Chairperson of the Executive Council of LAWA-Ghana, Sheila Minkah-Premo says the Property Rights of Spouses Bill when passed would give spouses the right to come up with marital property agreements concerning the ownership and acquisition of property during a marriage.
She said such an agreement would eventually help avoid squabbles and struggles over property ownership and acquisition later on in the marriage.
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, Sheila Minkah-Premo said “it gives the parties the right to come up with what they call marital property agreements. So at the onset of the marriage, the parties themselves can sign – ‘hey this is my property, this is yours, when any property is acquired in the course of marriage unless you contribute …’ you know all those things can be put in there. So it gives the parties themselves their own rules to guide property acquisition so that it doesn’t become a thorny point in the marriage.”
Her comments come on the back of the presentation of the Property Rights of Spouses bill to parliament.
This bill is to regulate the property rights of spouses in accordance with article 22 of the Constitution, particularly clauses (2) and (3).
Article 22 (3) requires spouses to have equal access to property jointly acquired during marriage and for matrimonial property to be equitably distributed between the spouses upon termination of the marriage.
The Property Rights of Spouses Bill will seek to ensure that once a property is acquired during a marriage, there’s a presumption – unless a contrary express view is expressed – that the property belongs to husband and wife and, therefore, one of them cannot sell the property, exchange it, mortgage it, lease it, transfer it, or try to use it to enter into any contract, etc. without the written consent of the other spouse.
Speaking on the issue, Women Rights Advocate and Lawyer, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye said the Bill was something to celebrate.
“It’s a landmark thing,” she said.
She added that the bill is a progressive addition to Ghana’s constitution which will make property acquisition within marriages easier.
She also stressed that when the bill is applied alongside Ghana’s Property Laws, it would come in handy in polygamous situations.
“We cannot be unmindful of the fact that where polygamous marriages are concerned, it is going to be a problem unless you read this particular provision alongside with the hopefully soon to be passed Property Rights of Spouses bill, otherwise it’s standing alone might cause a lot of problems.”