Man wants breakup disputes heard as one

Wedding rings on a divorce form. [Getty Images]

A man has moved to the High Court seeking to have cases emanating from marriage breakups heard and settled as one.

Currently, when relationships hits the rocks, partners have several options. One can sue the other party seeking a divorce and if there are children, a custody and maintenance case can follow.

The other option is to seek a division of the matrimonial property.

However, Kimathi M’Ikiao wants the High Court to order that disputes from marriage collapse should be heard as one.

According to him, the splitting of cases is expensive to both parties as each attracts legal fees. Different lawyers may handle separate disputes.

At the same time, he argues that they all tend to drag the emotions along even when one wants to move on. M’Ikiao states that, for example, if one goes through a divorce, they will have to stomach a grueling process when fighting for a right to raise a child or keep matrimonial property.

“The impugned practice and or requirement places an undue burden on the petitioner and other individuals, dealing with breakdown of their marriages in terms of resources such as time and finances given that the protracted legal tussle which inevitably causes untold mental anguish to otherwise upstanding and well-meaning citizens,” he says.

“A logical examination of this phenomenon, created by and or arising from interpretation and or implementation of the existing legal framework, leads one to the undeniable conclusion that there is an unfavourable and unnecessary duplication of suits,” he says.

He is of the view that the current practice makes judicial process susceptible to abuse. “Consequently, most litigants dealing with a breakdown of their marriage suffer a protracted legal tussle  before different courts over the same underlying subject matter.”

M’Ikiao has named as respondents the Attorney General, Chief Justice and Speaker of the National Assembly.

The man is seeking an order directing Parliament and AG to ensure that the current Matrimonial Properties Act, Children Act and Dissolution of Marriage Act are harmonised.

In the meantime, he has sought an order directed to the Chief Justice to issue practice directions of amalgamating divorce, children and matrimonial properties division cases.

“The faster the process of dissolution of the marriage and other incidental matters is, the better it is for children,” he argues.