'Live in one floor, I take the other': Homa Bay couple split house into two after divorce

The estranged couple got married in 2014 and separated in 2022. [Courtesy of Dreamstime]

The High Court in Homa Bay has directed a divorced couple to put up their one-storey maisonette for sale and share the proceeds between them to settle a dispute over the property.

Alternatively, the court proposed that either the man or woman can sell off his or her share of the house to the other.

Justice Kiarie Waweru ruled on Tuesday, March 28 that should the couple fail to agree, then they should approach the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya for the house to be valued, sold and the proceeds shared between them.

Joseph Okiki and Rosemary Ochieng exchanged wedding vows in 2014 and divorced in January 2022.

After their divorce was granted, the former couple agreed to co-exist in their matrimonial home, with Rosemary occupying the ground floor and Okiki the first floor.

Their matrimonial home, which sits on 0.26 hectares of land, is in Kasgunga, Suba North Sub-County in Homa Bay County.

In October 2022, Okiki filed a petition in court seeking intervention on how other parts of the homestead should be shared between him and his ex-wife. At the same time, he was seeking to have the earlier settlement arrangement revised.

Okiki says he has a spinal cord disorder that makes it difficult for him to continue living on the first floor.

He suggested that the initial agreement on sharing of the house be set aside and a new arrangement, that considers his health condition, be adopted.

Okiki and Rosemary contributed almost half each towards building their matrimonial home, the court found. Rosemary’s direct contribution in the construction of the house was Sh3.1 million, the judge said.

The homestead has the main house, servants’ quarters, gazebo and a chicken house.

Rosemary has since objected to Okiki’s proposal to have their earlier arrangement reversed.

Rosemary said she is willing to have her share of the house bought off by her ex-husband. Alternatively, she says she welcomes the proposal to have the house sold and the proceeds shared equally between her and Okiki.

Okiki, however, said he was not willing to have the house sold because it was built on his ancestral land, hence sentimental attachment.

“After hearing both parties, it emerges that the best option is to allow the applicant (Okiki) to buy out the respondent. This will translate to 50 per cent of the maisonette, and the value of the gazebo and the servants’ quarters valued separately," said Justice Kiarie.