Divorce Process/ Proceedings/ Procedure in Nigeria


In Nigeria, the law has made provision for the possibility of divorce between couples who seek to have one.

There is a laid down procedure to be followed before divorce can be granted by the court.

The Procedure for Divorce in Nigeria

The following is are the steps taken in order to obtain a divorce

Step One

A petition is filed at a court by either of the two parties involved. Upon receipt of the petition, the court will ensure that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

This is done by checking to see if any of the following circumstances is applicable:

  • A continuous willingness of the couple not to consummate the marriage.
  • If either of the two parties can no longer live each other as a result of adultery.
  • That one of the spouse can no longer tolerate the others behavior.
  • A case of abandonment for up to a year from the date the petition was filed.
  • If the couple has been living apart for up to two or three years and none of them objects to have a dissolution.
  • In a case where one party has been missing for some time and has been presumed dead.

Step Two

The court will assess the current situation to make sure that the reasons for which divorce can be granted have been met. These conditions include:

  • Constant drunkenness
  • Cases of Rape, sodomy, or bestiality
  • Regular convictions for crime in respect of which the respondent is sentenced and imprisoned for up to three years
  • Inability to pay maintenance for the petitioner
  • A threat to the life of the petitioner
  • Found to be mentally challenged without any hope of recovery

As long as the court is able to establish any of the above listed scenarios, the petitioner will be granted the right to divorce the respondent.

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