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LEGAL AID: I want to divorce my abusive wife

Wednesday October 2 2019

All our children are over 18 years old. The marriage has been abusive. We don't together anymore. Lastly, my clothes were thrown out and I was threatened. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

All our children are over 18 years old. The marriage has been abusive. We don't together anymore. Lastly, my clothes were thrown out and I was threatened. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MUKOYA
By ERIC MUKOYA
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Hi Eric,

I need advice on filing a divorce case. We have been married since 1991 and did a church wedding in 1998. All our children are over 18 years old. The marriage has been abusive. We don't together anymore. Lastly, my clothes were thrown out and I was threatened. There are many more things I have endured in this marriage.

 

Dear Reader,

To be thrown out after 28 years of marriage is a painful experience. Divorce, just like marriage, will come with lows and highs.

Nonetheless, you are brave to face the reality of the situation you and your wife are in. There are many of us out here with similar predicament who can't muster the courage to speak up. In order to dissolve a Christian marriage and any other, the law has made certain provisions that are chronological.

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First, the Marriage Act 2014, section 64, enables couples to exploit necessary reconciliation avenues before proceeding to court to seek dissolution.

This would be preferable in the jurisdiction where the marriage was officiated, like the church where your wedding was celebrated.

Should this approach fail, then a petition of divorce for dissolution of marriage can be sought on the grounds that, the marriage has irretrievably broken down and efforts at reconciliation have been futile. 

In seeking the dissolution, the petitioner in this case, you, will be guided by section 65 of the Marriage Act, to move the court on the following grounds that contextualise the irretrievability of the marriage: (i) One or more acts of adultery committed by the respondent (ii) cruelty, whether mental or physical; (iii) desertion by either party for at least three years; (iv) and, exceptional depravity. 

Given your marriage history, we would advise you premise your marriage dissolution petition on cruelty, though separation (desertion) could also be a supporting ground if it applies (you didn't indicate the length of time you have been living away from each other).

A family lawyer, who is a practising advocate of the High Court of Kenya, should be able to take you through the journey to your desired end.

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Do you have a legal problem you would like addressed by a lawyer? Please email your queries to [email protected]  

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