What You Need To Do Before Getting A Divorce in Nigeria

Once you’ve made up your mind to get a divorce here are the next ten steps you should take

1. Plan where you r going to live. If you want custody of the children the court will demand to know how and where you with live with them. In some cases the courts have accepted a woman’s parents residence but almost never if you are living with anyone else.

2. Start saving money, you will need all the money you can get whether you are expecting to live on your own or with your children.  And divorce proceedings can get expensive.

3. Get a job if you don’t have one. To get custody the court will demand you show proof of work.

4. Calculate /track your living expenses for 3 to 6 months with receipts etc.

5. If you cannot work or get a job you must be able to demand maintenance from your spouse especially if your spouse prevented you working.  Gather evidence to prove this.

6. Make copies of all important documentation like marriage certificates, children’s birth certificates. Any properties you own together that you believe you have a substantial claim or interest in

7. Consider whether you were married in church and which one, in a registry or a traditional ceremony or a combination of the 3.  If you were married in the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church your marriage comes under statutory law even if you did not go to a registry.  Your lawyer will  file in the High court. If you married in any of the other churches you should ask them. I’ll get information on all churches that qualify asap and post to the blog. If its a traditional ceremony only then customary and tribal law applies.  You’re petition will be filed in a customary court. Look for a lawyer whose expertise is there

8. Make a short-list of lawyers to see in your locality. Get names by word of mouth, on-line or through legal articles. Go and interview each of them. Make sure they understand the particular law as it relates to you and are sympathetic with you. If their first response is to advice or insist on reconciliation move on.  Do not go with your evidence for the first meeting. Assess the lawyer before making a commitment.

9. If you’re satisfied that the lawyer will act in your best interest to secure a divorce/ separation for you and get custody for you then go and give him photocopies of all your evidence for assessment.  Create your own file to keep at home. This when you should pay your retainer fee and sign an agreement with your lawyer.

10. If you want to claim maintenance or even division of property you will need evidence of your spouses income and assets.  This will include salary slips, bank statements, property deeds etc. Make sure you get copies of all these things if they are available.

10. Talk to your family and your friends and your pastor before deciding on a divorce. Only go see a lawyer after you’ve decided that you want a divorce or separation. I’ve met lawyers that believe their personal ‘calling’ is to reconcile divorcing couples. I do not.

Don’t go to a lawyer unless your decision is made. Its not the lawyer’s job to help you decide one way or the other really or to advise you whether or not to get a divorce. The decision is yours,  a lawyers job is to make it legally possible for you to achieve your aim with the full protection of the law.  So help your lawyer help you.  Take these steps first.

Of course there are times when the decision to leave is abrupt and you cannot be prepared. If your life is in danger you must put your safety first.

 

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221 Responses to “What You Need To Do Before Getting A Divorce in Nigeria”

  1. Marcella Etiobhio Says:

    Hello Ma
    This is a very good blog to help people about advice pertaining to divorce procedures and I am a person that would rather not have to do this but the circumstances preceed. Thank you for your work in giving free advice in matters of such i am grateful. My husband and I entered a Federal marriage at the Registry in Nigeria, Lagos. We have been separated almost 2yrs, because of other legal matters pertaining to visas and such. I have suspected that he is in a relationship now for which he has not admitted to. But we both agree to a divorce because of hardship in living apart. I am from another country. My question is. . . .do i need to go to Nigeria to file for the divorce or can he send the papers to me so i may sign and then file the divorce for us both until the court proceedings.

    Do we need a lawyer as we both have no properties of such…..
    Thank you kindly

  2. Shirley Says:

    Good day ma
    please are couples required to live together for a specific period of time before filling for devorce? Because I am married for less than six months now and want a devorce. G

  3. Marcella Etiobhio Says:

    Hello Shirley from what i have researched a person who files for a divorce need to be in the marriage at least two years…..hope this helps

  4. Kehinde Says:

    Good morning Ma,
    I am a lawyer, practiced for a few years before I stopped but never in divorce proceedings though.
    I have been married for 6 years without a children, problem is from him.
    I noticed he hid his infertility from me.
    He had nothing but mattress, four cushions when we got married. We struggled together, started a company and God started blessing us. He refuses to pay me salary, there is always a fight when I demand for money. Meanwhile he willingly gives his family with so much ease.

    We have also had fights about women and his amorous ways towards them. I have been severally humiliated by his infidelity. Lately, he is in one affair and he doesn’t know I know. He calls the girl and she calls too and sends pictures too.I am keeping quiet and planning the best way to confront him.

    I have planned that if he confesses and seeks help especially with Christian marriage counsellors, I will forgive and continue but I know he will deny and be very proud in it.

    So I have decided to divorce him in the case of the latter.
    I want to represent myself.

    Please educate me on the divorce proceedings.

    Thank you.

  5. Kehinde Says:

    Good morning Ma,
    I am a lawyer, practiced for a few years before I stopped but never in divorce proceedings though.
    I have been married for 6 years without a children, problem is from him.
    I noticed he hid his infertility from me.
    He had nothing but mattress, four cushions when we got married. We struggled together, started a company and God started blessing us. He refuses to pay me salary, there is always a fight when I demand for money. Meanwhile he willingly gives his family with so much ease.

    We have also had fights about women and his amorous ways towards them. I have been severally humiliated by his infidelity. Lately, he is in one affair and he doesn’t know I know. He calls the girl and she calls too and sends pictures too.I am keeping quiet and planning the best way to confront him.

    I have planned that if he confesses and seeks help especially with Christian marriage counsellors, I will forgive and continue but I know he will deny and be very proud in it.

    So I have decided to divorce him in the case of the latter.
    I want to represent myself.

    Please educate me on the divorce proceedings.

    Thank you.

  6. Jum Says:

    Hi. I am married traditionally. My husband is married in registry with another woman but has not been leaving with her for over 6 years and no child from her. He is in court for a divorce. I have a son for him Is there any form of marriage certificate i can get as proof that I am married to him as I intend to change my name to his.

  7. chinedu Says:

    Hi Good day ,
    I am married legally , we did a court marriage at ikoyi in march 2014, I have a daughter for him , Lately he accuse me that I want to kill him because I caught red handed with another woman in his parent house and The parent are support of him, I have all evidence to back up. Now he said we can not leave together again and so he does not want me again.
    Kindly assist me on the necessary process to file a divorce..

    Best Regards
    Chinedu.

  8. sandra obi Says:

    a frd of mine did court n traditional wedding 2yrs ago, BT now seek for divorce.. she have a baby girl which belongs to her ex lover but unknowingly to her hubby before dey got married, she later told her hubby dat d baby isn’t his which he says he can never give d child to anyone, he’s claiming d child… is such case wat do u tink d divorce process n judge will b like?. tnk you

  9. Lynda Ugwuanyi Says:

    Hi Ma,

    I am married with my husband for 13 years with four (4) Children. I ve been physically and emotionally abused by him and I ve been enduring everything because of those kids but the lastly he packed my belongings to my father’s house that he is not no longer interested in the marriage. I have left his house but my kids are still with him. And he has been living a wayward life, bringing in different types of women to the house. Sometimes the children will caught him having sex with his cousin that stays with them at night. How do I go about getting my children to live with me. I am working and can take care of those kids.

  10. Sunday Says:

    Hello ma,
    I had a statutory marriage in Oyo state 2008, been separated since 2013 which state do I file for divorce? Must it be in Ibadan or any state in Nigeria? Don’t have access to the marriage certificate as it has been with her how do I go about it.

    • mz_agams Says:

      You can file for a petition of divorce in any state where you are resident but you have to serve your spouse in the state where she is resident. You can request for a copy of the marriage certificate at the registry where you got married.

  11. Jenny Says:

    Good day ma,

    Thank you for this blog, and your help towards heartbreaking marriages.

    I only had a traditional marriage after I had 2kids for my husband(4yrs & 2yrs old kids) . Now I wish to be divorced from him due to years of neglect, abandonment and several other issues. We don’t even live together. How do I go about getting a divorce while I retain custody of the children and he continues to provide for their upkeep . Do I need to file in court? Please advise me on what to do.

  12. Ola Says:

    Hello Ma,

    Your advice is needed, I am a man currently looking out to file a divorce but I want to take custody of my daughter.

    It’s been 4years as since we got married though we only had traditional marriage and at a registery.

    She is not working, but I am and can take care of my daughter from my little income.

    We do not own any property. I don’t have access to the marriage certificate, but she does. In fact, I have never sighted it since we got married because she kept it with her father.

    So I need your advice as to what can be done to be relieved of the relationship and have my daughter in my care.

  13. Ayotunde Ajibola Says:

    Hello,

    Myself and my husband has been living separately for two years now and we intend to get divorced. I have been leaving in the apartment he rented with our two kids however.

    Would this be considered as living separately or I would have to get an apartment myself.

  14. Kemmy Says:

    We were married for almost 12 years with a daughter to show for it. We’ve been separated over 2 years now and I’ve been living alone. I have been taking care of my daughter right from the beginning and he doesn’t contribute anything as he always claim he never had. I don’t want anything from him. Do i get automatic separation?

  15. Harrison Says:

    Haven received a divorce petition in March 2015 from my partner who became estranged with our children in 2014, the case has been tried to the point that our lawyers have been asked to file written addresses. This has been since August 2016. It baffles me that neither lawyer has appeared in court on 3 subsequent adjourned dates though my attorney tells me I need only appear when Judgement is being delivered.Can another lawyer file this address?

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