How mother-in-law, breastfeeding tore 4 year old marriage apart

A couple has been granted divorce after the husband picked his mother over his wife, following irredeemable wrangling over the role of the man’s mother in their matrimonial home.

A woman, who filed for a divorce over complicated conflict about the husband’s mother in their home, has been granted a divorce.

The wife filed for divorce from her husband on January 22, 2019, saying her mother-in-law had taken over her place in her home.

In a Civil Suit Number 1 of 2019 filed at the Kadhi’s Court, the woman demanded custody of their two children aged 2 years and another 7 months old.

The complainant further wanted her husband to provide “general family maintenance”, and also pay her dowry, which he hadn’t given her parents.

The couple, who live in Lang’ata, Nairobi, exchanged wedding vows on November 29, 2015 under Islamic custom.

According to her formal complaint, the woman said she “left her matrimonial home owing to a quarrel and accused her husband of failing to follow her up, non-provision of general family maintenance, non-payment of her dowry of US Dollars 2000 (Ksh200, 000) and one set of Gold”.

She further averred that she struggled to fend for herself and minors herein save little assistance from her husband and therefore demanded a monthly family maintenance of Ksh40, 720.

The court documents say that the woman averred that though her husband’s mother lived in a self-contained room within their matrimonial house with her consent; frequent disagreements over control of the matrimonial house by her mother-in-law “reduced her to a mere house help.”

The complainant accused her husband of avoiding to reconcile them (wife and mother). She further says that her husband “failed to guarantee her privacy for the matrimonial house, given it was full of his relatives.”

The woman also accused her husband of lacking bedroom prowess. “The defendant refused to attend to a gynecologist to help address his weakness in conjugal rights,” said the woman in her plaint.

The woman also accused her partner of “searching her bag on departure like a thief,” an action that arose permanent hatred. The complainant, therefore, said “divorce was the only relief.” The woman claimed she and her husband separated in 2017 following the issues she has raised in her complaint.

According to her, she had asked her husband, who operates a filling station business, to move his mother to another house within the compound, but her spouse refused to heed to her request.

The complainant’s husband, in his response, said he had tried to reconcile with his wife after she left their matrimonial home in 2017, but she refused to return to her matrimonial home. “He averred that before marriage herein, he used to stay with his mother and brother but later on rented a separate house for them on marriage.”

He however allowed his mother back to the matrimonial house with consent of his wife. He said that he was responsible and despite his unemployment status, paid family hospital bill of Ksh242,000 on addition to provision of general family maintenance,” reads a part of the defendant’s response uploaded on

“He accused his wife of stopping child breast-feeding that cost him Ksh.82, 000 for malnutrition at Getrude hospital.”

He further said they were referred to a Cardiologist at Nairobi hospital who discovered a minor heart problem. He narrated that between 4th and 11th October 2017, the child was again admitted to MP Shah for malnutrition but when he advised his wife to prepare porridge for the child, she fled the matrimonial house to this day,” reads another part of the man’s response. Both parties declined to have the court reconcile them, with the woman urging the court to grant her full custody of the children, a request she was allowed, given the ages of the minors.

In its determination of the case on April 30, 2019, the court said: “Parties herein agitated for dissolution of their marriage based on normal matrimonial issues that could have been solved out of Court.” This was probably because their elders were unable to mend their fragile relationship or because of their own experiences in their marital relationship.

The husband was put in a dilemma to choose between staying with his mother or wife in the matrimonial house and preferred the mother thus the separation. May be the separation of the mother and wife could have saved their relationship. “Though the husband did not consider separating their houses, it was important to note that the parties blocked any further reconciliation preferred by the Court and agreed that dissolution was the only relief. I did not believe so, but submit that the two cannot be forced to stay together owing to hatred so displayed before Court,” said Principal Kadhi D.S. Ratori. Ratori further ordered that the marriage between the two be dissolved.

The Principal Kadhi also ordered the man to give his former wife Ksh26, 000 every month for the children’s upkeep. That money, the Kadhi said, must be remitted by 5th of every month, until the children will be 18 years.

The ex-husband also pays for the children’s school and major medical expenses. The court further directed the ex-husband to pay his ex-wife’s dowry priced at Ksh200, 000 and present to his former wife’s parents a set of gold. All this should be done within six months.

On the other hand, the court ordered the woman to breast-feed her seven-month-old child until she turns 2. The woman was also directed to allow her ex-husband access to the children during school holidays and visitation rights on Saturdays and Sundays.

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