Court in ruling on sharing of property 50/50 after divorce

THE Supreme Court has ruled {that a} woman who didn’t make any direct contributions to the acquisition of  property may be awarded a 50 % share upon divorce.

Justices Ben Hlatshwayo, Chinembiri Bhunu and Tendai Uchena made the ruling in the case of Govati Mhora versus Emmaculata Mhora divorce matter in which the former husband was challenging the choice by the High Court to award the respondent a 50 % share of their Harare matrimonial residence on grounds that she had by no means made any direct contribution to the acquisition of the property.

Mr Mhora acknowledged that the home was acquired by his individual effort and he single-handedly raised the payment for the stated property.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the lower court’s judgment.

In accordance with the judgment, the court considered Mrs Mhora’s indirect contributions and came to the conclusion that she should be awarded a 50 % share of the immovable property.

It stated through the years courts have awarded considerable shares in immovable property to spouses when they didn’t make direct contributions towards acquisition, however noted that every case is handled according to its merit and circumstances.

“The court a quo took into consideration the indirect contribution made by the respondent in caring for the family and the household by the non-financial means for a period of close to five decades. It additionally took into consideration the fact that the respondent additionally took care of three of the appellant and the other wife (divorced) and two children born out of wedlock. The court considered the 47 years of marriage and the indirect contributions and expectations flowing from such a long marriage. It also took into account the age of the respondent who’s aged 65 and that she was past her prime age and there was no possibility of remarriage,” reads part of the ruling.

The court cited other matters in which spouses were awarded 35 % share and 50 % share.

“Nonetheless, it should be borne that in mind that each case should be handled according to its own circumstances and merit. I’m of the view that the circumstances of this case justify the awarding of a 50 % share of the immovable property,” reads a part of the ruling.

Gweru lawyer, Mrs Takashinga Pamacheche- Mubonesi of Gundu, Dube and Pamacheche Legal Practitioners stated the ruling is a welcome transition in the recognition of women’s rights as provided for in the Constitution.

She stated the ruling recognises the essential position of women in marriage in addition to in the home.

Mrs Pamacheche-Mubonesi stated the SC ruling noted the necessity to recognise the vital motherly duties and their contribution to acquisition of assets and property within marriages. “Most outcomes have been agreements between the parties after a round table. In most cases it’s the men who have been prone to raise it as a defence that the woman or wife has not made financial contribution in the acquisition of property or property,” she stated.

The director of the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) Mrs Abigail Matsvayi stated when divorcing, it is necessary for each parties to consider contributions that each part made while married.

She stated it’s not just about financial contributions as women contribute in several ways which include taking care of the kids and upkeep of the family.

“These contributions could be monetary and non-financial. And when separating or divorcing, you ought to offer every part what is due to them based mostly on what they contributed in marriage. For women particularly as they’re largely deprived, this judgement allows them to get a justifiable share of the immovable property. Typically, this SC ruling is an efficient reason for women to rejoice,” stated Mrs Matsvayi.

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