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Kenya divorce rate soars but high legal fees keeps couples in check

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Denzel Musumba

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HomeNews News Kenya divorce rate soars but high legal fees keeps couples in check Share Bookmark Print Email Email this article to a friend Friend's Email Address Your Email Message Submit Cancel Rating Divorce cases in Kenya are on the rise. Photo/FILE Divorce cases in Kenya are on the rise. Photo/FILE By JOHN MAKENI Posted Friday, April 23 2010 at 16:57 The rate of divorce in Kenya is on the increase, and could be higher still were it not for the prohibitive legal costs. Even though there has been a marked increase in the number of divorce cases filed in court, many couples often resort to seeking legal advice and settling their divorce in private, away from court, due to the high legal costs. Related Stories * The long road to filing a divorce petition Legal sources indicate that the cost of filing a divorce case could range from a minimum of Sh200,000 to Sh500,000, and the case could drag on in court for years. Apart from the sky-high legal costs, couples with irreconcilable differences are often discouraged from the court process due to personal reasons, religious factors, family influence or even mutual agreement. A spot check by the Saturday Nation with several city law firms indicates that cases of couples willing to file divorce petitions is on the increase. However, high legal costs often see many such cases ending up in a separation by verbal agreement, or a cancellation of the divorce bid altogether. Latest statistics, however, point to a steady rise in the number of divorce cases. According to Mercy Njeru, the executive officer at Milimani Commercial Courts, a total of 152 divorce cases were filed at Milimani in 1991. By last year, the annual figure had more than doubled to a total of 386 cases.

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