Couples have equal rights during divorce - Dr. Ampaw
President of Legal- Advocacy Foundation Dr. Maurice Ampaw said all couples have rights in a marriage as far as acquisition of properties during the period of the marriage.
Speaking on The AM Show with Mamavi Owusu on JoyNews, MultiTV, Dr. Maurice Ampaw emphasised that, if properties were acquired before marriage, neither of the partners would be entitled to a property their partner owned prior to the marriage. They would therefore have no right of acquisition during divorce.
However, he says, the courts may only consider the fact that the man may have introduced the woman to enjoying a comfortable life, which might call for some considerations.
This might not be because the woman contributed to the acquisition of the property.
The 1992 constitution in Article 22 imposes an obligation on parliament to enact legislation to regulate the property rights of spouses to have equal access to property jointly acquired during marriage. It also allows for matrimonial property to be equitably distributed between spouses upon termination of the marriage.
However, Dr. Ampaw said, in some marriages, where the man decides the woman should use her money (income) to maintain the home and the welfare of the children, as the man invests in acquisition of properties for the family; the court would not look at whether the woman contributed physically to acquiring the properties or not, in the event of a divorce.
Rather, he said, the court would take into consideration the fact that the woman supported her husband by not wasting his money unnecessarily, for which the man was able to save his money towards the acquisition of the said properties for the family. On that basis the courts might rule for equal share of the property.
The properties are usually valued and any of the parties that could afford the value pays the other off and becomes the legal owner.
Dr. Ampaw, however, stated that in the case where both partners contributed to the acquisition of the properties, the court would order for the sale of the properties and the proceeds would be shared equally among the couples.
“If the woman on the other hand, was resourceful, the law would be applied same”, he said.