You can walk out of marriage with no one stopping you

Women in Kiambu county are in support of the Court of Appeal which a fortnight ago declared unconstitutional section 66(I) of the Marriage Act that denies couples from filing for a divorce unless three years of their official union has elapsed.

In a ruling dated June 10, appellate judges Jessie Lessit, Gatembu Kairu and Pauline Nyamweya upheld nullification of the law section 66 (1) of the Marriage Act 2014 as unconstitutional for limiting the divorce period and tying the newlyweds in a civil marriage union.

Speaking to KNA in Kiambu, a divorcee mother of one Mary Iuyt said “It’s the best decision that the court has ever ruled, and there is no reason why a person should wait for three years to be granted a divorce”.

The said law, she noted was put there to make people especially women be treated like slaves since there was nothing they could do before 3 years of marriage elapsed.

“Although I am divorce now, I am happy for those who are undergoing pressure and abuse in their marriages and now they can be able to file for a divorce unlike some of us who were brought down, abused and lived like slaves in our own homes just because of the said clause,” she said.

Kerubo explained that not everyone wished to part ways with someone or a husband she has shared intimate moments with but when things turn out to be painful, it would be much better to let go least one finds themselves with injury or even died.

“It is always much better to let go of that person who is the cause of your daily pains. If your marriage is not working, let it go. It’s not a curse to move away,” she said.

According to Veronica Maina, a KAG church member in Kiambu town, although the church does not encourage or advise couples to divorce as the Malachi 2:16 of the Bible also condones divorce, sometimes it is good to walk away when things become difficult or if you have looked for other alternatives such as counseling to save a marriage but it doesn’t work out.

“The church usually looks for other alternatives that might help the married couple rebuild their marriage but when it does not totally work out, sometimes it is good for the church to also approve a separation,” Veronica said.

According to Joshua Njeru, a businessman in Kiambu, the decision might also be an attack on the marriage institution and it would encourage parties to walk in and out of the marriages anytime.

‘I have been married for over 25 years now and although I do not condone unhappiness and pain in marriage, this law will see couples just have little disagreements and they walk away from their marriages and that is not a good institution of marriage,” he said.

The Judges in their ruling had said that while section 66(1) of the Marriage Act of 2014 is not discriminatory, it is unconstitutional for reason of, and to the extent of its disproportionate effect in cases where a divorce in a civil law marriage may be necessary and justified before the three-year limitation.

During the ruling, the appellate judges, however suspended the effect of the declaration of unconstitutionality for a period of three years to enable Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the Act.

In Kenya, the Marriage Act recognizes four types of marriages: civil, traditional, Christian and Muslim. In Christian and traditional marriages, couples are normally encouraged and advised to seek mediation before thinking for divorce.



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