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Planning a divorce in Cameroon? Address three crucial issues”

At some point in a marriage, you or your partner may decide that you no longer wish to remain married and would love to get a divorce.

Divorces can be lengthy and arduous for both parties, but the time your divorce takes will depend on whether you agree or disagree on the divorce terms. It will be a lot easier if you decide to get a divorce; this will make the process less long and will release both parties of the pain of sitting in court for hours, getting over the story of why you both decided to get a divorce. In this case, if you both choose to hire the same solicitor to handle your divorce, meeting the Requirements to get a divorce in Cameroon, an out-of-court consent agreement by both parties will make the process less burdensome.

If you plan on getting a divorce in Cameroon, you must consider three main issues.

    • The reason for the divorce

    • Whether there are children in the marriage and how you will split the children between both parties

    • Whether there is any property, money, or possession that both parties acquired and how this will be shared.

    Divorce in Cameroon

    If you plan on getting a divorce in Cameroon, you must have a reason for the divorce. This will require you to provide grounds and facts to support your divorce. In Anglophone Cameroon, the court will only grant a divorce if the marriage has ‘broken down irretrievably’ such that both parties are reasonably unexpected to live together. You must prove by reasons that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. This will require you to provide facts and sometimes evidence that the marriage has broken down. The only grounds for which a marriage may break down irretrievably are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, living separately for more than two years with an agreement of divorce from both parties and living apart for more than five years.

    A) Grounds for divorce in  Cameroon

    1. Adultery

    You can apply for a divorce because a party to the marriage has committed adultery. A party to the marriage can only apply for a divorce under this ground where the following conditions are met

    a) a party to the marriage can only apply to the husband or wife must have had sex with someone else other than the one they got married to,

    b) You no longer wish to be with the person because of the adultery

    c) You decide not to live together within six months from the date of adultery or the day you find out that your partner is committing adultery.

    d) Desertion

    Adultery is quite hard to prove. Therefore, any party relying on this as a ground for divorce must furnish the court with evidence, especially very practical proof of adultery. The burden of proving that a partner in a marriage is adulterous is quite heavy under the law; therefore, a party relying on this will have to furnish more than hearsay evidence.

    2. Unreasonable behaviour

    If your husband or wife has behaved in such a manner that you can not reasonably expect to live with the person, you can file for a divorce under this ground. The stress is placed on the word you can not ‘reasonably’ be expected to live with your spouse. The judge has to decide whether a husband or wife has behaved so unreasonably that one party can not be expected to live with that partner. Usually, a trivial reason for divorce will not suffice under this head. The courts are interested in preserving the institution of marriage and will not be quick to grant a divorce under this ground. Therefore, a party relying on this ground must provide concrete behavior reasons such as violence and a constant pattern of behavior. In most cases, violence, failure to provide the necessary attention needed, verbally abusive, or a combination of behavior issues.

    3. Living apart for two years with consent from both parties

    Where a husband or a wife have been living apart for more than two years and are both willing to get a divorce, they can apply under this ground. This ground also requires that both parties consent to the divorce. You can still rely on this ground even if you have lived with your partner for six months which falls within two years.

    4. Desertion

    You can apply for a divorce because your husband or wife has left you. Under this ground, you must prove that your partner left you and not you are living with your partner. If your partner provided a home for you in another country and required you to join him and you did not, then it will be difficult for you to rely on him. The desertion must also be without your consent, with no substantial or good reason, for more than two years, and it must be in the last two, and a half years from the date you apply for the divorce. You will also have to prove that your partner left you with the intention of deserting you, that is, the partner intended to end the relationship.

    5. Living apart for more than five years

    A husband or wife can rely on this when both parties have lived apart for more than years. In this case, you will not require any agreement or consent for divorce from your partner. However, you must prove that you and your partner have lived apart for over five years.

    B) Procedure for divorce in Cameroon

    Once you have decided that you want to get a divorce, you will need to file a petition for divorce in which you will have to state the grounds supported by why you wish to obtain a divorce. The divorce petition must also provide information on the number of children you have, how you intend to split these children, and any financial arrangements. It must also state the property, possession or money you have acquired and your plans concerning such property. The application is lodged at the court, which will entertain the divorce. You have to also ensure that you notify the other party of the divorce proceedings and your address. This will inform the other party that there are such proceedings in court and knowledge of how where to forward a reply if they wish to file a response. Such a reply could be consenting to or opposing the divorce.

    Usually, the court will look at the divorce papers and decide if the grounds and the reason for the divorce are worth granting a divorce. The court may not give the divorce where the court believes that the marriage has not broken down irretrievably. Where the court decides that the marriage has indeed broken down irretrievably, then the court will grant an order nisi. However, a party may apply for that decree to become absolute before the expiry of 6months on certain conditions. A decree nisi does not indicate that the court does not wish to grant the divorce. The brain behind this is that sometimes specific issues, such as financial or custody arrangements, still have to be decided upon. However, the absolute decree ends the marriage, and the parties are deemed divorced when a decree becomes final.

    C) Custody and contact with children

    Usually, a divorce petition should contain arrangements for custody. This will include financial agreements relating to care, custody or who the children will physically live with, maintenance, schools etc. Sometimes it may be difficult to agree on what arrangements you want to make for the children. You are at liberty to apply to the court to make such arrangements. This is especially where both parties consent to the divorce and may not be able to decide what to do concerning the children from the marriage. An application under this head may relate to several issues touching on the children, and you may even be able to make an application for specific issue orders concerning issues like the kind of school you want your children to go to.

    Usually, the court will consider what is ‘in the best interest and welfare of the children’. The court will consider several issues to arrive at a decision, such as the age of the children and which parent is more substantially viable and adequately settled to take care of the children. The court can make several orders relating to maintenance, financial responsibility, parental responsibility, and visitation.




    ‘’The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. We insist specialist advice be sought depending on your specific circumstance’’





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