Legal Question in Family Law in Nigeria

i am a mother married in year 2000 separated for 7yrs and the children a male and female of ages 15 and 12 with me. now i am 7months pregnant for another man. what do i do?

Asked on 1/12/16, 7:38 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Israel Usman Classfield Solicitors


In the circumstances, divorce seems obvious.

You did not indicate the type of marriage you contracted, or the circumstances under which you live apart. It is difficult to know if it was dessertion or cruelty or living apart by agreement.

Assuming that it was a marriage in the registry or a church wedding (either of which would entail a marriage certificate), you could opt for a simple divorce procedure on the ground of living apart for a period of more than 3 years. Under this, you do not have to prove guilt or otherwise of any of the parties. The law assumes that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The fact of your pregnancy will, therefore, not count against you in the circumstances.

The other reason for considering divorce is your pregnancy outside marriage. You did not indicate if you intend to marry the new man in your life. Even then, having o child outside marriage could be a ground of the child being illegitimate (including the effect of the child not being able to inherit any part of the father's estate). You need to tidy up issues about the current marriage and sort out the issue of the new child's legitimacy.

You need to bear in mind the issue of custody. The law is mainly concerned with the spouse better able to take care of the children. (I don't mean financial ability. Even if the children are with you, the court will order him to provide financial support.) Most courts prefer the female child to stay with their mother. In your case, you could also argue that it is better for the two children not to be separated, and that since the girl needs to stay with you, the boy should too. This will not prevent access by their father at reasonable times or them spending time with him during holidays.

Please note that my opinion here is not final. I do not have all the facts. I also don't know the state in which you reside and laws differ from place to place in regard to legitimacy. Please consult a lawyer in the state in which you are resident.

Thank you

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Answered on 2/01/16, 12:20 pm

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