Mr. and Mrs. Smith will soon be no more, summer is over and winter is here. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are going to divorce after the latter filed divorced papers after two years of a Hollywood romance.
Divorce is a human construct and it is to humans what winding up is to the corporate world.
In the modern world many marriages are becoming short, nasty and brutish and divorce is the end of the tunnel only that there is no light.
However, divorce is and should be the last option and not the primary solution to a bad relationship.
Now in the next months, Mr. and Mrs. Smith will spend millions in legal fees and settlement yet they could have taken a break, gone to a corner and thought about their lives.
Yes you can take a break; a legal break.
How do you know you need a break?
There are several reasons for one to warrant a break including; If you come home and dinner is not ready, if he didn’t take the trash out, if she spends money on her hair instead of buying groceries, if he forgets your anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s day and any other day you think is important and last but not least if she wants to watch the Mexicans but you want to watch 22 men chasing one inflated leather ball for 90 minutes.
In Kenya, you can now make an application in Court and take a break from your spouse for one year. Section 14 of the Marriage Act, 2014 allows , Parties to civil marriages to make an agreement to live apart. This agreement must be filed in court.
In the agreement, the parties can agree to live apart for one year and at the end of the same they can apply to court to determine status of the union.
So instead of breaking up, you can take a break and with that you will be able to save time, money, and love, possibly
These are the reasons why you should not divorce your Spouse, at least yet.
The divorce process is usually time consuming. Some take several years and that depends on the circumstances.
An application to take a break is a quick fix and the next time you would be between those brown walls of justice is after the expiry of the one year statutory break .
That means throughout the year you do not need to request for off-days or lie to your employer so that you can spend hours and hours in court.
You will also have enough time to sit at that famous corner and think about your life.
Now, if you get pissed at each other and you don’t have money for divorce then just make an agreement to take a break for a year.
I mean, you will end up saving a lot for that whole year and maybe your balance sheet may finally balance.
The divorce process is not only time consuming, it is also very expressive and that is why it is mainly the rich and middle class population that fill the corridors of justice with desertion, adultery and irreconcilable differences chants and slogans.
So while you run to court your lawyer will be running to the bank. The poor choose the cheaper options as opposed to divorcing and that is wise of them.
So, kindly, before you think of filing those divorce papers take a look at your bank statements and you may find it is cheaper to file the ‘I need a break’ papers instead of breaking up.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
I would presume the drafters of Section 14 had a good reason in including the ‘I need a break’ provision in the Marriage Act.
The basis of that reasoning is that couples may make decisions in the heat of the moment. Anger is like the Great Wall of China; and we even have anger management lessons being taught in Universities. So why not give them a cooling period? A sober period?
So during the break the couple may decide to evaluate their lives, rekindle their love and restructure their relationship.
The family may intervene, pastors may pray their prayers and the couple may even visit a counsellor or the chief.as it is more popular in the country side.
Many things can happen during that one year break such as the man learning how to cook anything to save their lives and the woman learning how to change a car wheel but one may also learn that taking a break is better than breaking up. So let me take a break.
BY FELIX OMBURA
This article appears in our newsletter, The Deuteronomy Vol 6, Issue 4 of September 23rd, 2016
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