This article is about the cost of filing for or getting a divorce in Nigeria this 2020. In simple terms, divorce is the process of dissolving a marriage when the married parties are no longer willing to continue in matrimony based on certain irreconcilable differences. The truth is that they may still be in love with each other but for certain things that cannot be agreed upon, they may decide to end their marriage.
Divorce processes are not pleasant experiences, they leave many families emotionally scarred. Many people however do not mind this, as they see divorce as the best option to take in a failing marriage where they may have endured many unpleasant experiences, rather than to stay and fight to save the marriage. Because divorce has many after effects, whether for or against, it is advisable that those seeking to divorce each other be well informed of the process.
ARE THERE LAWS FOR DIVORCE IN NIGERIA?
In Nigeria today, there are many laws guiding the divorce process but the major ones are two (2) in number, and they are: Matrimonial Causes Act (MCA) Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990, and Matrimonial Causes Rules. These two, along with the several other laws that guide the processes of divorce in the country, help to drive forward the dissolution of a marriage in Nigeria presently.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS OR GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN NIGERIA?
Before any divorce can go through in Nigeria, the marriage must have broken down completely, this is the main ground on which a court of law is entitled to dissolve a marriage in the country and according to Section 15 (2)(a) – (h) of the Matrimonial Causes Act (MCA) 1990 there are 8 classes of breakdowns in marriages that must happen for a divorce to go through and they are:
- that the respondent has persistently and willfully refused to consummate the marriage
- that since the marriage the Respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent
- that since the marriage the respondent has behaved in such a manner that the petitioner can’t reasonably be expected to live with the respondent
- that the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a constant period of at least one year immediately preceding the presentation of the petition
- that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a constant period of a minimum of 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the respondent as well as the petition doesn’t object to a decree being granted
- that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a constant period of a minimum of 3 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition
- that the other party to the marriage has, for a period of not less than one year failed to comply with a decree or perhaps restitution of conjugal rights made under that Act
- that the other party to the marriage has been absent from the petitioner for a time that is such and in circumstances that are such as to provide good grounds for presuming that he or perhaps she is dead.
The above grounds for divorce have captured the many reasons that can establish why a couple may seek to dissolve their marriage, but in reality, each and every one of them may also pose huge difficulties to establish in court. That said, it is advisable that those seeking to dissolve their marriage contact a competent lawyer to discuss the specific reasons why they want to divorce each other in order for the lawyer to understand where they are coming from so that he or she can help explain what the issue really is and how it fits into one or more of the above mentioned grounds for divorce.
HOW LONG CAN A DIVORCE CASE CAN LAST IN NIGERIA?
Divorce processes involving a customary marriage may last for as long as two months in a customary court, and this usually involves a case where there are actually no contentions. However, the duration of divorce proceedings involving a statutory marriage in a High Court may last up to six months or more. A highly contentious divorce case could last over two years before it can be concluded.
WHAT IS THE COST OF GETTING A DIVORCE IN NIGERIA?
There is no fixed cost of getting a divorce in Nigeria presently and this is due to the fact that most divorce cases in the country are often controversial or disputed. Dissolution of a marriage is a legal process which can be won and lost, and because of the complications and sensitivity of the matter, many lawyers would often charge fees based on their experience, competence and nature of contention that has led the parties involved to seek divorce.
Generally, the cost of filing for a divorce in Nigeria depends on the cost of hiring an experienced lawyer for to handle the case. On the average, the price ranges from anything between ₦250,000 – ₦1 million or more seeing that all lawyers do not charge the same amount.