This article is for those who have made the decision to divorce their spouse. It's that fast. This article is not intended to offer guidance about whether or not you can attempt to save your marriage or pursue therapy. No, it's not real. The aim of this article is to lay out as simply as possible what you should think about once you've decided to divorce.
Marriage in Nigeria can only be terminated in two ways: by the death of one of the spouses or by a court order.
The divorce procedure is the procedure for obtaining a court order dissolving a marriage. Unlike in other countries, where divorce can be a reasonably fast process, it appears that Nigerian law has been made unduly burdensome (rightly so in some people's opinion) to ensure that marriage contracts and divorces are not entered into arbitrarily.
The first thing you should note is that obtaining a divorce would necessitate the assistance of a lawyer. In order to carry your divorce case to court in Nigeria, you must be represented by a lawyer. We will finish this article here and conclude that if you need a divorce, you can hire a lawyer.
However, that would negate the intent of this article; instead, we want to go through the divorce process in greater depth so you know what to expect.
You must recognise the sort of marriage you have. The way the union was solemnised has a major impact on the divorce process. Most marriages in modern Nigeria are licenced (i.e. you and your wife have a Marriage licence from a Marriage Registry), and we will concentrate on this form of marriage in this article.
You must comprehend why you are seeking a divorce and what the reasons are for your divorce. There are specific specified reasons that can be used to end a marriage under the Matrimonial Causes Act (the legislation that regulates the divorce process in Nigeria). Adultery, living apart for a period of time, habitual drunkenness, illegal acts, and so on are all examples of these behaviours. You must be certain that your justification for divorce is consistent with one of the divorce grounds. Here's where you can learn more about divorce grounds. However, don't be concerned about this for the time being; once you speak with a lawyer, he or she will listen to your case and properly advise you on which ground of divorce your purpose should fall under.
You should start thinking about what you want to get out of the divorce. This will largely be determined by the circumstances of your marriage. The following are some things to start thinking about:
. Who will be in charge of the children?
. Will your spouse be responsible for the children's upkeep?
. Do you want your spouse to provide you with help if you are unemployed? (You must show why the court should approve this request)
. What method would be used to distribute the property? Do you think you have full possession of those things because you paid for them? And so on.
These are some of the considerations you can make, but don't stress too much about it; a competent lawyer would be able to elicit this information from you and ensure that all of your bases are covered, that you are properly secured, and that you get what you deserve.
The Divorce Process
When the attorney files a petition for divorce in the High Court, the divorce process formally begins. This collection of documents essentially states the case: who you're married to, where you got married, how long you've been married, why you want a divorce, what you want from the divorce, and any supporting evidence. This is where the lawyer starts to make money.
They will prepare and file all relevant court documents, as well as ensure that your petition is presented in a logical and competent manner. If you filed the petition, you are known as the applicant, and your spouse is known as the respondent.
After the document is filed with the court (in the Family court division), it will be assigned a file number, and the contents of the petition will be served on (delivered to) your partner (and his lawyer). Your spouse would have a certain number of days to respond to your petition (which varies depending on which state your petition is filed in). If your partner still wants a divorce, the quality of your answer can vary.
Once your partner responds to your lawsuit, the matter will be heard in open court by the courts. They will testify in court if any witnesses are required to corroborate any testimony.
If the judge agrees that a divorce should be granted, he or she will issue a ‘decree nisi,' which effectively means that the marriage will be dissolved. The decree nisi, on the other hand, does not imply that it has been dissolved; you must wait for three months for the decree nisi to become a "decree absolute."
The judge has the right to assign custody of any children to either partner, as well as make orders for the payment of maintenance (for both the spouse and the children) and the settlement of any marital property.
The above is a high-level description of the divorce procedure. The procedure can vary depending on the facts of each marriage, which is why it is important to obtain the advice and counsel of a competent lawyer before proceeding with a divorce.