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Married abroad, you can divorce in Kenya

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Divorce cases can only be heard if local laws are consistent with those of the country where the marriage was celebrated. Marriages registered abroad can be dissolved by local courts, a judge has ruled.

But the couple must have been married for three years before the petition for separation or dissolution of their marriage. High Court Judge John Oyiengo, who is presiding over a case in which an American wants his marriage registered in New York dissolved, said the divorce cases can only be heard if local laws are consistent with those of the country where the marriage was celebrated.

The American couple got married on September 7, 2013 and settled in Kenya due to their work as photographers. The woman walked out of her matrimonial home in December 2013 and had not returned by April this year. She also failed to file any response to the husband’s claims. The court assumed jurisdiction of the case on the basis that the couple was living in Kenya and their marriage was in accordance with Section 40 of the Marriage Act that recognises a foreign marriage as a civil one. The court noted that the couple had been separated for more than three years, a prerequisite period before dissolution of any civil marriage. In dissolving the marriage, the judge said no amount of pressure could compensate for lost love and togetherness.
“Parties cannot be forced to stay together. Marriage is a voluntary union disintegration of which is within the couple’s powers. This is obviously a marriage that has collapsed and irretrievably broken down. Each party should be released from the vows by dissolving their marriage,” Justice Oyiengo said.

In May, Justice William Musyoka dissolved a marriage celebrated by a South Korean couple on May 9, 1994 on grounds of cruelty. According to the petition filed in court, the couple moved to Kenya after their wedding and were blessed with two sons. Dissolving the marriage, Justice Musyoka ruled that there was satisfactory evidence that the woman was cruel. It is on similar grounds that Lady Justice Mary Kassango in October last year dissolved the marriage of a couple celebrated in the Netherlands. Family lawyer John Swaka says once a judgment has been delivered, it is upon the parties to apply for a copy and have it registered in their country;By Everlyne Kwamboka(Via:Standard Media)

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