Marriages break down nearly every day with people stating down different reasons the union could not last. Hundreds of couples opt in for divorce even when things have not degenerated to that level.
While divorce is not an interesting topic to an average Nigerian, it is important to know the things that may lead to an irretrievable break down of marriage and at what point it becomes an option.
Adultery which involves the consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse is a solid ground on which a case of divorce can be built. Infidelity in marriage often weakens the walls of the union making the couples susceptible to other problems that may creep in and destroy the relationship.
The matrimonial act basically has one ground for divorce. Section 15(1) of the law lists divorce as an option when there is a complete and irretrievable breakdown of the marriage while section 15(2) focuses on the various things that constitute a breakdown. This section of the law gives the petitioner the right to list the things that would make it possible for the marriage to be dissolved.
When adultery is being listed as a ground for divorce, the key legal elements has to be mentioned. These include sexual intercourse and the proof that a party is married. The petitioner also has to prove that living with the respondent, the person who is the offender, has become unbearable.
It should be noted that when adultery is tendered as a ground on which a divorce case is being built, substantial evidence has to be presented in the court. Proving a case of adultery is not always direct; thus, the court accepts confessions, unnecessary acquaintances, admissions, suspicious activities and cohabitation as proof.
The various examples laid down as proof should not be strange as couples often find themselves growing apart when one person is actively involved with another person. A spouse may find his or her partner’s attitude a little different and may attribute it to the presence of another sex.
This may be true since people nurse various ideas in their heads before actually going on with the act. It is only in a few cases that many caught in the act confess not to have premeditated it.
Irretrievable breakdown of marriage could apart from adultery, be proved through other ways. When a spouse keeps doing things that make it difficult for the persons involved to live happily, then the marriage is being broken gradually. This includes constant drunkenness, refusal to pay the bills, sodomy and other grave offences.
As with adultery when some married persons end up abandoning their partners because of their active involvement with the persons they are cheating with, a marriage could break down. Desertion is a proven fact on which marriages could break as the unseen partner might have abandoned the union.
With desertion as a case, the marriage could be considered broken when a person leaves his spouse for a continuous period of at least one year before a divorce case is filed. The consent of a couple would be needed in a situation whereby the persons involved have lived apart for a period of at least two years. The married persons in this case must both agree to wanting a divorce.
Their affair with the different people they are dating might have made them lose interest in the marriage. Alternatively, the married persons may see other reasons they need to stand alone after going through the emotional torture caused by adultery.
A marriage could be said to be irretrievably broken when a married person has failed in his or her obligatory rights. A spouse’s failure to comply with the conjugal rights made by the law for a time not lesser than a year may give the other person the right to seek divorce.
The aggrieved party might have made a request for the spouse to yield in to his or sexual needs as ordained by the law before things get to the point where the marriage is considered broken.
Conclusively, a marriage may be considered broken when a party goes missing for a period as long as seven years. Under the law, a person who is missing for as long as that is declared dead. Thus, the concerned partner may not be bound by the matrimonial laws.
Although the above gives clear reasons marriage may be considered irretrievably broken with divorce considered to be the next line of action, it is important for concerned persons to speak to qualified lawyers who may advise them better.
Watch the NAIJ.com TV video below to see the response given by some Nigerians when asked about how long a person should stay when dealing with domestic violence: