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

  1. Endy Kingsley Says:

    Hello madam, my brother has been separated from his ex since 2007 and has been living alone since then till now (22 November, 2015). They only did traditional marriage, no court, no church. He got a letter from a lawyer summoning him to meet with him as regards the woman citing abandonment as the basis..my brother wants to know if she has any claim on his money, child, and properties. Note: she expressly blocked d child from him and also snatched his house from by changing name of ownership. What cn he Do? Thank u,

  2. ola Says:

    Hello,

    How can you divorce a woman who once request that you divorce her and you refused on the fact that she had two issues for you.
    And since one refused to grant her request. Shes frustrating the husband every effort. And now the man is ready to let her go what is the procedure and what to expect when you divorce a woman with two kids

    • mz_agams Says:

      the court will want to know what arrangements the parents of the children are making to ensure that they do not suffer on account of the parents divorce. See a lawyer if you married under statutory law, and file a petition in the high court. The fact you refused before is irrelevant. The fact she has two issues for you doesn’t mean she must stay in a marriage she doesn’t want

  3. anyanime Says:

    Please can a divorce petition be filed in a customary court after being separated for 9 Years? There was only 1 child involved..Thank u

  4. Miss Sja Says:

    I intend to get a divorce elf rom my husband is the 2 year separation mandatory? There’s no physical violence but emotional and verbal ones. Can This be done sooner? And how long does it take. What is the procedure as I am not in the country and don’t intend to come back anytime soon.

  5. DAMOLA Says:

    MY QUESTION GOES THUS:U N UR PARTNER STARTED QUARRELLING OVER SOME ISSUES,EVEN TO SOME EXTEND THAT I WENT BCK TO D REGISTRY DAT HOOKED US TOGETHER,THEY BEGGED HIM N TOLD HIM THEY DONT WANT THE MARRIAGE TO COLLAPSE BUT EVERY BIT OF THE BEGGING WAS IN VAIN.MY QUESTION IS THIS HE DONT CARE ABOUT THE LIVING OF CHILDREN AND THEIR SCHOOL FEES.SHOULD I GO TO THE REGISTRY AND COMPLAIN OR I DONT HAVE THE RIGHT.THANK U.

  6. Funmi Thompson Says:

    Good evening madam. My husband is a chronic abuser in all ramifications . My children and I are scared of him. I was very ok financially some yrs back, until I loaned him some money I was setting aside to start my own day business. The business he used the money for did not yield a penny. In fact it sank us financially. I had expensive watches and jewelry . I mean the ones that had good resale value. To cut a long story short I sold everything I had so that we cloud survive. We lost our house and we had to move to smaller one. Fast word my husband is doing well financially and I don’t have anything. No money,no job and I can’t point my finger at his business or the house he is building on the Island that a part of it belongs to me. On our street he has fathered a child . He has broken my teeth, he once punched me in the nose in public. This man has beaten me to a pulp. I gave him my life, my money and all that I could support a man with. I have nothing to show for it but bruise and abuses. I live in fear of him and no one wants to help because they are afraid of him. I have seen a lawyer and he said I must first find a place to stay. How do I manage that with no money. My husband knows that I have no money

  7. Ayo Says:

    hello, thanks for creating this platform. i am in a marriage which was done in registry 2009 but collapse within one year, we got separated since 2009 till now, am seeking for the divorce, how can i go about it?

    • mz_agams Says:

      Go to a lawyer to file your petition in the High Court. Your case should be straight forward since you have lived apart for more than 3 years. Good luck

  8. Ayotunde Says:

    hello

  9. Ayotunde Says:

    Hello ma, I have been married for over 2 years now with two issues. My husband is a lawyer. It was a court wedding. We have had so many fights in the past that led to him slapping me on several occasions including when I was pregnant.

    We have both decided to get a divorce, though we have only lived apart for almost a year. I need to know if I would have a right to his properties.

    At the beginning of the fight, he was trying to force me into signing a prenuptial agreement, but I refused.

    Can you please advise if I have a right to share his properties even if he claims that it was acquired with his sweat alone. He was also at one point claiming his properties are in his childrens’ names, so I have no right over it.

    Also, in case I don’t have any evidence of these properties, but I know the areas they are situated, can I get an evidence from the ministry of works? is it possible?

    • mz_agams Says:

      Not really. You have only been married two years. the court will only give you property if you can show that you contributed to it. Nigeria is not that advanced yet. But you can try if you have a good lawyer. never hurts to ask. You say its to secure an income and future for the children.

  10. stella Says:

    hello ma,i am in a marriage which was done in registry but collapse within one year and three months with one issue.
    before we married, he had accommodation issue; he begged me to borrowed money for him that he will pay back. i did that, just to help him. so after the wedding, he refused to pay the house rent when it was due. then i was pregnant and he beats me a lot. the landlord gave us letter to quit from the house, to avoid embarrassment, i borrowed money fromk my office to pay the house rent (#120,000).
    after my delivering, the house rent was to due by August, he refuse to pay again. he works in a school and earn 35k, he doesn’t give me money for food. he did not buy anything for my daughter. for baby food is a big problem to him. so he refused to pay the house rent and to rent another apartment. the land lord sent us parking. i bought all the property in the house. so i packed everything and sold it out just to use the money to pay part of the debt. since then we have been living separately . please advice me on how to divorce him. cos we did court wedding. this year august will makes it 2yrs.of our separation.
    i live alone with my daughter and she is doing fine in her school.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Hello. Thanks a lot for this. My wife left me four years ago (separated for four years). I intend to file for divorce soon. We have a daughter who is less than ten years old. Please how long should I expect this to take considering her express consent will not be required (I was told 1month but the source isn’t reliable and that seems rather short to me, but I’ll be glad if it’s true) I really need to know because I really don’t want it to drag for long. I need that chapter of my life over and done with.

  12. Tutu Says:

    Hello ma.
    I got married in 2012, federal high court .we av a daughter bt my husband doesn’t stay in Nigeria.his mum call me almost 2months ago to tell me dat he has impregnated another woman, dat he doesnt want me anymore nd I confirmed it frm him…its almost 2yrs dat he came to Nigeria to see us.pls how do I go abt divorcing him without him takin my daughter frm me cos he said he wuld take my daughter from me nd he has nt been sendin her upkeep for 10months nw.

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