Grounds for Divorce in Nigeria – Adultery and Intolerability

Its not enough to establish that a party to a marriage has committed adultery ( and contrary to what I have read elsewhere recently it DOES NOT only apply to the wife or female party). Remember evidence of adultery can be circumstantial, the court will consider preponderance of evidence and not proof beyond reasonable doubt.  The court will look for opportunity and familiarity.

There are a number of circumstances were adultery is generally presumed

1. where the parties are living together

2. Bigamy is proof of adultery

3. Confessions of adultery are also proof

4. The  fathers name registered on a child’s birth certificate

5. Frequent visits to brothels

6. Sexually transmitted diseases that the other spouse does not also have

The petitioner in a divorce case also needs to prove that he or she now finds it intolerable to live with the respondent. This intolerability need not arise as a result of the adultery but there must be evidence of intolerability. If for instance a wife no longer desires to have sex with her husband and her husband resorts to raping her that could be evidence of intolerability.  On the other hand if a wife does have sex with her husband after he commits adultery does not condone him.

Evidence of intolerability is completely subjective, its all about what the petitioner feels and not what a reasonable man or woman may feel.

Its not enough to prove adultery, to sustain this ground for a divorce there must be both and there must be evidence of both.

If you have questions don’t hesitate to get in touch



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48 Responses to “Grounds for Divorce in Nigeria – Adultery and Intolerability”

  1. Noel Ihebuzor Says:

    Very useful.I am reblogging!

  2. Noel Ihebuzor Says:

    Reblogged this on visionvoiceandviews.

  3. maryanne Says:

    Hello, what are my legal resorts if my husband refuses to let me into his house. We had a fight and He moved out. Without letting me know. Moved everything in the house, from furniture to kitchen equips, everything, leaving just my stuff. I’m not sure he’s done anything wrong in d eyes of the law, but what legal backing do I have to move my stuff to the new apartment seeing that there was no separation and I don’t want to live separate nor get a divorce. Pls advise. Merci.

    • mz_agams Says:

      Where were you married? Church? Registry? Or traditional? This will determine your specific rights but as is wife you do have a right to enter the house till there is a divorce or seperation

      • maryanne Says:

        We were married traditionally and in the catholic church. Also registered at the local govt council. I’m heavy and almost due. Can I go to the hosue and refuse to leave? No separation or divorce proceedings are on.

      • maryanne Says:

        Thank you, I appreciate your response. Again, may I ask, he’s refused to let me in. I don’t have the key. The last time I went he asked the security men and called some security personnel to ask “this woman” to leave his house. I didn’t want to act violently and try to break d door or anything. No one touched me though, but I sat outside on the pavement for about 7hours and had to leave. What exactly can I do to get in. He may have beenhiding something, I don’t know and won’t accuse. I’m just trying to fight for my marriage. He refuses to talk to me or say what he wants to do. I don’t want to put my life on hold waiting. I feel like breaking d door, but I don’t want to do anything illegal. Please advise further. God bless.

  4. Ndidi Says:

    A situation where a husband claims to have evidence against the wife committing adultery and the wife unknowingly confesses to him and apologized for the action,what rights does she have if the husband decides to file for divorce given that they have children.

  5. ollyolly Says:

    Pls what legal ground do i ave,i am the husband,i confessed my act of adultry to my wife,and my father pleaded on my behalf too,but she insisted that she cant tolorate me any more and she refused to file divorce thou we are not living together either because i could not stand her humilation because she is richer than i do,also she rented our apartment,when i ask her for divorce she said her lawyer claimed that it will take a year before she could file a divorce

  6. Maiden Says:

    What kind of evidence exactly can be used to prove a man’s adultery and your intolerability?

  7. Sonuga Oladapo Says:

    Hi Agams,
    Got married for less than two years at Ikoyi Registry. Now she wants out saying I don’t care about her enough. I have done all to make her stay but rily what more can you do for a woman that claims she’s fed up?.I cant force her to love me or stay. Guess she’s got her own plans though. Please what are the steps I can take to be legally divorced.

  8. babee123 Says:

    i got marred in nigeria sayed 4 7 weeks then come home 2 england with out him it has been 4 years now i want a divorce how do i get that

  9. Victoria Says:

    Can wife battering and threat of life be a reason for divorce?

  10. catherine Says:

    I need help pls.i am a victim of domestic violence.i av been married for eleven years,i have been enduring this holding on to the injunction of the bible concerning divorce.he assaults me physically and emotionally at his slightest provocation.this attitude has made him lose good jobs,now he is jobless.i carry d burden of feeding and sch fees yet he hits and insults m like a rag.he is very intolerant and xtremely hot tempered.he uses anything at his disposal to hunt m, one time a matchet.i believe so much in God and i av prayed concerning dis but i am confused. my kids usually witness dis and i am afraid for their future. abt 2 yrs ago i reported at a police station,he signed an undertaking but dat has not solved any problem.seems like divorce will bring the peace i love back to me but i am even afraid of it. i am an introvert, i keep all dis to myself but it is eating m up.he can be nice sometimes,but once d anger descends on him,he wont stop until he inflicts injury on me.he will later come around to say sorry dat he didnt understand what came over him.pls i nid someone to talk to me.

    • mz_agams Says:

      if you don’t think divorce is good then maybe you can try for a separation and live apart from him. Did the Bible say you must live with your husband?

  11. John Adedun I Says:

    Got married 2010 in a church and a local registry, seperated since sept 2013 till date after i discoverd she decieved me into d marriage(fettish means),shes also 6years plus older than i do. She has claimed i left d house on d ground dat she denied me of having sex with her.really need 2 get rid of her, she goes about claiming she wnts me back spoiling my reputations too.dere is aswel a son in d marriage. What can i do?

  12. adedun Says:

    thanks, sorry how do u mean ”no contest divorce” and do i necessarilly have 2 go to the state where we had d marriage b4 i cn file divorce? Cnt wait till september too long to allow her do more damage. Pls advice further.

    • mz_agams Says:

      If you have lived apart for 3 years you can ask for a no contest divorce. You do not need to prove anything else again

      • adedun Says:

        hw long is the process likely 2 take ma. Appreciate we have u, dat we dnt av 2 die in silence.

        • mz_agams Says:

          Good bless… can take 6 months or 2 years depends on the lawyer , the court and your spouse really. I have also known cases take 10 – 15 years but those are the ones that went all the way to Supreme Court and very few. You can always appeal a lower court judgement even in divorce cases. Good luck

          • john Says:

            a real big thanks to you, what is likely d spouse contributing factor 2 d delay of the process, since its no ‘contest’ divorce. Since we dnt av 2 prove anytin. Sorry pls

          • mz_agams Says:

            After 3 years of loving apart your spouse cannot delay the proceedings again. It is ab initio proof the marriage is broken down irretrievably and the court must grant a divorce

          • john Says:

            hello ma, she is aware am in a relationship after the separation. can this complicate things for me in the court? shes still bent on having me back to her. tnks

          • mz_agams Says:

            i cant say, the court will decide

  13. valanchee Says:

    Good Job ma

  14. valanchee Says:

    Pls ma I need ur advice on this. My wife eloped with my properties and two kids, blackmail me to the police which I was exenorated. Earlier she had threatened to stab me to death on three different occasion, I do not want to continue with such relationship, her attitude is intolerable to me. When n how can I get custody of my two kids cos she is denying then psychological development by not allowing them spend time with me. They are boys age 2 n 4 respectively. What does the law say about the age for custody. Thanks

    • mz_agams Says:

      Usually the law doesn’t separate children from their mother while they are tender – decided cases put that at 7 years of age or so. Still you should be able to visit with them regularly. Go to a social welfare office and ask for them to assist

  15. valanchee Says:

    Tnx very much for ur advice ma. We have been to social welfare of which I am d one caring for the children’s education, feeding, medicals n clothing as outlined to me by welfare. My request is to have access to my children, during holidays they come home n spend sometimes with me which was agreed upon but they didn’t state it in their agreement form which was signed in confidence that my request will be granted as promised by the welfare officer, as he said that their form has always been in this format outlining my responsibilities. As I speak, there is no communication with my kids, haven’t seen nor even know there whereabout which I complained to the office that I have been denied access to my children during this holiday as was agreed upon only for the office to tell me that it is not welfare law, for my children to come spend some days with me. Pls advise further on this. Thanks in anticipation

    • mz_agams Says:

      It maybe time to talk to a lawyer and file for visitation rights either under the Matrimonial Cause Act or the Child’s Right Act, depending on which state you live in and whether they have domiciled the CRA

  16. valanchee Says:

    OK thanks ma. I live in Rivers state and all I want is for the children to spend some times with me during holidays and some weekends, does the law grant that?

  17. valanchee Says:

    Pls so do. Thanks in anticipation. I don’t want our problem to affect them psychologically. They should experience the joy of having both parents alive. I have to take my decision cos my life seems to be at risk living with her.cheers 👍

  18. jane Says:

    Pls ma advice me. I got married in April 2012. Bt we have separated since January 2013. N I took most of my properties out bt remaining most them. D man has bn threatening me wit charm n I felt stroke since 2014. But am getting better nw.i want to go n carry my remaining properties.we wedded in catholic church n do traditional wedding too. No kid n I need a divorce n to regain my properties in safe. Pls ma advice me

  19. fello Says:

    I and my wife got married 2years ago at ikeja registry. but on two different occations i have seen her conversation with some guy like 3 different ones, one is her boss in her office. were the so called boss was reffering to my wife as Dear and she also responded by reffering to him also as dear. one of the other guy was her ex to extent that she told the guy that am not always around that am not based in lagos. there was a time that her ex was telling her to come and see him since am away that she know that he can never forget her. that if not for what happened that he would have been the one to marry her. so now what do you advice?

  20. Harris Says:

    I need to understand my rights to know where my ex wife who filed for divorce keeps my children when they are with her during school session and why she has not changed her name since the divorce became absolute but goes around social media with my surname pretending we are married

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