By Everson Mushava
The High Court has ruled that men who do not take care of their children while on separation stand to lose all their property to the estranged wife.
High Court judge Justice Alphas Chitakunye made the landmark ruling in a matter pitting Timothy Simba, who was married for 17 years (1983-2000) to Funganai Simba (nee Jonga).
Timothy moved out of the family home in 2000.
According to Funganai’s lawyer, Tatenda Pfigu of Pfigu Attorneys, Timothy left the matrimonial home in 2001 and moved in with his mistress while the family almost lost the house which the couple had acquired jointly.
“Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that a decree of divorce be and is hereby granted, the defendant (Funganai) is hereby awarded stand number 271 Mandara Township lot 3A Mandara held under deed of transfer number 7963/87 dated November 12 1987, also known as number 58 Shaneregh Road, Harare as her sole and exclusive property. The plaintiff (Simba) shall sign all necessary documents to enable transfer of his 50% share as joint owner to the defendant within 30 days from the date of request,” the judgment read.
“In making the order that I have come to, I have been influenced in great measure by the plaintiffs (ex-husband)’s failure to make full and frank disclosures, the concerted programme that he undertook in asset stripping the matrimonial estate to his benefit and the impoverishment of the defendant,” part of the ruling read.
“Since separation, he has not maintained the family as would have been expected. I am of the view that upon careful consideration of all the case, this is a case where in terms of 7(1)(a) of the Act, the plaintiff (ex-husband)’s share must be transferred to the defendant (ex-wife). The only reasonable and practicable manner of distribution that would leave the parties in a position they would have had a normal marriage relationship continued is for the defendant (ex-wife) to be awarded plaintiff’s 50% share,” Justice Chitakunye ruled.
The ex-wife, according to court papers, took care of the family and made improvements to the house from which now Simba wants to get a 50% share.
The court ruled that “the defendant’s (ex-wife) claim for 100% share of the matrimonial home was also premised on the fact that after desertion, the ex-husband never looked back. She remained saddled with heavy responsibilities of taking care of their two minor children; the property and the bond repayments”.
Justice Chitakunye ruled that the ex-husband was not truthful to the court with his earnings and the fact that he neglected the family in the last years of the marriage. News Day