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7023 Bole Kifle Ketema, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Settlement Of Disputes Arising Out Of Marriage And Irregular Union


                          Section 1. General

Article 108. – Applicable Law.

Without prejudice to the procedural provisions provided in this Code, the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code of Ethiopia shall be applicable to disputes arising on matters provided in this Code.
Article 109. – Applicability of Provisions Relating to Liquidation of Pecuniary Relations Between Spouses.
1)    The provisions of Chapter Five of this Code shall be applicable accordingly notwithstanding that the marriage is dissolved not by divorce.
2)    When the dissolution of marriage is caused by the death of one of the spouses, the provisions of Chapter Five of this Code shall be applicable accordingly to disputes which may arise between the surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased concerning the partition of property.

Article 110. – Dispute Between Spouses.

The court may, when it deems necessary, sit in camera while consulting with the spouses either jointly or separately or when examining witness , as the case may be.

Article 111. – Decision.

Where circumstances require that it is necessary for the protection of the reputation of the spouses and their family, the court may confine itself to stating the existence of sufficient causes for the divorce without details of the case in its decision.

Article 112. – Appeal.

No appeal shall lie solely on the judgment of the court deciding divorce.

Article 113. – Custody of Children.

1)    The court shall, when deciding the dissolution of marriage, also decide as to which spouse shall have custody of the children, care of their education, health, maintenance and the rights of the parents and the children to visit each other.
2)    When giving decision under Sub-Article (1), the court shall take into account the income, age, health, and condition of living of the spouse as well as the age and interests of the children.
3)    The court may , on application and taking into account the change of circumstances, revise or reverse its decision given under his Article regarding the custody and maintenance of the children.

Article 114. – Irregular Union.

The provisions of this section shall also be applicable to the extent they are relevant, to cases concerning irregular union.

                         Section 2. Power of the Court.

Article 115. – Existence of Valid Marriage

Only the court is competent to decide whether a marriage has been concluded and whether such marriage is valid.

Article 116. – Irregular Union.

Only the court is competent to decide whether an irregular union has been established between a man and a woman.

Article 117. – Divorce and Its Effects.

Only the court is competent to decide on divorce, decide or approve the effects of divorce in accordance with Article 83 of this Code.

Article 118. – Disputes Arising out of Marriage.

1)    Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 117, disputes arising out of marriage shall be decided by arbitrators chosen by the spouses.
2)    Any party who is dissatisfied with the decision of arbitrators may appeal to a court having jurisdiction.
3)    The court, having examined the petition, may approve, amend or reverse the decision of arbitrators. Such decision of the court shall be final.

                                     Section 3. Arbitration

Article 119. – Appointment of Arbitrators.

1)    Where the spouse have decided to settle their dispute through arbitration in accordance with Article 82 (2) of this Code, they shall appoint one or more arbitrators and submit, within fifteen days from the date they were told to do so, the names of those arbitrators to the court.
2)    On receiving the list of arbitrators or when the arbitrators appear before it in accordance with Sub-Article (1) of this Article, the court shall make a record forthwith and give direction as to how the reconciliation has to proceed and to submit the result of the arbitration or the attempt of reconciliation within three months.
3)    Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Article (2) of this Article, the court may, where it deems necessary, examine the progress of the arbitration and make orders for submission of periodical reports thereon.

Article 120. – Additional Time.

Without being restricted by the provisions of Article 119, where the court is of the opinion that the spouse may settle their dispute through arbitration, it may, having regard to the progress of the arbitration, give additional time of not more than one month.

Article 121. – Responsibility of Arbitrators.

1)    The arbitrators shall make an effort to reconcile the spouses and to make them renounce their petition for divorce.
2)    Where the arbitrators have concluded that the dispute cannot be solved except by divorce, they shall report the result of their attempt to the court without delay.
3)    The arbitrators shall have no power to give any order or decision concerning the spouses except persuading them to resolve the issue through arbitration.

Article 122. – Failure to Submit Report.

1)    Where the arbitrators have failed to submit reports in accordance with Articles 119 and 121 of this Code, the court shall close the case.
2)    Where the spouses or one of them have petitioned the court to reopen the case within one month from the date of the closure of the case by stating the reasons for not submitting the report and that the issue has not been settled through arbitration, the court may reopen the case and give appropriate decision.
3)    The closure of the case under Sub-Article (1) of this Article may not prohibit the spouses or one of them from submitting a new petition and request for their case be reconsidered.