What To Do If Handed Divorce Papers? A Step-by-Step Guide

1.Stay Calm and Composed

Focus on constructive communication and avoid confrontations.

2.Support Your Children

Reassure your children and maintain their routine to provide stability.

3.Financial Considerations

1.Assess Your Finances

Review your financial situation, including assets, debts, and expenses.

2.Plan for the Future

Start planning for post-divorce financial adjustments.

FAQs About Divorce for Parents

How should I tell my children about the divorce?

Telling your children about the divorce is a delicate matter that requires sensitivity and care. Here are some guidelines to help you through this conversation:

How to tell my children about the divorce

1.Choose the Right Time

Find a moment when your children are most likely to be calm and able to listen.

2. Plan the Discussion

If possible, both parents should be present to show unity and support.

3. Be Honest but Age-Appropriate

Explain the situation in a way that your children can understand, without overwhelming them with adult issues.

4. Reassure Them of Your Love

Make it clear that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents will continue to love and support them.

5. Keep Communication Open

Allow your children to ask questions and express their feelings.

Remember, every child is different, and their understanding and reaction to the divorce will vary based on their age, personality, and family dynamics.

It’s important to be patient and provide ongoing support as they process the change.

Can I refuse to sign the divorce papers?

Refusing to sign divorce papers can delay the process but it doesn’t prevent a divorce from happening.

If one party refuses to sign, the other can still proceed with the divorce by filing a motion with the court.

Eventually, the court may grant the divorce in the absence of a signature, often referred to as a “default divorce.”

It’s important to consult with a legal professional to understand the implications of not signing and to explore your options based on your circumstances.

How is child custody determined?

Child custody in Kenya is determined with the child’s best interests as the paramount consideration. The court takes into account various factors, including:

1.Age and wishes of the child

The court considers the child’s age and, where possible, their wishes.

2.Wishes of the parents

Parents’ preferences are taken into account.

3.Fitness of the parents

The court assesses each parent’s ability to care for the child.

4.Needs of siblings

The impact on the child’s siblings is also a factor.

5.Types of custody arrangements

These can include joint custody, sole custody with access, or sole custody.

Anyone with a legitimate interest in the welfare of the child, such as a guardian or parent, can apply for custody. The court may grant primary physical custody to the mother, especially for young children, unless it is shown that the mother is unfit¹.

For a more detailed understanding, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional or refer to resources like Koya & Company’s guide on child custody in Kenya.

Will I have to go to court?

Going to court is a necessary part of the divorce process. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:

1. Filing of the Petition

You or your lawyer will draft and file the Petition for divorce along with all necessary documents¹.

2. Notice to Appear

A formal notice is issued to the other spouse, who will have 15 days to respond¹.

3. Registrar’s Certificate

After the response period, a certificate is issued to confirm the case is ready for hearing.

4. Hearing

Evidence is presented to show the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

5. Judgment/Initial Decree

If the court finds sufficient grounds, an initial decree is issued.

6. Final Decree

After a waiting period, the final decree is granted, finalizing the divorce.

Even if the divorce is uncontested, you will still need to present your case in court.

It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional for guidance through this process.


Facing divorce is never easy, but taking informed steps can help you navigate the process more smoothly.

Remember to prioritize your well-being and that of your children.

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