Marriage and divorce

Marriage

Getting married in Kenya

In Kenya, marriage is governed by the Marriage Act, 2014 and is defined as the voluntary union of a man and a woman whether in a monogamous or polygamous union and registered in accordance with the Act.

Kinds of marriages

(1) A marriage may be registered under this Act if it is celebrated

  • in accordance with the rites of a Christian denomination;
  • as a civil marriage;
  • in accordance with the customary rites relating to any of the communities in Kenya;
  • in accordance with the Hindu rites and ceremonies; and
  • in accordance with Islamic law.

(2) A Christian, Hindu or civil marriage is monogamous.

(3) A marriage celebrated under customary law or Islamic law is presumed to be polygamous or potentially polygamous.

Legal age of marriage in Kenya

The legal age of marriage is 18 years.

Legal sanctions for under-age marriage

Any person who marries a person who is below the minimum age commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to both.

Other conditions for marriage

Different kinds of marriages have various requirements. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Marriage Act and to seek further information from the office of the Marriage Registrar closest to you. 

In Nairobi, kindly contact the office of the Attorney General on 254-2-2227461 / 2251355 / 0711 9445555 / 0732 529995.

In Kakuma, kindly contact:  the Kadhi or the Church leader. UNHCR and partners are available to provide guidance and contacts. See here for more information.

In Dadaab, kindly contact: the Kadhi or the Church leader. UNHCR and partners are available to provide guidance and contacts.

Documents required in order to marry

Different kinds of marriages have various requirements. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Marriage Act depending on the kind of marriage you plan to have.

Divorce

Getting divorced in Kenya

Divorce is governed by the Marriage Act, 2014 and is catered for under different sections of the Marriage Act. You may also also use the contacts provided above for further information.

Procedures for divorce

Dissolution of marriage varies according to the kind of marriage, whether Christian, civil, customary, Hindu or Islamic.

Procedures for custody

Matters concerning custody are governed by sections 81, 82 and 83 of the Children Act, 2001.


See also

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