Divorce on the rise as more Kenyans seek legal way 

Divorce

More Kenyans sought divorce from their partners in the past year, with 5,694 people filing cases in court compared to 4,740 the previous season, according to the Judiciary.

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More Kenyans sought divorce from their partners in the past year, with 5,694 people filing cases in court compared to 4,740 the previous season, according to the Judiciary.

Data released by the Judiciary through the State of the Judiciary Annual Report (SOJAR) indicate that in the last financial year ending June 2022, 3,784 divorce cases were filed at the magistrate courts across the country while 1,820 were filed at the Kadhi courts. 

Analysis of the comparative data shows there was an increase in divorce cases in the previous year, ending June 2021 – 3,082 filed at the magistrate courts and 1,654 at the Kadhi courts. 

The data indicate that in the year ending June 2022, Nairobi had the highest number of spouses who sought to separate from their partners. Some 1,494 divorce cases were filed at the Milimani Chief Magistrate courts, an increase from 1,202 filed the previous year.

 Also at the top of the list was Nakuru, with 154 cases last financial year, followed by Eldoret with 145 cases, Ruiru (138), Kisumu (89), Thika (79), Mombasa (76), Kikuyu (60), Ngong (54), Kitale (52), Machakos (48), Nyeri (43), Mavoko (40), Kapsabet (39), and Meru 36.

At the Kadhi courts, Mombasa had the highest number of divorce cases followed by Nairobi, Garissa, Wajir, and Daadab. 

The data indicate that 346 divorce cases were filed at the Kadhi court in Mombasa against 369 marriages in the year ending June 2022.

There were 216 divorce cases filed at the Kadhi court in Nairobi against 327 registrations of marriage while in Garissa there were 208 divorce cases against 90 marriage registrations. 

In Dadaab, 88 people went to the Kadhis court seeking to divorce their spouses while 52 lovers sought to register their marriages while in Kakuma there were 86 divorce cases against 277 marriages. 

In Wajir there were 148 divorce cases against 52 marriages while Ijara had 49 divorces against 52 marriages.

The Nakuru Kadhi court had 10 divorce cases against the registration of 41 marriages while Kisumu had 20 divorce cases against 19 marriages. 

The data further indicate that Mandera had 58 divorce cases against 36 marriages, Kwale 16 divorce cases against 225 marriages, Lamu 26 divorce cases against 106 marriages, Malindi two divorce cases against 33 marriages, while in Mariakani there were 15 divorce cases against 118 marriages.

Among the main reasons cited by spouses seeking divorces are abuse and cruelty, violence, infidelity, lack of maintenance, desertion, change of religion, lack of conjugal rights, infertility, drug and substance abuse, and unjustified polygamy. 

The jurisdiction of the Kadhi courts is limited to the determination of questions of Muslim law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce, or inheritance.

The report further indicates that in the year ending June 2022 a total of 245,199 criminal cases and 91,748 civil cases were filed at the magistrates' courts across the country, totalling 336,947 cases cumulatively.

Sexual offences had the lion's share in the criminal category as there were 169,470 cases followed by traffic offenders with 60,423 cases and 8,657 death inquests. 

There were 5,904 criminal and 5,990 civil cases involving children.

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