The law regulating divorce and other causes between a couple that got married under the Marriage Act is known as the Matrimonial Causes Act (MCA). It is only relevant to marriages conducted as a court or church marriages.
The only reason recognized under MCA is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. There are however some facts recognized by law by which a marriage can be said to have broken down irretrievably.
1. The respondent has willfully and persistently refused to consummate the marriage
2. Since the marriage the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent
3. The respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot be reasonably expected to live with the Respondent
• Committed rape, sodomy, or bestiality
• Been a habitual drunkard in the immediate two years preceding the petition
• Within the immediately preceding two years been intoxicated by use of sedatives, narcotic or stimulating preparations
• The respondent has been in prison for at least three years of the five years immediately preceding
• The respondent has habitually left the petitioner without any means of support
• Has been in prison for a death sentence or sentence that exceeds five years
• Has been in confinement for not being of a sound mind
4. The respondent has deserted the petitioner for a period of at least one year
5. The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of two years before the presentation of the petition and the Respondent does not object to the dissolution of the marriage
6. The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of three years before the presentation of the petition
7. That the other party has failed for a period of not less than a year to comply with a decree of restitution of conjugal rights made under MCA
8. That the other party has been absent from the petitioner for such a time and in such circumstances as to make the petitioner believe that he/she is no longer alive.
• If the absent party has been away for seven years in such circumstances, the Evidence Act presumes him dead.
There is a general statement of the law, and people’s circumstances will always determine what procedure to follow in a divorce. For E.g Physical co-habitation will not defeat a divorce petition based on the fact of desertion but will on the fact of living apart.
It is important to note that before a couple who have been married for less than two years can apply to the court for a dissolution of their marriage, they must first seek leave(permission) of the court to bring such a petition.
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