Legal practitioner and partner at Morrison, Twumasi and Partners, Rendorf Twuamsi Ankrah, has said that property acquired by individuals before they tie the knot is not up for distribution when there is a divorce.
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, he stated that the law recognises a person’s right to own personal property, noting that property acquired before marriage can only be added to the property meant for distribution if the spouse wishes to do so.
Mr Ankrah, on Sunday, listed a number of circumstances where spouses do not have to share their properties upon divorce.
He said that “properties acquired before marriage and properties acquired by way of gift, which is not as a result of the marriage, are not for distribution upon divorce. For insane you get married today and a friend decides to donate a car to you and your wife, that will fall within the property that came to you by way of marriage.”
“However, if unfortunately your father is passed and in his will decides to give you property, that is an inheritance and cannot be part of what we describe properly as marital property, even though it was acquired during the marriage,” he explained.
The legal practitioner noted that “the law, as has already been discussed, also recognises the right of persons to own property, so that right is not extinguished merely because you get married, you still hold that right.”
He added that the law has evolved to the point where it ensures that where a property that is developed pursuant to loans that are taken and are still being serviced, cannot be considered as property falling under the pool of the marital property.
On the other hand, property jointly acquired during the course of a marriage shall be equitably distributed upon divorce.
Also on the show, Private Legal Practitioner and Partner at Beyuo and Co., Iris Aggrey-Orleans said that this law applies to both spouses in the marriage as the law as stated in Article 22 of the 1992 constitution is gender neutral.
“It is gender neutral, so both man and woman can enjoy and should enjoy from the jointly acquired property upon dissolution of the marriage. There must be an equitable distribution – and when you say equitable distribution the courts have used the words historically as fair play, common sense when it comes to equitable distribution. So on a case-by-case basis, both parties can enjoy marital assets,” she said.
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