Litigation, Insights

Procedure for Dissolution of Marriage Under Customary Law

The process for dissolution of a marriage in Nigeria depends on whether the couple entered into a statutory marriage or a traditional marriage. Customary marriages are dissolved in line with the customs and traditions of the locality where the marriage was contracted, while statutory marriages are dissolved in accordance with the applicable laws governing marriage in Nigeria.

The process for ending a statutory marriage is outlined in the applicable enactments and court regulations, in contrast to the mainly unwritten process for ending a customary marriage. The goal of this article is to examine the process for dissolution of customary marriage.
Meaning and nature of customary marriage
Customary marriage is a union of a man and a woman in accordance with the custom and tradition to which they are both subject. Custom is generally defined as “a way of life”. It is a rule that over years of application in a particular district, has obtained the force of law. Customary law is the organic or living law of the indigenous people of Nigeria regulating their lives and transactions.

Customary marriage differs from statutory marriage in certain ways, yet it is nonetheless recognised as legal in the eyes of the law. One illustration is polygamy. While polygamy is forbidden under formal marriage, it is legal under customary law for a man to have multiple wives. Where a man maintains his marriage with his one wife under customary marriage, he is deemed potentially polygamous and does not become polygamous until he marries another wife…

 

 

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