/her contribution to it.
The justices also note that where one party has, in the course of the marriage, contributed towards upgrading the other spouse in terms of educating her/him, such contributions should be deducted from the beneficiary spouse’s total claim for unpaid care and domestic work.
Speaking to KFM, Humphrey Tumwesigye, a family lawyer and partner at MAB Advocates said the court ruling clearly states there is a process of acquiring property and thus marriage should not be viewed as a means or forms of acquiring property.
“Court is saying, before we share this property, can we look at what was your contribution into this property. This is a man who transformed this lady from uneducated to educate, who got independent business and got self-employed, he added value on her, so where is that contribution,” said Tumwesigye
Tumwesigye says that the ruling fills the glaring gaps in family court issues adding that it will now be easier to avail evidence on contribution one makes as opposed to the case of applying equity.
“If the man or woman is saying I acquired this property myself, your contribution should be looked at. Properties are bought with money, we have a registration of titles Act among other laws on how property is acquired,” he explained.
He adds that “the ruling has put to rest certain questions that have always not been clear most especially on matrimonial property and when it comes to the person’s contribution, courts have now been given a yardstick to use.”