Our notice to clients on Covid-19

Covid-19 seems to be closing in faster than we anticipated. Death toll around the world has gone up and our country Nigeria has recorded the first casualty.
We are committed in our Law firm to doing our part to flatten the curve and break the chain of the scourge .
We have followed closely the recommendations of World Health Organisation (WHO) and we will stay committed to them.
In view of this,we will close our firm from today 24th of March 2020 until the 6th of April 2020 when we will further advise on what steps to take in line with WHO health advisory.
Our Lawyers will work from home and all communications should be via the contact form on our website www.hallblacklawfirm.com or via email on: hbl@hallblacklawfirm.com

Owing to the fact that the courts have been closed,we shall communicate to you any further date within the shortest possible time in respect of matters that were scheduled to hold during the unforseen closure of courts.

We will continue to deliver other services compatible with digital technology.
We are convinced that our decision is the best in the circumstance and hope you understand.
Thank you

FAMILY LAW: The Two year rule in Matrimonial Proceedings : Refreshing your memory on the exceptions-ANTHONY ATATA

Section 30 of the Matrimonial Causes Act provides as a general rule that proceedings for a decree of dissolution of marriage shall not be instituted within two years after the date of the marriage except by leave of the court.

In an application for leave under this section, the applicant must show the court that
(a) To refuse to grant leave would impose exceptional hardship on the applicant.
(b) The case is one involving exceptional depravity on the part of the other party to the marriage.
The court in considering the application will have regard to the interest of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is any reasonable probability of reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the period of two years after the date of the marriage.

However, a petitioner can still bring a proceeding for a degree of dissolution of marriage in less than two years of marriages without leave of court under some circumstances.
Section 30(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act provides that nothing in this section shall apply to the institution of proceedings based on any of the matters specified in section 15(2)(a) or (b) or 16(1)(a) of the act.

This section provides for the exception to the general rule that Matrimonial Causes cannot be brought within two years of marriage .So when the grounds for dissolution borders on the fact below ,a petitioner will not be required to seek leave of court .

  1. When the respondent has wilfully and persistently refused to consummate the Marriage.
  2. That since the marriage, the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
  3. Since the marriage, the respondent has committed rape, sodomy or bestiality.
  4. When the institution of the proceedings for a decree of dissolution of marriage is by way of a cross Petition.
    With the information above, we are reminded that it is not all the time a client tells us that his/her marriage is less than two years that we apply for leave of court. Anthony Atata

FAMILY LAW: If you want a divorce from a Nigerian court,you must prove any of these

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

atata@hallblacklawfirm.com