If you or your spouse have links to Tanzania but you are seeking divorce or family law advice under English law, you should seek a specialist firm. Brookman acts regularly for individuals in this type of situation and can advise on all aspects of international divorce, including maintenance disputes, property division and arrangements for any children of the marriage.

While Tanzania’s family law system is based on the English common law system there is significant divergence when it comes to family law matters.  For information, we’ve set out a brief outline of divorce and family law issues in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s Law Of Marriage Act

The Law of Marriage Act, (LMA), updated in 2019, is the main legislation governing marriage and divorce. Those domiciled in Tanzania and those resident in the country for at least a year can petition the court for divorce. In essence the courts will only grant a divorce if it is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This can be shown in a number of ways, including:

  • Proof of adultery
  • Cruelty (mental or physical) inflicted by a spouse on the other or on any children of the marriage
  • Wilful neglect of one spouse by the other
  • Desertion

The LMA states that, save in cases of exceptional hardship, a petition of divorce can’t be issued until two years have expired since the marriage. Additionally couples must refer themselves to a matrimonial Board to try to settle their marital differences. Only when the Board certifies that the parties can’t reconcile can divorce proceedings begin.

Arrangements For Children

Following divorce, both parents usually remain responsible for their children.

In deciding which parent a child should reside with (custody) the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration. Subject to this the courts will also bear in mind the:

  • Wishes of the parents of the child;
  • Wishes of the child, where he or she is of an age to express an independent opinion
  • Customs of the community to which the parties belong.

There is a rebuttable presumption that children under seven should reside with their mother. Finally, in exceptional circumstances courts can make an order that it is ‘undesirable’ for a child to be entrusted to either parent.

Property Division In Tanzania

Property acquired in the sole name of a spouse during marriage is regarded as the exclusive property of that spouse on divorce. Property acquired in joint names during marriage is generally regarded as being owned in equal shares.

Precise distribution of financial assets not owned in equal shares or solely by one spouse following a divorce in Tanzania involves an assessment of each spouse’s contribution to the household during the marriage. However the courts have shown themselves reluctant to include a woman’s unpaid contributions to the household when calculating spousal contributions to marital assets.

Legal Advice

If you or your spouse have a connection to Tanzania, it’s essential to get advice from an experienced international lawyer if you are considering divorce. Often the outcome for the financially weaker spouse will be more satisfactory if English courts have the final say on financial and other issues. You may want to issue proceedings here quickly as a result and Brookman is bets placed to help you.

At Brookman we represent clients from across the globe.  Even if we have not dealt specifically with Tanzania family law at the time of writing, our experience dealing with widely differing legal systems means we are well-placed to offer you detailed advice on your divorce in the UK and any cross border issues that may arise.

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Divorce Videos

Henry Brookman has created several discussion videos in order to further explain some areas of divorce.

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Watch Henry Brookman summarise divorce and common divorce myths.

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Henry Brookman Discusses: Divorce
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We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

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Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

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Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner. She has been exclusively practising family law for over 15 years and is a recognised expert in her field.

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Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

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Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

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Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and has been recommended by the Legal 500.

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Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

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Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

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Jennifer is a talented solicitor, experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings and financial claims.

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Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings involving Hague Convention countries.

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Pippa Marshall

Pippa’s experience covers all areas of family law including divorce, financial remedies, same sex relationships, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitee property disputes.

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Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

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Lorna is our Office Manager who oversees the operations of the firm including providing accounts support as well as secretarial support to the team.

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