In a unanimous decision the Court of Appeal presided over by Justices Elizabeth Musoke, Muzamiru Kibeedi and Christopher Gashirabake, JJA, has pronounced itself – with far reaching consequences on the rights of married persons when sharing matrimonial properties after divorce. In the judgment in the case of Ambayo Versus Aserua Civil Appeal No. 100 of 2015 the court stated that marriage does not give a spouse an automatic half-share in the matrimonial property.

 A spouse’s share in the matrimonial property is dependent on his or her contribution to it. The contribution can take either monetary or non-monetary forms or both.

 The non-monetary contribution usually consists of “unpaid care and domestic work” rendered by a spouse during the marriage like caring for the children, elderly and the sick members of the family, household chores, cultivating food for the family subsistence et cetra.

The court also guided that when court is determining the value of the “unpaid care and domestic work” rendered during the marriage it should take into account monetary value principles like the value or cost of similar or substitute services available on the labour or service market.

6Where one party has, in the course of the marriage, contributed towards upgrading the other spouse in terms of educating her/him, such contributions should be deducted from the beneficiary spouse’s total claim for “unpaid care and domestic work”.


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