Protecting cohabitees’ right to property within the cohabitation union in Kenya
Mundia, Sharon Michelle Mudende
As time goes by social trends arise. These social trends often affect the people of a nation thus they call for the development of laws. Cohabitation is a social trend defined as a union between a man and a woman who live together in a way resembling a marriage. This social trend calls for rights, duties and limitations of cohabiting partners to be defined. This dissertation speaks on protecting cohabitees’ right to property within the cohabitation union in Kenya. Case analogy, study of common law laws, analysis of reports, journal articles, books, internet sources and a comparative study are the methodologies of research applied to obtain relevant information for this research.
The Marriage Act (2014), which defines the term ‘cohabit’ is the only Kenyan statutory law that acknowledges the existence of cohabitation. In Section 2 of the aforementioned Act, the definition of cohabit is termed as ‘living in an arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage’. However, from reading through various legislations such as the Marriage Act (2014), Law of Succession Act (2015), Matrimonial Property Act (2013) and the Land Act (2012) it is clear that Kenyan laws do not expressly speak on the rights, duties and freedoms accorded to cohabiting partners. This poses a challenge as there is little doubt that cohabitation is a common choice among many couples yet there are no statutory laws to guide and protect these people.