The High Court has allowed a woman from Uasin Gishu County to end her 24-year marriage on grounds that her husband was cruel and lazy. She was allowed to exit the marriage after convincing High Court judge Eric Ogola that the man she married when their love blossomed had claimed to have received a calling from God and stopped working.
Identified as EJL, the woman sought divorce from her husband BKK in a petition filed in court in May 2008. A year later, the court served BKK with the petition and a hearing notice, which he declined to sign.
EJL told court she was married in December 1997 at a church in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, and suffered cruelty from her husband for more than 10 years after the marriage.
“The petitioner avers that after their marriage, the respondent began to be cruel over 10 years. He refused to work and claimed he had been called by God. He sold land belonging to the petitioner by force, claiming that it was bearing his name and not hers,” Justice Ogola said.
The woman also claimed that when she was sick and had to undergo an operation in 2006, her husband was not present to sign for consent for the operation and did not pay her hospital bills.
She further stated that she had been forced to leave her matrimonial home in March 2008 as she could not bear the cruelty anymore.
After leaving, her husband sold every valuable asset they owned and continued to ‘nag and abuse her.’
BKK neither opposed the petition by filing a response nor attended court sessions during the hearing of the case. “The petition was heard in November 2021 in the absence of the respondent. The petitioner gave evidence restating the contents of the petition, praying for divorce. The marriage has no children and they do not have any property,” said Justice Ogola.
He allowed the request for divorce and dissolved the marriage, saying the case presented in court met at least one requirement for granting a divorce.
“The petitioner herein relies on the grounds of cruelty. It is sufficient to establish just one of the ingredients for divorce, as there is no requirement that all four must be established. The respondent has not controverted the allegations of cruelty. The standard of proof is on a balance of probability and I find that the same has been satisfied,” stated Justice Ogola.