Having a child with a partner is not proof of marriage – court rules


Having a child with a partner is not proof that you are in marriage, a Nakuru court has ruled. 

The ruling by Nakuru High Court Judge Joel Ngugi dealt a big blow to a woman, who was seeking to be recognised as the wife of a deceased Nakuru businessman, identified in court documents as BM. 

The woman, identified in court documents as CW, claimed that she had a five-year relationship with the deceased and had five children with him. 

According to the Judge, siring kids with someone is not enough proof of marriage. 

“Despite living together or bearing children, a man and woman must satisfy what constitutes a customary marriage before they are considered a married couple,” the Judge said.

Judge Ngugi added that in as much as customary law had become very dynamic, it was important to follow some formalities to qualify a Kikuyu customary marriage. 

According to the Judge, it is important that both families are informed about such a union and a celebration to mark the marriage conducted.

Ngugi said that dowry should also be paid either in full or in part to show that the man is serious about the union. 

He said that it was hard to tell whether the union between the complainant and the deceased ever existed or not since there was nothing to show about it. 

The lady, identified as CW is embroiled in a property tussle with another lady named LW.


They all wanted to occupy his three plots located in Nakuru and a farm that is in Elburgon. 

CW filed a case in March 2010, demanding to be the sole administrator of the estate that was left behind by the decease. She argued that she was also a legal widow of the late businessman.

In the documents, CW argued that she was married to BM in 1983 through Kikuyu customary marriage. However, they separated after only five years due to unending differences. 

CW was however unable to provide proof that the deceased paid dowry to her family.

The judge said that he was not convinced by CW’s claims that the late businessman footed her bills despite their separation. 

On her side, LW, a retired high school teacher and the wife to the businessman at the time of his death, denied that she was never informed of the union between her late husband and CW. 

She went ahead to prove that she was the only wife to the deceased and convince the court that they tied the knot at a Christian wedding on March 10, 1991. 

She also said that her parents were given dowry of Ksh20,000.

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