Parties to a marriage wishing to apply for a Divorce Order must satisfy the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This ground is established only if the parties have separated for a continuous period of not less than twelve months immediately preceding the filing of the Application for Divorce. Separation occurs when the matrimonial relationship is broken down and usually occurs when one of the parties to a marriage moves out of the former matrimonial home. It can however occur when the parties are living under the same roof.
An Application for Divorce is filed in the Federal Magistrates’ Court and must be accompanied by a copy of the Marriage Certificate and the relevant filing fee. When an Application for Divorce is filed, it is listed for a Hearing approximately six to eight weeks after the date of filing. The other party to the marriage must be served with a sealed copy of the Divorce Application. The Applicant must attend the Hearing if there are children of the marriage under the age of 18 years (unless it is an Application made jointly by the Husband and the Wife) so that the Court can assess proper arrangements have been made for the children.
The Divorce takes effect one month after the Divorce Hearing provided that all relevant criteria has been met and the parties are then free to remarry.
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