Do rich divorced spouses deserve upkeep?

A decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court on spousal upkeep upon divorce might cause couples to think twice before divorcing.

The Supreme Court will determine whether it is fair for a spouse to provide support to an estranged partner who can provide for themselves and with whom they have no children.

At the center of the dispute is a British couple- Charles Michael Angus Walker Munro and his former wife, Pamela Ann Walker Munro.

The two were married on May 3, 1997 in England, came to Kenya in 2007 but divorced in 2009. 

Pamela filed for divorce on grounds that her husband had walked away from their matrimonial home.

 Munro, however, claimed that the main problem was extravagance in the marriage.

The court had previously obligated Munro to pay Pamela upkeep of first, Kshs Sh82,739 then revised it to Kshs 137,898. Pamela had requested Kshs 250,000.

According to an article published by The Standard,  Munro argues that his former wife saves and invests her monies while receiving upkeep from him.

According to Munro, his estranged wife has a house in England worth 250,000 Euros, an equivalent of Kshs 34,474,500, which fetches Kshs 149,000 rent monthly.

He adds that she owns luxury cars and earns a pension of 320 Euros (Kshs 44, 127). He adds,

“At no time did the respondent (Pamela) state what she does with her income. Her intention is to save 100 percent of her income and be fully supported by the appellant (Munro).”

The case has raised questions on whether a man should pay maintenance for his divorced wife if she can raise her own upkeep, and whether this can be considered as gender discrimination.

Pamela, however, argues that she is a housewife and her husband was an extremely wealthy man.