If the newly proposed marriage bill by Suna West MP Francis Masara is passed, couples seeking to end their marriages may soon go through a quicker and less expensive process.
The National Assembly received a proposal to change the marriage laws to make it simpler for estranged couples to split by consent to avoid contentious and drawn-out divorce proceedings. The bill aims to provide couples with an amicable way to settle their differences without having to endure long court processes.
Couples who decide to divorce would have the option of a more expedited divorce procedure under the terms of the proposed marriage Bill. The proposal states that couples can petition a court for a decree of divorce by mutual consent if; the marriage has irretrievably broken down, if the couple has undergone mutual separation for at least one year, and if the parties have agreed to mutually dissolve the marriage.
The bill further clarifies that the divorce will only be granted if both parties present the petition and if they have had a total separation period of more than a year. The Suna West MP contends that in Kenya, divorce has always been and still is based on fault, which means that one can only obtain a divorce after establishing their spouse’s marital misconduct.
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The MP emphasizes that in the current law on marriage, couples are forced to remain bound in unhappy marriages for extended periods of time, which is detrimental to their well-being hence the need for the new bill to be passed.