Be married before you do your wedding – Part 3

This is the third part of our series. If you’ve read Part 1 or Part 2, we strongly advice you read them before reading this part.

Another main difference between the two is the method of dissolving the marriage. It is easier to dissolve a Customary marriage than it is to dissolve a registry marriage.

The dissolution of Customary marriage largely depends on the custom of the area where the marriage was contracted.

In some areas, it consists in the demand and return of the bride price. In some other areas, it happens when the man takes the wife back to her parents house or her kindred compound with a positive announcement that he no longer wants to marry her.

In some places , a Customary marriage is considered over, if the man openly breaks the clay water pot that the woman brought to the matrimonial home after the marriage!

Generally, then, Customary marriage is dissolved when the parties (or either of them) show clear desire to end it and follow it up with some positive action like notifying the families.

It can also be dissolved by either of the parties approaching a Customary court to put an end to the marriage.

REGISTRY MARRIAGE, on the other hand, is more difficult and cumbersome to dissolve.

You don’t dissolve it by wishful thinking.

You don’t dissolve it by moving out.

You don’t dissolve it by throwing her /his things out.

You don’t dissolve it by staying apart for one year or 3 years or ten years or 20 years.

You don’t dissolve it by both parties agreeing to part without going to court.

You only dissolve it by approaching a high court (not any court), and asking the court to dissolve the marriage.

You will not just tell the court to dissolve it. You will supply reasons for such a request. And this reason will not be based on how you feel. Nor from your head. No.

The law itself provides the reasons. If your reason for wanting a divorce does not dovetail with the ones supplied in the law, the court will not separate you. Your application for dissolution will be refused. You go back and remain married to each other.

Better put, there is only one ground for divorce in registry marriage known to law. Only one. There are 9 facts to prove this one ground.

That is, if you approach the high court to dissolve a registry marriage, your reason (s) for wanting a divorce must fall under one of the “facts”, else the court would not agree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably – which is the only ground for a dissolution.

Clearly, the breakdown of marriage is not a ground for divorce in “court marriage”. For there to be a divorce, the marriage must not only be shown to have broken down.

It must be shown to have broken down irretrievably. And there are “facts” specified by law to prove the sole ground.

Thus, where a broken down marriage can still be retrieved, the court will not dissolve It. The court will choose to err on the side of saving the marriage.

Note that “White wedding”or “church marriage” is not included in this discourse because It is not known to law.

By Aniefiok Udoabasi.