Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage by a court or other approved bodies, and it involves the dissolution of marital bonds between a couple. Only two countries in the world do not allow divorce: the Philippines and the Vatican City.
In this article, we are going to show you the divorce process in Ghana and what the law says about them.
The divorce law in Ghana is embedded in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1971 (Act 367). The petitioner of the divorce, that is, the person who starts the divorce proceedings, must prove that the marriage has broken down beyond any form of reconciliation.
The evidence may include any of the following:
- Adultery under Section 2 (1)(a) of Act 367. Adultery is proven only when there is at least a partial penetration.
- If it is more than six months after adultery and the couple still live together, it can’t be a reason for divorce.
- 2 years separation with consent under Section 2(1)(d) Act 367. The parties to the marriage must not have lived together for at least two years immediately preceding the petition’s presentation. The respondent must give consent of divorce, that is, the person against whom a petition is filed.
- Desertion under section 2(1)(c) Act 367. The respondent must have separated from the petitioner for at least 2 years with the intention of ending cohabitation without the consent of the other spouse.
- Unreasonable behaviour under section 2(1)(b) Act 367. The conduct complained of must be severe.
- The couple should not have lived as man and wife for five years under section 2(1)(e) Act 367.
Legal Divorce Process In Ghana
A divorce petition may be filed by either party to the marriage and presented to the High Court or Circuit Court, and the Registrar then serves the respondent a copy.
All divorce petitions presented at the court must have three copies. A divorce petition cannot be filed within two years of marriage; however, the court can allow a petition to be filed within two years of marriage on the grounds of substantial hardships.
The court considers the interest of any child and whether there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation. Two types of divorce are divorce by mutual consent and a contested divorce in which a petition is filed by just one party.
Divorce By Mutual Consent
Divorce by mutual consent usually takes 18 to 24 months. There is a joint filing of a petition by both parties to the marriage. Both parties appear before the court and record a statement.
The courts examine and re-examine the petition, statements, and other provided documents. The court then passes the first motion. A period of six months is given to the couple to rethink their divorce decision.
A filing of a second motion is passed, which must be done within 18 months of passing the first motion. The courts then give a decree of divorce, which legally terminates or dissolves the marriage contract.
A contested divorce is the most challenging type because it involves couples who cannot agree on one or more divorce-related issues.
Here a divorce petition is filed by one party to the marriage. The court then summons and seeks a response from the other spouse. In some cases, the court may suggest a reconciliation. The courts then examine witness’s statements and any other evidence available to them.
The court then counsels both parties, after which a decree of divorce is passed that legally dissolves or terminates the marriage contract. This usually takes three to five years.
Presented above are the divorce processes in Ghana.
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