Evewoman : Bad boy: The joint property, a complicated, sometimes messy affair

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Bad boy: The joint property, a complicated, sometimes messy affair

Caroline asked to help you pay for the new car (Photo: Courtesy)

As every Kenyan knows, after June, buying a car could be impossible. So, you are working to buy a car – more like upgrade to a better one.

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But there is a problem brewing in your household. You had never anticipated it – sort of the things that blindfold you on a random, windy Tuesday.

Earlier in the week, Caroline overheard your price negotiation phone call. When you were done, she chipped in, “why can’t we buy it together.”

“Is it necessary?” you asked her.

“Si it is our family car?”

“But I have the money, we can use your money to…”

“No, I want to changa also!” She exclaimed.

You didn’t want to involve her, but there you were. So you went to the bazaar with Caroline to check and pay for the car, having already sent a mechanic to confirm and certify it. You didn’t have like 25 percent of the money and Caroline chipped in.

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When you buy property together, who owns it? (Photo: Courtesy)

When giving details for the logbook, Caroline brought up an interesting subject: whom did you put as the owner?

“Does it matter, it is me…”

“Why can’t we have both our names on it?”

“Mmmh, frankly I wasn’t thinking much about it, but sure we can…”

“It is just due caution…you never know…”

“You never know what?” You ask her innocently.

“You may decide to play games with the car, and I co-own it…”

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“What if I give your money back?” You ask her.

“It is not that way, I was just asking, come on…”

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There was something sinister about her suggestion. You decide to go along with it but you decide to talk to your lawyer friend. And it is the lawyer friend, a gracious lady, who warns you about joint investments. A divorcee herself, she takes a dim view of marriage.

“Joint investments are tricky. What if you divorce? Is everything you own in both your names?”

“Frankly, I don’t know much about her investments. But I will try and ask her.”

“Just simple advice, have an arrangement on what will happen in the worst case scenario…”

“I don’t expect us to separate or divorce,” you say.

“How long have you been married?”

“Four years now…”

“Don’t be too naïve. Even Al Gore divorced his wife of 40 years. Jeff Bezos after 25…”

She had a point. Back home, you tried to broach the subject by asking Carol to name all her investments and under whose names they are in.

When you ask about the car you co-paid, she backs off (Photo: Courtesy)

She prevaricated. She had a hard time remembering them and said most of them are under her different chamas and SACCOS. And the ones she owns herself were under her name…

“Two of them, I acquired before we met. And the other two I have acquired while with you, you were not interested, nor did you contribute…”

“But I contributed to your last car. Under whose name is it registered?”

“Mine,” she said, matter-of-factly. “Honestly, I didn’t think you cared that much…?

“But why did you insist we own this car jointly?”

“It is not a must, you can give me back the money,” and like an afterthought, “you can give me back my money when you get it…”

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