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Ethiopia Divorce & Family Law

International Divorce & Family Law: Ethiopia

The way family assets are divided, how children are cared for and the level of maintenance one spouse will receive will all vary depending on where you divorce. We are international divorce lawyers and among our clients are people with a connection to Ethiopia going through divorce. They may have got married in Ethiopia or be resident in the country but have links to England and Wales or they may reside in the UK but originally be from Ethiopia. For people in any of these positions certain elements of Ethiopian divorce and family law are worth taking note of. We discuss these issues below.


Getting Divorced In Ethiopia

There are two ways to divorce in Ethiopia:

  • By agreement – After six months of marriage spouses can submit a request to the court for divorce together with agreed provisions for financial division and child arrangements for the court’s approval. There is no requirement to provide a reason for the divorce.
  • When one spouse or the spouses both ask the court for a divorce – They should include reasons for the divorce and provide details of how property should be divided and what maintenance should be paid to one spouse. If agreement is not possible the court will impose a settlement, sometimes with the assistance of external experts.

As part of the divorce process the courts will decide issues regarding children by looking at the income, age, health and living accommodation of each spouse and balancing these with the age and interests of the children to decide where the children should live and how they should be maintained.


Division Of Property In Ethiopian Divorce

A husband and wife can contractually agree how assets should be divided in the event of a divorce. If they don’t, the marriage is deemed to operate under the community property regime. Essentially this means that property acquired before marriage is personal to each spouse and assets acquired during the marriage is divided between the spouses.

It’s open to a spouse to ask the court to treat certain property acquired personally – for example using personal wealth – during the marriage to be apportioned solely to him or her.

The provision of spousal maintenance is limited in Ethiopia. Whether or not it is granted in any form will depend very much on the facts of a particular case.


Advice On Divorce In Ethiopia

The choice of jurisdiction can make a big difference to any divorce outcome. Spousal maintenance for example, as we have seen, is restricted in Ethiopia. We advise clients in circumstances where they may have the choice to divorce in either Ethiopia or through the courts of England and Wales. This includes Ethiopian nationals in the UK and UK citizens who have settled in Ethiopia.

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