Hallblack Law Firm

For a court in Nigeria to grant divorce to a party to matrimonial proceeding, it must be on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.Anthony Atata writes for Courtroom Mail(This is written in plain language for the benefit of ALL readers of courtroom mail)

For the Petitioner (the person who filed for divorce) to satisfy that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, he or she must prove one or more of the following:

  1. That the respondent (the person being divorced) has wilfully and persistently refused to consummate the marriage: You can file for divorce if your spouse refuses to have sex with you simple.
  2. That your spouse has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
  3. That the respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least one year immediately before filing the divorce matter.
  4. That the parties to that marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before filing the divorce and the respondent does not object to the divorce.
  5. That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least three years
  6. That the respondent has been absent for a long time that he/she can be presumed to be dead.
  7. That since the marriage the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent. To prove this, the Petitioner must show  either of the following:

a. The respondent has committed rape, sodomy, or bestiality

b. The respondent for a period of not less than two years been a habitual drunkard; been intoxicated by reason of taking or using to excess any sedative, narcotic or stimulating drug.

c. Since the marriage, the respondent has within a period not exceeding five years suffered frequent convictions for crime where he has been sentenced to prison for an aggregate period of three year or habitually left the Petitioner without reasonable means of support.           

d. Since the marriage and within a period of one year before the time of the Petition was filed, the respondent has been convicted of having attempted to murder or unlawfully to kill the Petitioner or having committed an offence involving the intentional infliction of grievous harm or grievous hurt on the Petitioner or the intent to inflict grievous harm or grievous hurt on the petitioner.

e. That the respondent has become of unsound mind and unlikely to recover or has been confined in an institution for an aggregate period of five years.

Note that for you to obtain a divorce (obtain an order for dissolution of marriage) you must prove one or more of that above. Note, the grounds for nullity of marriage which is different from dissolution are different.

Anthony Atata


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