13 February 2024

Valentine’s Day and the Legal Side of Love: A Guide for Kenyan Couples

Valentine’s Day, celebrated on the 14th of February, is a cherished occasion for couples to reaffirm their love and commitment to each other. It’s a time when partners strive to strengthen their bond and nurture their relationship. However, beyond the flowers and chocolates, romantic gestures, and heartfelt declarations, it’s crucial for couples in Kenya to be aware of the legal implications of their relationship. Here are some key tips to consider:

1. Cohabitation Agreement

In Kenya, cohabitation is defined under Section 2 of the Marriage Act of 2014 as living together in a long-term relationship that resembles marriage. Many couples celebrating Valentine’s Day are, in essence, engaging in such arrangements.

A cohabitation agreement is a contract drawn up between unmarried couples who live together or plan to do so. This agreement delineates the specific living arrangements and financial responsibilities of each party. It covers contributions towards joint expenses such as rent, utilities, and groceries.

Moreover, a cohabitation agreement protects the property owned by one party by clearly stating that the non-owner does not acquire any legal interest in the property through their contributions. This agreement is crucial for safeguarding the interests of both parties and preventing disputes in the event of a relationship breakdown.

2. Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before marriage, governing the ownership of assets, debts, and income in the event of divorce or separation.

In Kenya, although not explicitly regulated under the Marriage Act, courts are likely to uphold the terms of a prenuptial agreement if certain conditions are met. These conditions mirror the conditions required for a formal contract. They include:

  • The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
  • It should be witnessed by two independent witnesses.
  • The terms must be fair and reasonable to both parties.
  • Both parties must enter into the agreement voluntarily, without coercion or fraud.

A prenuptial agreement can protect assets such as family businesses, land, or inheritances, as well as address issues like property division and spousal support. It can be updated periodically to reflect changes in circumstances, such as the birth of children or retirement plans.

By establishing clear guidelines for asset division and financial responsibilities, a prenuptial agreement can provide peace of mind and reduce uncertainty in the event of a divorce.

3. Estate Planning

Estate planning is another critical consideration for couples, especially those in long-term relationships or marriages. By creating wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents, couples can protect their assets and ensure their wishes are carried out in the event of incapacity or death.

In Kenya, intestacy laws dictate how assets are distributed in the absence of a valid will. By creating a will, couples can designate beneficiaries, appoint guardians for minor children, and specify how their assets should be distributed. This allows couples to maintain control over their legacy and provide for their loved ones according to their wishes.

Additionally, couples should consider other estate planning tools, such as powers of attorney and advance directives, to address healthcare and financial decisions in the event of incapacity.


As couples celebrate this day of love, it’s very essential to consider all the legal aspects of their relationship. Cohabitation agreements, prenuptial agreements and good estate planning offer valuable protections and can contribute to the stability and longevity of a partnership.

It is very important to consult with a legal expert to help couples navigate these agreements and ensure their interests are safeguarded. Ultimately, by addressing these legal considerations, couples can focus on nurturing their love and building a strong foundation for their future together.

Authored by

Joshua Kimani ACIArb

Legal Researcher


  1. Levi Munyeri on February 13, 2024 at 9:30 pm

    Very important, as couples exchange niceties; and most important: book accommodation.

  2. Ratia Moses on February 14, 2024 at 4:44 am

    Is a nice article Joshua, nobody would have thought that love can also be celebrated in a law perspective 😂😂 .Good stuff.

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