Judge's ruling makes divorcing easier in Kenya

Changing the rules of the game

Judge's ruling makes divorcing easier in Kenya

A judge has ruled that couple married in civil court can divorce at any time, instead of the three-year limitation rule that was there before.

Initially, the law stated that couples in civil unions could only file for divorce after three years in the union.

During his ruling, Justice Reuben Nyakundi stated that marriage is a union of willing partners, therefore they should be at liberty to leave any time.

He declared section 66 (1) of the Marriage Act that barred such couples from divorcing within the three years unconstitutional.

Justice Nyakundi maintained it was offensive for the law to confine people in unions for three years if they were suffering and wanted out.

Parliament blamed

The judge opined that is Parliament had carried out public participation before passing the law it would have been thrown out.

He also noted that although the section was meant to protect marriages by restricting parties from moving in and out there was no proof why MPs chose three years and not more or less.

Before the Wednesday ruling, Civil marriages could only be dissolved three years after the celebration of marriage.

The circumstances for divorce in civil marriages include infidelity, cruelty, desertion by a spouse for at least three years, and exceptional wickedness by one spouse. 

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