How To divorce in Uganda



Divorce in Uganda is allowed and it takes place through a court process. In the recent past, divorce cases in Uganda have risen significantly, forcing the government to enact a law that would cater for any eventualities after divorce.

There are several reasons why divorce can be granted in Uganda, they include:

  1. If one of the spouses commits adultery.
  2. Conduct that is unreasonable (rape, bestiality, habitual drunkard, sodomy, murderer, incarcerated (in prison), attempted murder of a spouse, intent to or actual commission of serious bodily injury, inability to take care of spouse).
  3. Abandonment ( must be at least one year prior to the filing of the divorce petition).
  4. Separation .the couple has separated for more than 3 years.
  5. Failure to comply with a court order regarding marriage or the sexual rights or privilege of a marriage.
  6. Death/Reason to Believe Spouse is Dead.
  7. When one of the spouses deny another conjugal rights

The following is the act that stipulates how the divorce process should be conducted in Uganda

An Act relating to marriage and divorce of Mohammedans.

  1. Marriage Act and Marriage of Africans Act not to apply in certain cases.

The Marriage Act and the Marriage of Africans Act shall cease to apply to the celebration of marriages between persons both of whom profess the Mohammedan religion, and neither of whom is a party to an existing marriage, under or declared valid by those Acts, with any person other than a Mohammedan.

  1. Mohammedan marriages and divorces.

All marriages between persons professing the Mohammedan religion, and all divorces from such marriages celebrated or given according to the rites and observances of the Mohammedan religion customary and usual among the tribe or sect in which the marriage or divorce takes place, shall be valid and registered as provided in this Act.

  1. Minister may appoint registrars.

The Minister may by statutory order appoint any person, hereafter called a registrar, to register Mohammedan marriages and divorces which have been effected within certain specified limits; and the registrar may appoint persons to be deputy registrars within those limits, and hereafter “registrar” shall include a deputy registrar.

  1. Registrars to keep books.

Every registrar shall keep up the following register books, which shall be supplied to him or her by the Minister—

  • Book 1—register of marriages in the Form A in the Schedule to this Act; and
  • Book 2—register of divorces in the Form B in that Schedule.
  1. Marriages and divorces to be registered.
  • Application for registration shall be made within one month from the date of the marriage or divorce, before a registrar in the manner and by the persons following—
  • in the case of a marriage, by the husband, or in the event of his death before the expiration of one month from the date of the marriage, by the widow; but if either party whose duty it is to apply is a minor, the application shall be made by his or her lawful guardian, and if the widow be a purdah-nisheen the application shall be made by her personally or on her behalf by her duly authorised vakil;
  • in the case of a divorce—
  • other than of the kind known as Khula, by the man who effected the divorce; and
  • of the kind known as Khula, by the parties to the divorce jointly,

but if the woman is a purdah- nisheen the application may be made on her behalf by her duly authorised vakil.

(2) Nothing in this section shall prevent a woman or, if she is a purdah-nisheen, her authorised vakil, or her guardian applying for the registration of marriage or divorce if the man fails to apply, or a minor from so applying if his or her guardian fails to apply.

  1. Registrar to make inquiry.

On application being made to a registrar for registration under this Act, and upon the receipt by the registrar of such fee as the Minister may by statutory order direct, he or she shall satisfy himself or herself whether or not such marriage or divorce has been effected by or between the parties, and also as to the identity of the parties; and, further, in the case of a person appearing as a guardian or a vakil, as to the right of that person to appear.

  1. If satisfied, registrar shall register.

If the registrar is satisfied on the above points, and not otherwise, he or she shall make an entry of the marriage or divorce in the appropriate register.

  1. By whom registers must be signed.
  • The entries in the appropriate registers shall be signed by the

following persons—

  • in the case of a marriage, by the husband and wife or the guardians or vakil, as the case may be, and by two witnesses to the marriage;
  • in the case of a divorce—
  • other than of the kind known as Khula, by the man who has effected the divorce, the witness who identifies him and, if the man is of the Shiah Sect, by two witnesses to the divorce being effected; and
  • of the kind known as Khula, by the man and woman, or by her vakil if she is a purdah-nisheen, parties to the divorce, by the persons identifying the man and woman and if the man is of the Shiah Sect, by two witnesses to the divorce being effected.
  • All the entries in the registers shall be signed by the registrar.
  1. Free copies of entries to parties.

On completion of the registration of any marriage or divorce, the registrar shall deliver free of charge to each of the parties to the marriage or divorce an attested copy of the entry.

10.Record of refusals to register.

Every registrar refusing to register a marriage or divorce shall make an order of refusal, and record his or her reasons for the order in a book to be kept for that purpose.

  1. Appeals from refusals.

An appeal shall lie against an order made by a registrar under section 10 to the registrar of marriages of the district in which the registration was refused appointed under the Marriage Act, or to the registrar general of marriages so appointed (hereafter called the Registrar General), and the order made upon that appeal shall be final, and shall be communicated to the registrar who has refused to register, and who shall record it in the book mentioned in section 10, and in the event of his or her order being reversed or altered he or she shall comply with the terms of the order.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to—

  • render invalid, merely by reason of its not having been registered, any Mohammedan marriage or divorce which would otherwise be valid;
  • render valid, by reason of its having been registered, any such marriage or divorce which would otherwise be invalid;
  • authorise the attendance of any registrar at the celebration of a marriage except at the request of all the parties concerned;
  • affect the religion or religious rites of any persons in Uganda;
  • prevent any person who is unable to write from putting his or her mark instead of the signature required by this Act.

Nothing in the Divorce Act shall authorise the grant of any relief under that Act where the marriage of the parties has been declared valid under this Act; but nothing in this section shall prevent any competent court from granting relief under Mohammedan law; and the High Court and any court to which jurisdiction is specially given by the Minister by statutory instrument shall have jurisdiction for granting that relief.