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Divorce in Nigeria: Frequently asked questions



Divorce in Nigeria, is one of the controversial topics in Nigeria. We have assembled most of the questions often asked about divorce and legal answers to them.

First,Who are Parties to divorce proceeding?

The parties to divorce proceeding are the Petitioner and the Respondent. The person who filed the petition for divorce is the “petitioner” while, the Person sued is the “Respondent”.

In rare cases, where the petitioner alleges adultery, a third party may be joined as co-respondent– the party who is alleged to have committed the adultery with the other spouse.


What are Divorce Papers in Nigeria?

The divorce papers include:

  • The notice of petition,
  • The petition for dissolution of marriage,
  • Verifying Affidavit,
  • The notice of Trial duly signed by the Registrar,
  • The request to set Suit down for Trial,
  • The Registrar’s Certificate that suit is set down for trial.
  • A copy of the certificate of marriage attached to the application.

How do you get divorce in Nigeria?

To get divorce in Nigeria, you need the services of a lawyer. So, you have to hire a lawyer who will file the legal processes required to secure your divorce. It is not what a lay person can do.

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When you hire a lawyer, your lawyer will file the petition for dissolution of marriage together with its accompanying processes.

The processes aforesaid, will be served on your partner. Your partner will hire his own lawyer to defend him or her. In rare cases, your partner will just ignore the divorce processes. In this case, the divorce is uncontested.

What is the Ground for dissolution of marriage under Nigerian law?

In Nigeria, there is one ground for dissolution of marriage. As stipulated by section 15 of the matrimonial causes Act, the only ground for dissolution of marriage in Nigeria is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The factor upon which court will infer that the marriage has broken down irretrievably are also stated in the said Section 15 of the Act and there are:

  • Lack of consumation
  • Adultery
  • Irresponsible behaviour
  • Living apart for 2 years and the Responsdent does not object to the divorce
  • Living apart for 3 years or more
  • Presumption of death after 7 years without seeing or hearing from one’s spouse.
  • Dessertion.

What are the requirement for divorce in Nigeria?

The first requirement is that there muat be a ground upon which the divorce is sought. The ground gas been stated above.

Secondly, the Marriage must have lasted for more than 2 years. This is often referred to as the two year rule. The only way for spouses to get divorce when their marriage has not lasted up to 2 years is if any of those conditions stipulated in Section 15 and 16(a) and (b)  occurs.

How to get a quick divorce in Nigeria?

People usually refer to uncontested or easy divorce as quick divorce.

There is nothing like quick divorce in Nigeria. No divorce is quick. It is immaterial that the divorce is contested or uncontested. Both contested and uncontested divorce take the same procedure.

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The factors that can hasten your divorce are: The availability of judges, lawyers, money, and non-contentious issues.

What are the stages of divorce in Nigeria?

Divorce in Nigeria comes in different stages:

  • Pre-Hearing Stages
  • Hearing Stages and
  • Post Hearing Stages

The pre-hearing stages include the time, you meet lawyer in his office for the first time, the period of the interview, the filing and service of processes on your spouse, the mentioning and pre-trial stage.

The hearing stage is the stage where parties give evidence in Court. In Nigeria, parties file their evidence as witness statement on Oath. They adopt same in court as their evidence. After the adoption of the witness statement on oath, the witness will be cross-examined and discharged.

The Post Hearing stage, includes the filing and adoption of final written address, and Judgement of Court.

How long does it take to divorce in Nigeria?

When it comes to duration of divorce, there are a lot of factors that can determine how long your divorce may last.

First, it depends on whether the divorce is contested or not. Uncontested divorce in Nigeria, can last upto 6 months but contested divorce in Nigeria can last up to 1 year or more.

How long divorce last also depends on the availability of judges and the lawyers of both parties. Supervening circumstances like strike or holidays can also prolong the duration of divorce proceedings.

Who does Court award Custody of Children?

When it comes to custody of children, there are a lot of factors court consider before awarding custody to either spouse.These factors include:

  • The age of the Child
  • The financial capabilities of the Child
  • The General welfare of the child
    Court will always give premium to the general welfare of a child before deciding who to award custody in terms of the moral upbringing, the educational need of the child and the psychological need of the child.
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Thus, if the child is drawn to a particular spouse
if thechild is so tender that maternal care is most preferred. if the child’s education will be hampered if he changes school or location
Which of the spouses has the financial strength to take care of the child. In determining this, the court may ask the parties to state their means of livelihood under oath.

How to file for divorce in Nigeria

To file for divorce in Nigeria, you need to hire a lawyer.(You can as well call on one of our lawyers in Courtsarena using any of this lines: 08148970746. 07062392662. Barr.Ngwu Michael) Your lawyer will file the divorce processes for you.

Do you need to appear in Court to get Divorce?

Yes. You will be required to come to court during the hearing stage. It is immaterial that your partner is not contesting the divorce. You will be still be required to come and adopt your statement on oath and where the suit is contested, you will be cross-examined. As regards the other stages of divorce, your presence can be dispensed with. But if you chose to aappear, it is still allowed.

How long after divorce can you remarry in Nigeria?

Nigerian laws are silent on issue of how long one can stay after divorce for you to remarry. What is certain, is that you cannot remarry when the divorce suit is still pending, and you cannot remarry when the order nisi has not been made absolute.

But once the order nisi has been made absolute, you can contract a new marriage. The order nisi last for and it is the first order made which takes effect immediately after judgement of court.Within the time the order nisi is made,

How does Divorce cost in Nigeria?

Divorce in Nigeria is relatively cheap compared to its cost in Western Countries. In Nigeria, divorce cost as much as 600, 000. Lawyers Charges takes more than 90% of the total cost, while the remaining 10% goes to cost of filing processes and the bailiff charges.

For more on Cost of divorce in Nigeria, read our article on cost of Divorce in Nigeria.


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