The couple had lived together for 17 years. [iStockphoto]

A court has ruled that a house at the centre of a dispute between a divorcing couple is matrimonial property and should be shared.

A woman named in court papers as MCA and her husband FOO have a pending divorce case at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. The two got married in August 2004.

The woman moved to the High Court in Nairobi seeking orders declaring that they co-own a house in Machakos County. MCA accused the man of locking her out of the house she said is matrimonial property.

She told the court she contributed financially to the acquisition of the property and was therefore entitled to its share.

MCA argued that the house should have been registered in her name and her husband's. However, she told the court, FOO registered the property in his name alone.

On Monday, Justice Aggrey Muchelule declared that one party should not claim full ownership of property acquired when they were married.

The judge declared the property was acquired through the couple's contributions on a 30-70 per cent basis. 

The couple had lived together for 17 years and even had two children, Justice Muchelule noted.

The judge, however, failed to grant more orders the applicant had sought noting the divorce case was still pending before the lower court.