The plot, the push and the birth of Kenya’s matrimonial property law

Matrimonial property

The Matrimonial Property Act (2013) recognises that contribution to property acquisition can be financial and non-financial.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • History will forever remember with gratitude the Rtd Justice Riaga Omolo who recognised contribution as including direct and indirect financial contribution.
  • He localised non-financial contribution to include the housewife who takes care of the home and the woman who tills the land upcountry while the husband works in an urban setting.
  • History also recalls positively the Rtd Justice R.O. Kwach, who recognised child bearing as an important contribution to families.

It is difficult to appreciate the gains that Kenya has made in the law on matrimonial property without looking at where we have come from. Up until we passed the 2010 Constitution, Kenya did not have a law on matrimonial property. We applied an old English Act, Married Women’s Property Act of 1882. As the English Act did not define what amounted to contribution to matrimonial property, among others, our judges made law to suit local circumstances.

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