Couples married through the civil process do not have to wait three years to divorce, the court has ruled.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi found section 66 (1) of the Marriage Act that required couples to wait three years before filing for divorce unconstitutional.

The judge stated that marriage involved willing partners, thus, either partner ought to be free to leave the marriage when they no longer found it suitable.

“Corollary to the above is the fact that by imposing the three-year limitation, the impugned Section had the effect of forcefully keeping parties in a situation they no longer wished to be part of,” read part of his statement.

divorce
Source: My Jewish Learning

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He went further to fault the requirement that detained people in failed marriages for three years.

This ruling was  a win for lawyer Tukero ole Kina, who had filed the case. He pointed out that couples who were not married through the civil process, like in traditional or religious unions, were exempt from this rule. He termed forcing couples who were no longer together to stay in marriage as slavery.

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