The law makes it possible for spouses to legally separate themselves after marriage but this under certain conditions which are stipulated by the law. This process of separation or disuniting of marriage is known as Divorce. For every country the process of applying for divorce differs though there may be some similarities. In this article, i will be showing you how to apply for divorce in Nigeria. Accordingly, I will share with you some tips to make your application successful.
Divorce is the Legal dissolution of a Marriage by the Court or other Competent body. Under the Nigerian Law, before there can be a dissolution of Marriage, parties involved must make an application to the Court stating their desire to dissolve the marriage upon their fulfillment of the grounds for the dissolution of a Marriage.
Also see: Differences between Cross-offers and counter-offers
Grounds For Dissolution of a Marriage in Nigeria
In Nigeria, there is only one ground for the dissolution of a Marriage, and that ground is the irretrievably break down of the marriage as stipulated in Section 15 Matrimonial Causes Act.
A marriage is said to have broken down irretrievably where the petitioner satisfies the court of one or more of the following facts‐
(a) That the respondent has willfully and persistently refused to consummate the marriage;
(b) that since the marriage the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
(c) that since the marriage the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;
(d) that the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;
(e) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the respondent does not object to a decree being granted;
(f) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of a least three years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;
(g) that the other party to the marriage has, for a period of not less than one year, failed to comply with a decree or restitution of conjugal rights made under his Act;
(h) that the other party to the marriage has been absent from the petitioner for such time and in such circumstances as to provide reasonable grounds for presuming that he or she is dead.
Where you fulfill any of these condition, you have a ground for dissolution of Marriage and you can therefore apply to the Court for the dissolution of your Marriage.
Also see: Features of the Nigerian Legal system
How To Apply For Divorce in Nigeria
1) You must bring a Petition, as every divorce process is commenced by Petition. Therefore you are required to hire a Lawyer who will initiate the process for you and file your petition.
2) In your application to the Court, your Lawyer must prepare the following documents for the divorce process: Notice of Petition, Petition for dissolution of marriage, verifying affidavit, certificate relating to reconciliation signed by the Lawyer, acknowledgement of service and bring your original marriage certificate.
3) Talking about petition, your divorce petition must include: The names and status of the parties involved, the occupation and address of the party to the proceeding, the name of the wife immediately before marriage, particulars of the marriage, particulars of parties to the marriage, particulars relating to domicile or residents of the marriage in Nigeria, Particulars of Cohabitation of the parties to the marriage and it’s ceasing, particulars of children of the parties to the marriage, facts relied upon, proposed arrangement for children of the parties to the marriage, their custody, maintenance and settlement of the property, reliefs being sought and address for service on Respondent.
Where this Petition and other accompanying documents for the process of divorce has been prepared and signed, your Lawyer is required to file it to the Court Registry and also serve the other party (Respondent) who will thereafter file a reply to the petition and trial for divorce will commence.
Also see: How to Sue Someone to Court in Nigeria
N/B: If you intend to dissolve your marriage, consult a Lawyer who is well abreast with divorce proceedings first, that Lawyer will be in the best position to advise you and show you how you can apply to the court for the dissolution of Marriage (Divorce).
So far, i have listed and explained the steps for applying for divorce and grounds under which you application will be granted. I believe this article has really done justice to this topic. Nonetheless, if you have any question or contribution kindly drop it at the comment section.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.
1 thought on “How to Apply for Divorce in Nigeria: Steps and Grounds for Divorce”
What of where a petitioner files for divorce and access to his child, and the respondent is not opposed to the divorce petition, but rather counter the aspect of access and sought for the custody of the child. What is the position of the law on this?