THE LEGAL REALITY OF DIVORCES IN TANZANIA

Published by David Kassanga

Marriages as voluntary unions between two people are considered wonderful phenomenon in life, but these delightful acts also may or may not come with the appalling act of Divorce.

Divorce simply signifies that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or irrepealably whereas in Tanzania, it granted by the court and is governed and regulated under The Law of Marriage Act CAP 29 [RE: 2019].

This is done through filing a petition to a court with competent jurisdiction, usually the area where the Marriage was conducted. A person who files a petition must be a resident of Tanzania and it must have done in not less than two years of the marriage except in sufficient  exceptional situations.

A decree of divorce will be granted by the court upon satisfaction of any of the grounds as provided under Section 107(2) of The Law of Marriage Act;

·       Adultery

·       Sexual pervasion

·       Cruelty

·       Willful neglection

·       Desertion (at least 3 years)

·       Voluntary separation which has continued for three years

·       Imprisonment of the respondent for life or for not less than five years

·       Aggregated Mental illness of a spouse

·       Change of religion

After granting a decree of divorce, the next step is usually the division of matrimonial properties. and this is done under authorization of the court and not the decisions of the parties themselves as provided under Section 114(1) of The Law of Marriage Act No 5 of 2019.

Division of matrimonial properties is not always on a 50-50 basis as what is considered in such division is joint efforts in attaining the properties, but this does not always mean financial effort and contribution, in some cases it was held that a wife preparing breakfast for a husband in the morning before he is off to work is also a joint effort in attaining a matrimonial property.