Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

Quartson v Quartson Supreme Court (2012)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Gender discrimination, Property and inheritance rights

This divorce case involved a couple that was married for 25 years. The petitioner-wife filed for divorce due to unreasonable behavior and adultery. She requested custody of their minor child, property rights as the court deemed fit, and that the respondent-husband vacate the marital home, pay a dissolution settlement, and cover court costs. The respondent, who was the family’s primary source of financial support, funded the construction of the parties’ marital home. Despite her inability to contribute financially, the wife oversaw construction of the home and took care of the couple’s children while the husband was away for years, both for work and in prison. The Supreme Court determined that, despite her failure to contribute financially to the parties’ acquisition of the marital home, the wife’s in-kind contributions to the family entitled her to a share of the marital home. Specifically, the court held that “principles of general fundamental human rights require that a person who is married to another and generally supervises the home, such that the other partner has a free hand to engage in economic activities, must not be discriminated against in the distribution of properties acquired during the marriage when the marriage is dissolved.”