At common law that marriage had some fatal consequences. Where marriage was declared void any children of that marriage were declared to be illegitimate and no legal consequences could flow from that relationship e.g man was under no obligation to maintain the wife or children born of that relationship and neither could they inherit from his estate. However this position was changed by statutory law both in England and in Kenya and under Section 14, any children born out of such a marriage will be treated as legitimate. From legitimacy will flow other rights as to maintenance and inheritance.
Note that there is a proviso under Section 14 that a marriage will still remain void if under the law it is void irrespective of the fact that a decree of nullity has not been granted. The fact that somebody does not go to court to declare the marriage null and void, it still remains void.
In the case where ground for nullity is either that at the time of contracting the parties were of unsound mind or where the ground is that one of the party’s was suffering from a venereal disease or that the woman was pregnant. In those 3 grounds, there are certain conditions which must be proved by the petitioner.
1. The petitioner has to show that at the time of contracting the marriage, he/she was ignorant of the facts alleged;
2. The proceedings must be instituted within one year of the marriage being contracted.
3. The petitioner must show that no sexual intercourse has taken place between the parties after the petitioner discovers the existences of those facts he alleges.