What is Divorce
Divorce is defined as dissolution of a marriage by a court of law.it entails a change of status from married to non-marital signifying that one is now separated from their spouse. When one seeks to obtain a divorce order from court there are certain grounds for divorce that should be present in order for a divorce order to be given.
Grounds for divorce
Grounds for divorce refers to a basis upon which a divorce order can be granted. Grounds for divorce are found under Section 4 of the Matrimonial Causes Act [chapter 5.13], (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and these are the following,
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and,
- Incurable mental illness or continuous unconsciousness
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
Section 5 of the Act lays down the scenarios that the court considers in determining whether a marriage has irretrievably broken down or not. It states that the marriage relationship between the parties, must have broken down to such an extent that there is no reasonable prospect of restoration of a normal marriage relationship such as that
- Parties have not lived together as husband and wife for at least 12 months immediately before the date of commencement of the divorce action.
- A party has committed adultery and this is incompatible with the continuation of a normal marriage relationship
- One part has been
- sentenced to prison for period of 15 years
- Has been declared a habitual criminal.
- sentenced to extended imprisonment and in accordance with this has been detained for a continuous period or interrupted periods of at least 5yrs within, 10yrs immediately before the date of commencement of the divorce
- a. A spouse has treated the other with such cruelty,
mental or otherwise
b. A spouse has subjected themselves to intoxicating liquor or drugs to such an extent that a continuation of a normal marriage relationship cannot be sustained.
The above are not the only factors to be considered, the court may consider any other factor that may show that a marriage has irretrievably broken down. This article shall address of the grounds
Mental illness as a ground for divorce
In the case of mental illness as a ground for divorce, either one of the following must be present
- A party has been under care or treatment for a continuous or interrupted period amounting to 5yrs within 10yrs immediately before the Commencement of the divorce.
- Party has been in a state of unconsciousness for a period of at least 6 months before the date of the commencement of the divorce.
It is important to note when alleging mental illness as a ground for divorce, there must be evidence given by at least three medical practitioners two of which must have been appointed by the courts proving that indeed the person has been mentally ill for the period required by the court.
Further, a person shall be deemed to be under care or treatment for mental illness if
- There is an order or warrant issued under Zimbabwean law or any other court for such care and treatment or
- If he or she is receiving treatment voluntarily.
- In conclusion, when one is faced with a situation where he or she has to divorce someone, one has to know that he/she have to prove to court that the marriage has Irretrievably broken down or that the spouse to be divorced has an Incurable mental illness or has been continuously unconscious.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.