1 What is “family law”?
Family law concerns marriage and divorce, custody and guardianship of children, and maintenance of wife and children.
2 What is the easiest way of dissolving a marriage?
The easiest way to dissolve a marriage is by mutual consent. This is known as “divorce by mutual consent”. Both parties must agree to dissolve the marriage, that is, to divorce.
3 How to go about getting a “divorce by mutual consent”?
Both husband and wife must see a lawyer.
The lawyer will prepare some documents, known as the petition for divorce by mutual consent, on your behalf.
Both parties must sign the documents confirming that they agree to have a divorce by mutual consent.
The petition for divorce has to be filed in the High Court. A date will be fixed by the High Court for the judge to hear the petition.
4 Must both husband and wife appear in Court on the day fixed for hearing?
Yes. Normally the judge want both husband and wife to be present in Court when the case comes up for hearing.
5 If your life partner does not agree to have a divorce, is there any other way of getting a divorce?
Yes. If your life partner does not agree to a divorce, you have to rely on a ground for divorce. A “ground for divorce” is the reason for applying for a divorce.
In law, the only ground of divorce is that your marriage has been irretrievably broken down. That is, your marriage is broken beyond repair. There is no more hope of patching up.
6 When is a marriage broken beyond repair?
You can have a divorce if your marriage is broken beyond repair. In law, we say the marriage is “irretrievably broken down”.
A marriage is broken beyond repair in the following circumstances:
- Both husband and wife have been separated from each other for 2 years or more. (2-year separation)
- Your life partner has left you without any valid reason. (Desertion)
- Your life partner has an affair with a third party. (Adultery)
- Your life partner has been treating you with cruelty, mentally and physically, and you cannot tolerate it any more. (Cruelty)
7 Is there any other way of terminating the marriage?
You may end your marriage by getting a court order, declaring that your marriage is null and void under certain circumstances. This is known as the “nullity of marriage”.
After having registered your marriage, both you and your life partner have never stayed together as husband and wife. That is, your marriage has not been consummated.
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