How safe is my marital property? - Evewoman

How safe is my marital property?

Dear Harold,

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My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We have invested in real estate and have been using part of the returns to pay fees for our three children in an expensive private school in Nairobi.

Unfortunately, my husband now intends to marry another woman, which may make me opt out, as I cannot stomach the idea of having a co-wife. What will happen to our family investments when he finally brings this other woman? How will it be divided? I don’t want my children to suffer, yet I have worked very hard to secure their future. 

{Doreen, Nairobi}

 Dear Doreen,

The new Matrimonial Property Act 2013, provides for division of investments when a polygamous marriage hits the rocks. According to the law that came into force early this year, property acquired by a man and his first wife remains their matrimonial property. However, property acquired by the man after he marries subsequent wives is regarded as owned by all the spouses, taking into account contributions made by the man, and each of the wives towards acquisition. This can change if there is a written agreement between spouses that a wife shall have her matrimonial property with the husband separate from that of the other wives. In this case, such a wife will own the matrimonial property equally with the husband in the exclusion of other wives. According to section seven of the Matrimonial Property Act, ownership of matrimonial property depends on each spouse’s contribution towards its acquisition and shall be divided between them if they divorce or their marriage is dissolved.



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