If you or your spouse has a connection to Zambia and you are contemplating divorce it’s essential to consider international aspects of law as they relate to your divorce. We advise individuals from around the world family law in England, including divorce, financial settlements and arrangements for children. For clients with a link to Zambia – perhaps they were married in the country but have lived in the UK for several years, maybe one or both spouses is a Zambian national – our team provides advice specific to your situation to help give you the best chance of securing a fair divorce settlement.

Here we highlight some aspects of the Zambian law on divorce to illustrate the differences between the system there and the approach taken in family law matters by the courts in England and Wales. .

Grounds For Divorce In Zambia

Section 8 of the Zambian Matrimonial Causes Act gives men and women equal rights to petition the High Court of Zambia for divorce. The sole ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The person seeking a divorce can establish this by providing evidence of one or more of the following:

  • The respondent has committed adultery
  • The respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her
  • The respondent has deserted for a continuous period of at least two years
  • That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years and the respondent consents to a decree being granted
  • That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years

Parties can only divorce after 12 months of marriage and one party must either be domiciled in Zambia or have lived there for a year before presenting the divorce petition.

Children And Zambian Divorce

Custody of children following divorce in Zambia is decided in the best interests of the child. That said, in practice custody is more often than not granted to the father. Courts are also empowered to issue maintenance orders in respect of children if a parent is concerned by the other parent’s failure to sufficiently provide for the child. A parent who doesn’t comply with a child maintenance order can face criminal prosecution.

Maintenance And Property Division

Zambian courts have the ability to issue maintenance orders in favour of former spouses on divorce. The order can be for a maximum of three years following the end of the marriage, and the obligation to pay maintenance ceases of the receiving spouse remarries.

When it comes to division of property the courts do have power to make property adjustment orders under the Matrimonial Causes act and can take into consideration direct and indirect contributions to the acquisition of the property. In practice however the approach to property on divorce is uncertain. In some instances property is shared, in others it’s kept separate.

Customary Law In Zambia

We’ve outlined the way civil courts approach divorce in Zambia. In some ways the rules are similar to those in England and Wales. But it’s important to remember that many marriages in Zambia are contracted under local, traditional or customary law. Such marriages are dissolved by local courts. These apply different grounds for divorce, take a distinct approach to child custody and also adopt different methods of dividing property.

Advice On Divorce Law In Zambia

If you or your spouse have any legal connection to Zambia and are seeking divorce in England, it’s important to get advice from an international divorce lawyer if your marriage has broken down.

At Brookman, while we may not have dealt directly with Zambian divorce law our understanding of contrasting legal systems across the world means we can advise you on all relevant issues affecting your divorce.

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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.


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’.


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.


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.


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.


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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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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