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Matrimonial Properties Act

An Act to provide for Matrimonial Property

"contribution" means monetary and non-monetary contribution and includes—


(a)domestic work and management of the matrimonial home;

(b)child care;


(d)management of family business or property; and

(e)farm work;


"family business" means any business which —


(a)is run for the benefit of the family by both spouses or either spouse; and

(b)generates income or other resources wholly or part of which are for the benefit of the family;


"matrimonial home" means any property that is owned or leased by one or both spouses and occupied or utilized by the spouses as their family home, and includes any other attached property;


"matrimonial property" has the meaning assigned to it in section 6;


"spouse" means a husband or a wife.



Section 4 of the Act

Despite any other law, a married woman has the same rights as a married man—


 (a)to acquire, administer, hold, control, use and dispose of property whether movable or immovable;

(b)to enter into a contract; and

(c)to sue and be sued in her own name.

Section 12


(1)An estate or interest in any matrimonial property shall not, during the subsistence of a monogamous marriage and without the consent of both spouses, be alienated in any form, whether by way of sale, gift, lease, mortgage or otherwise.


(2) A spouse in a monogamous marriage, or in the case of a polygamous marriage, the man and any of the man's wives, have an interest in matrimonial property capable of protection by caveat, caution/ or otherwise under any law for the time being in force relating to the registration of title to land or of deeds.


(3) A spouse shall not, during the subsistence of the marriage, be evicted from the matrimonial home by or at the instance of the other spouse except by order of a court.


(4) Subject to subsection (3), a spouse shall not be evicted from the matrimonial home by any person except


(a)on the sale of any estate or interest in the matrimonial home in execution of a decree;


(b)by a trustee in bankruptcy; or


(c)by a mortgagee or chargee in exercise of a power of sale or other remedy given under any law.


(5) The matrimonial home shall not be mortgaged or leased without the written and informed consent of BOTH spouses.

Section 4 of the Act

Section 14


Where matrimonial property is acquired during marriage—


 (a)in the name of one spouse, there shall be a rebuttable( can be proved otherwise) presumption that the property is held in trust for the other spouse; and


(b)in the names of the spouses jointly, there shall be rebuttable (can be proved otherwise) presumption that their beneficial interests in the matrimonial property are equal.


Section 15

 Where a spouse gives any property to the other spouse as a gift during the subsistence of the marriage, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the property thereafter belongs absolutely to the recipient.

Section 6 of the Act

 (1) For the purposes of this Act, matrimonial property means—

(a)the matrimonial home or homes;

(b)household goods and effects in the matrimonial home or homes; or

(c)any other immovable and movable property jointly owned and acquired during the subsistence of the marriage.

(2)Despite subsection (1), trust property, including property held in trust under customary law, does not form part of matrimonial property.


Section 6 of the Act

(3)Despite subsection (1), the parties to an intended marriage may enter into an agreement before their marriage to determine their property rights.

(4)A party to an agreement made under subsection (3) may apply to the Court to set aside the agreement and the Court may set aside the agreement if it determines that the agreement was influenced by fraud, coercion or is manifestly unjust.

Section 7

Unless agreed by the parties,  ownership of matrimonial property vests in the spouses according to the contribution of either spouse towards its acquisition, and shall be divided between the spouses if they divorce or their marriage is otherwise dissolved.

Section 9

Where one spouse acquires property before or during the marriage and the property acquired during the marriage does not become matrimonial property, but the other spouse makes a contribution towards the improvement of the property, the spouse who makes a contribution acquires a beneficial interest in the property equal to the contribution made.

(1) If the parties in a polygamous marriage divorce or a polygamous marriage is otherwise dissolved, the—


 (a)matrimonial property acquired by the man and the first wife shall be retained equally by the man and the first wife only, if the property was acquired before the man married another wife; and


(b)matrimonial property acquired by the man after the man marries another wife shall be regarded as owned by the man and the wives taking into account any contributions made by the man and each of the wives.


(2) ... where it is clear by agreement of the parties that a wife shall have her matrimonial property with the husband separate from that of the other wives, then any such wife shall own that matrimonial property equally with the husband without the participation of the other wife or wives.



Section 13

Subject to this Act and any agreement between the spouses before the marriage, marriage does not affect the ownership of property other than matrimonial property to which either spouse may be entitled, or affect the right of either spouse to acquire, hold or dispose of any such property. ( Spouses can hold property separately and individually in marriage).


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