Divorce Laws in Nigeria

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The Divorce Laws in Nigeria is all-encompassing and has put into consideration various scenarios that could lead to a dissolution of marriage.

In 1990, Matrimonial Causes Act was developed and became a part of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. This is represented in Chapter 220, section 15 & 16.

The Matrimonial relief section covers areas which include:

  • Reconciliation
  • Hearing when reconciliation fails.
  • Statements, etc., made in course of attempt to effect reconciliation.
  • Marriage conciliator to take oath of secrecy.

On the dissolution of marriage areas covered include issues pertaining to:

  • Grounds for dissolutionof marriage.
  • Additional provisions to encourage reconciliation.
  • Constructive desertion.
  • Refusal to resume cohabitation.
  • Desertion continuing after insanity.
  • Restriction on finding of non-consummation.
  • Aggregation of concurrent sentences in reckoning imprisonment.
  • Restriction on finding of non-maintenance.
  • Restriction on finding of insanity.
  • Power to refuse to make decree without maintenance, etc., in proper case.
  • Condonation and connivance.
  • Collusion
  • Discretionary bars.
  • No dissolution where petition for nullity before court.
  • Petition within two years of marriage.
  • Claims for damages.
  • Joinder of adulterers an so on.
  • Effect of dissolution of marriage.
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For Nullity of marriage areas represented in the law include:

  • Ground for decree of nullity of marriage.
  • Who may institute proceedings.
  • Incapacity to consummate marriage.
  • Restrictions on certain grounds.
  • Effect of decree of nullity of a voidable marriage.
  • Judicial separation
  • Grounds for judicial separation.
  • Application to judicial separation of sundry sections of this Part.
  • Effect of decree of judicial separation.
  • Effect on rights to sue, devolution of property, etc.
  • Exercise of joint powers not affected.
  • Decree of judicial separation not to bar subsequent proceedings for dissolution of marriage.
  • Discharge of decree of judicial separation on resumption of cohabitation.
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The Divorce law is very clear and should therefore be the point of reference for any case of divorce in Nigeria.


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