Kenyan Supreme Court Rules Against Automatic Equal Wealth Division Upon Divorce

The Kenyan Supreme Court has ruled that upon divorce, matrimonial property should not be automatically divided equally, requiring proof of individual contributions for property distribution.

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The Kenyan Supreme Court has ruled that divorcing couples are not automatically entitled to an equal division of matrimonial property. This ruling followed an appeal by Joseph Ombogi Ogentoto against a Court of Appeal decision that had divided rental units between him and his ex-wife, Martha Bosibori.

In its decision, the Supreme Court emphasized that each spouse should retain the wealth they individually acquired during the marriage. The Court highlighted the necessity for parties to prove their individual contributions to the matrimonial property. This ruling clarifies that Article 45(3) of the Kenyan Constitution, which ensures equality during marriage dissolution, does not mandate an equal 50-50 split of assets.

The case involved a dispute over rental units in Nairobi, where the Court found that the contribution of each spouse must be considered to determine the distribution of property. Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and other judges on the panel underscored the need for factual evidence of contribution to justify claims to property.

This landmark ruling has significant implications for divorce proceedings in Kenya, emphasizing the importance of individual contributions over the assumption of equal property rights due to the marital relationship.