Today, May 21, 2021, the Vice President of IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Kofi Bentil, has caused massive fuss on social media after he dissected the meaning and legal ramifications of alimony.
Alimony is a court mandated money made to a former spouse by a divorcee. Traditionally, a former spouse (especially men) are coerced to make lump sum of money or assets to their divorced partners (women) as a form of compensation. The Akans call it Mpata Sika.
According to Kofi Bentil, alimony shouldn’t be interpreted erroneously as a divorce fine or Mpata Sika. He stated that Mpata Sika is not enshrined in the constitution of Ghana.
In a Facebook post, Kofi Bentil defined alimony as a maintenance after a divorce. He asserted that court of competent jurisdiction usually make a former spouse pay alimony to a divorcee base on income differentials. Thus, the highest income earner in the marriage is charged to pay money to the needy divorcee. This implies that woman can be charged for alimony after legitimate marital divorce, if only she earns more money than her husband.
However, Kofi Bentil further asseverated that both parents are mandated to share responsibilities and cost in respect to their children upbringing.
He wrote that,
“Alimony is maintenance after a divorce. It is not a ‘Divorce Fine’. No one pays a fine to anyone for divorce. The ‘Mpata sika’ in our culture is not in our law!
Alimony usually flows from the spouse who earns more to the one who needs support.
Meaning a wife can be made to pay the man alimony!
It can be paid as a lump sum or over a period. It does not last till the death of the spouse.
Child maintenance is another matter. Both parents are responsible for maintaining their children as long as needed but definitely when they are less than 18. If after 18 the children are still dependent, they must still be supported. Both parents must share that cost. Usually the one with custody of the kids is paid some money, then she adds her portion and takes care of the kids.”
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