Lawyer Dr. Justice Sai, is a fast rising Harvard trained Lawyer and academic, lecturing currently at the GIMPA Law School. In a Facebook post sighted, he brings clarity to the hazy knowledge of spousal laws in Ghana, when he simply wrote that:
"ON SPOUSAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
It is not true that every property that a spouse acquires during a marriage belongs, automatically, to the couple jointly. It is only a property which is “jointly acquired” by the couple which will belong to them jointly.
The point, however, is that a property which a spouse acquires alone during the marriage will be treated as jointly acquired unless that spouse is able to prove that s/he acquired it solely and without the HELP of the other spouse.
Note, however, that it is not only monetary contribution which is considered as HELP in this context. House chores (cooking, washing, cleaning, childcare …) are considered as HELP towards the acquisition of a property in the marriage.
The courts used to hold that all wives perform house chores to create “an enabling environment” for their husbands to succeed in their out-of-home works. Based on this, wives used to, automatically, get a share of the property that husbands have acquired.
However, recently, the Supreme Court noted that “it is not every wife to a marriage who diligently performs” house chores. This probably means that a spouse now has an opportunity to show that, the marriage notwithstanding, the other spouse
is not entitled to any share of the property in question. He or she may do this by showing that the other spouse, the marriage notwithstanding, did not, in fact, perform house chores (probably “diligently”).
The last point to note, however, is that a property which a spouse has acquired as a gift or an inheritance is the absolute property of that spouse alone. It is not subject to the rules of matrimonial property right at all. It is his/hers alone.
Again a property which a spouse acquires by a commercial loan will be subject to the rules of matrimonial property (and be shared accordingly) only after the loan is paid off completely. Da Yie," he wrote
Commentary following his post, have included the following:
Botwoe Alexander writes "What if house chores are a shares responsibility between the couple? Does the wife still get benefit just because she performed part of the chores? And on your last point, who pays the remainder of the loan in that instance? Both of them"
Williams Agyei writes "I love the the fact that you did not cite cases. It makes the public consume it better. The mere seeing of cases throws some of them off"
Francesca Woanyah writes "Kindly furnish us with the title of this recently decided SC case."
Godwin Agbolegbe writes "Oh then it's really difficult to prove that your spouse failed to perform house chores diligently"
Beatrice Aduah Agbobadah writes "Please oooooo my brother and follow Ghanaians, do u marry bcos u want to divorce and acquire properties or u marry to build a healthy family?"
Emmanuel K. Tsigbey writes "Counsel Justice Sai what happens in a situation where in the course of the marriage, the woman acquires the properties in her mum's name. Can these properties be subjected the same spousal property rights ???"
Nananie Mensah writes "Men who have properties before marrying or planning to marry should sign a pre nuptial agreement. This is the best way to ward off 'property hunters'."
Augustine Donkor writes "These laws negatively affect the men because they mostly acquire properties during marriage. The women knowing this acquire properties in the names of their parents just to avoid property sharing when there is a dissolution. How does the court treat such cases?"
Asheik Dagomba writes "What if you already acquired properties alone before marriage, will those properties be a subject of spousal litigation in future?"
Sekyi-Brown Reginald writes "This got me thinking. There are instances where people date for sometimes a decade before getting married. During those times you have some women committing resources to help the man. For such cases, how does the court settle them ?"
Francisca Attaa Pokuaah writes "Very useful information, Thanks for sharing"
Samuel Ankomah writes "Insightful. I'm educated."
Orga Danny writes "Lol Da Yie paa. Interesting"
Lawrence Arthur writes "A very insightful. and in depth education. Thanks, Your Lordship"
Perscoba Yayra Amenya writes "Thanks for this legal education Sir"
Kwame Prempeh writes "No case law to support your arguments?"
Kofi Owusu writes "Great. So it all boils down to proof that it wasn't done diligently."
Asieduwaa Atta-Owusu writes "Paragraph 5, oh dear. What happened?"
Many have tagged him as the next Tsatsu Tsikata, his known mentor to his law life too.
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