Dissolution of marriage popularly called divorce is the putting an end to a lawful marriage by a decree of dissolution. The application for dissolution of marriage is instituted by a petition in the High Court by a petitioner seeking to bring an end to the marriage.
The High Court does not grant the dissolution of marriage without the petitioner proving competent facts to support the dissolution. The laws that guide divorce in Nigeria is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1970 and The Matrimonial Causes Rule 1983.
The Act stipulates that a marriage under two (2) years cannot be dissolved, this is called the two year rule provided for under Section 30 of (the Act) which states that “subject to this section proceedings for a decree of dissolution of marriage shall not be instituted within two years after the date of the marriage except by the leave of court”. Thus to institute a petition for a marriage less than 2 years, the permission of the court must be sought by a motion ex-parte along with the petition for divorce.
In our previous article, we extensively discussed the divorce process in Nigeria.
Grounds for Dissolution
There is technically a sole ground for which the petition for dissolution of marriage can be instituted, which is that “the marriage has broken down irretrievably.” This means that the cause of the breakdown is so severe that the marriage cannot be saved. The ground can be proved through these facts provided in Section 15 (2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1970 as follows:
A petition for dissolution of marriage can be presented on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and the court upon hearing the petition will only grant the order for dissolution of marriage where the petitioner satisfies the court of one or more of the facts listed above.
By Family Law Department at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria