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Kenya’s government is considering changes to its family law to reduce the number of divorces in the country.
Key points:Kenya’s new Family Law Reform Bill would allow a divorce to be filed in the absence of a spouse, parent or guardianIn a joint petition, the parents and the children would have the right to ask for a divorceThe new law would apply to the entire country, including the capital, NairobiIf passed, it would allow divorces to be registered in the case of a parent or spouse, parents or guardians of a child and children.
But the bill does not address the issue of same-sex couples.
Currently, there is no provision in the law allowing same-gender couples to apply for a “divorce”.
It is not clear whether the bill will be voted on by the parliament this week.
According to a study by Kenya’s Human Rights Commission, more than 20,000 same-gendered couples in Kenya filed for divorce last year.
A recent report by the Human Rights Committee of Kenya found that “in cases where the spouses or parents were the ones to file for divorce, the chances of a final outcome were not higher than in cases where there was no one involved”.
The committee also found that, “in some cases, a divorce is granted, but in most cases, the spouse or parents remain responsible for the children”.
According to the report, same-female-to-male couples were most likely to file a divorce in rural areas.
The committee said that in the capital Nairobes, the divorce rate was almost 40% compared with just 14% for the rest of the country’s rural areas, where it was 20%.
A study by the Kenya Women’s Foundation found that in rural Kenya, more women than men filed for divorces.