The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman who did not make any direct contributions to the acquisition of a property can be awarded a 50 percent share upon divorce.
The ruling was made by Justices Ben Hlatshwayo, Chinembiri Bhunu and Tendai Uchena in the case of Govati Mhora versus Emmaculata Mhora divorce matter.
Govati Mhora was challenging the decision by the High Court to award Emmaculata Mhora a 50 percent share of their matrimonial home based in Harare, on grounds that she had never made any direct contribution to the acquisition of the property.
Mr. Mhora stated that the house was acquired through his individual effort and he single-handedly raised the payment for the house.
The Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Mhora’s appeal and upheld the lower court’s decision.
In the judgement, the Supreme Court considered Mrs Mhora’s indirect contributions and came to the conclusion that she should be awarded a 50 percent share of the immovable property. The couple had been married for 47 years.
The Supreme Court also noted that each case is dealt with according to its merit and circumstances and cited other matters in which spouses were awarded 35 percent share and 50 percent share.
The judges also took into consideration Mrs Mhora’s age and the fact that she had taken care of five children. Part of the ruling reads:
The court a quo took into consideration the indirect contribution made by the respondent in taking care of the family and the household through the non-financial means for a period of close to five decades.
It also took into consideration the fact that the respondent also 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 is aged 65 and that she was past her prime age and there was no possibility of remarriage.
Legal practitioners who spoke to The Chronicle hailed the ruling and said it is a recognition of women’s rights.
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