Men sued for alimony will have to declare their wealth and eventually be compelled to pay monies sought by the estranged women in their lives.
Although this has always been the common practice, a recent a Court of Appeal decision that a party sued for alimony must pay up when ordered to do so has further reinforced it.
The decision was issued in a case in which a woman sued her husband seeking Sh200,000 monthly for maintenance, Sh150,000 for medical expenses and a one-off payment of Sh500,000 for furniture.
Although the man in this case protested against paying these monies as ordered by High Court judge William Musyoka in 2015, appellate judges Roselyne Nambuye, Patrick Kiage and Sankale Ole Kantai ruled that those amounts were neither ridiculous nor outrageous.
While dismissing his pleas regarding the award, the appellate court, in fact, faulted him for failing to file case documents indicating his worth.
The judges upheld the lower court’s decision, saying that evidence placed before court guided the trial judge to reach that decision in respect to maintenance.
“The said awards were not exorbitant and the appellant is not entitled to challenge the same, having not filed an affidavit of means as he was required to do in law. In the circumstances, we find no merit in this appeal (and dismiss it) with costs,” the judges said.
The estranged couple had in separate suits asked the court to dissolve their marriage. Their names cannot be disclosed so as to protect the identity of their children.
At the High Court, the Justice Musyoka found the wife guilty of desertion and that her conduct had caused untold mental suffering and anguish to her husband. He also ruled that she was cruel to him.
The woman had asked the court for Sh340,000 per month as upkeep, Sh1 million for furniture and monies for medical expenses.
She told court that she had been forced to vacate their jointly owned matrimonial home in Karen valued at Sh50 million owing to cruelty meted upon her by her husband.
As a retired teacher, she argued that she had no source of livelihood, had survived an accident in which she sustained injuries yet her husband had not contributed towards her treatment and that he lived alone in their residence.
She disclosed to the court that the man earned a monthly salary of Sh800,000 being a director of a company as well as a major shareholder.
She further told the court that her estranged husband had no financial responsibilities considering that their four children are all adults.
But the man told court that his wife left their home of her own volition in February 2008 and that she had abandoned their son who was then a minor.
He denied not supporting her when she was involved in an accident and accused her of having carried away valuables from their matrimonial house when she left.
The High Court temporarily ordered that the woman be awarded Sh200,000 as monthly upkeep to cover for her food, clothing, rent, fuel, labour security, entertainment and laundry.
The High Court also asked the man to pay her Sh150,000 per year for medical expenses and Sh500,000 as a one-off payment for furniture for her residence.
But the man faulted the decision and moved to the higher court, arguing that the amount awarded for maintenance was excessively high yet it was not backed by evidence.
He also argued that the award for purchase of furniture was exorbitant and highly exaggerated because she had carted away furniture from their matrimonial home.
He said that the award was punitive to him as it was way above what he could afford.
But the appellate court judges dismissed his pleas.
However, the High Court set aside the order on the monies sought when the matter was finally determined, sparing him from further costs.
The import of the June 21 appellate court’s decision, however, is that men will have to pay dearly in an upkeep row that ends up in court.