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Dissolution Of Marriage And Child Custody Under Nigerian Law

Dissolution Of Marriage And Child Custody Under Nigerian Law


This study effort was concerned with the dissolution of marriage and parental rights in Nigeria. The first objective was to identify whether or not the court has any say in the custody of the child after the dissolution of a marriage, and the second objective was to determine what laws govern the child after the dissolution of a marriage. A total of 80 participants consented to participate in this survey-based research study. The participants in the research supplied a total of 77 valid responses, and all of the respondents were human rights commission employees. Chi-square was the statistical method used to test the hypothesis (SPSS).




 Chapter one


1.1Background of the study

The growth and development of contemporary society in Nigeria, as well as the current social, political, and economic pains (especially in a recessionary economy), that are being inflicted on a per second basis on the majority of Nigerians, have had a grave or negative impact on the longevity and sustainability of marriages in general, and marriages based on customary law in particular.

The subsequent challenges and issues that are prevalent in many relationships in the current world aggressively push the boundaries of the survival envelope for the majority of marriages, resulting in a rise in occurrences of separation or divorce. Unavoidably, issues pertaining to the dissolution of marriage in general, as well as the ancillary reliefs of custody and maintenance of the children (if any) of such failed marriages, have been thrust back to the forefront of legal discourse in recent years.

This is particularly true of the dissolution regime applicable to marriages entered into in accordance with customary law, whose formality and rigor are less stringent than those of statutory marriages. Marriage, Dissolution Of Marriage, and child custody in Nigeria are controlled by a multitude of diverse customs, usages, and traditions owing to the country’s diverse people and culture. These vary significantly based on location. There is a strong sign of unity amid this diversity. To enable the distillation of some norms of customary law of marriage in the examined regions, it is necessary to identify rules that are shared by or similar to the majority of these groups (


There is no doubt that the rules governing customary marriage vary from location to location, if one may say so from time to time, just like every other rule of customary law, anywhere; however, it is difficult to accept the claim that despite this, we are unable to identify the fundamental requirements for a valid customary marriage. In this sense, we have a “Law” of marriage that varies from place to location based on the customs of the local population. In other words, this marriage “Law” is not standardized.

Each of these many customary marriage laws has its own set of basic and essential rules that govern the establishment of legally valid customary marriages, as well as concerns such as divorce and child custody. This study’s major objective is to provide an in-depth investigation of the legal system that regulates marriages regulated by customary law from the perspective of dissolution, child custody, maintenance, and other issues related with such marriages. (Anyafulude, 2012)


Who will have legal responsibility for a couple’s children after the dissolution of their marriage might be one of the most contentious aspects of the dissolution of a marriage under customary law or any other kind of marriage. If a customary court chooses to dissolve a marriage created under customary law, the legislation regulating customary courts in each state that has approved the creation of customary courts contains rules for deciding who would have custody of any children born of the marriage. Under customary law, the jurisdiction of Customary Courts in Edo State regarding guardianship and custody of children is unfettered. This is because the Customary Courts Act of 1984 from the dissolved state of Bendel is applicable to Edo State.


In the majority of traditional legal systems, the biological father has an unrestricted right to primary physical custody of any children from a marriage. When the father dies, the right is transferred to the oldest son, who becomes the head of the family. Despite the fact that the mother may be responsible for the day-to-day care of the children, the father should also be involved.


However, while the children are still impressionable and in need of the care and love of their mother, they are retained in the custody of their mother until they can be safely and appropriately removed from their mother, at which point they are returned to their father. Throughout the course of Nigeria’s history, several judicial decisions have interpreted this aspect of customary law.

In the great majority of instances, they have backed this concept. It is crucial to note, however, that rigid adherence to this custom is fast becoming less popular. When determining who will have custody of the children from a typical marriage in the present day, a variety of separate factors are often considered. Consequently, decisions such as the one made in Abiakam v. Anuawu, in which the court upheld the primary of the absolute right of a father to custody of children until they reach the age of majority, and the decision made by the Delta State Customary Court of Appeal in an unreported case of Mbanoso v. Mbanoso in respect of custody, in which the court stated:


As previously said, “We have noted that in most systems of customary law in Nigeria, the father of a legitimate kid or legitimated child has an absolute claim to custody of the child, and that most courts have taken judicial notice of this; so, it is not necessary to show this explicitly.” This comment was made in regard to the fact that the majority of Nigerian courts have taken this into consideration.


As part of its judgement in Okwueze v. Okwueze, the Nigerian Supreme Court revised and undermined the constitution. In this case, the Supreme Court declared that even while it recognizes the father’s superior rights, such right will not be enforced if it would be detrimental to the children’s welfare. This was the conclusion of the court. In the context of cases requiring judicial dissolution of marriage, however, there has been legislative engagement in this subject (


Statement of the problem


Even though the child is the product of a conventional marriage, the topic of child custody is not controlled by custom. Rather, it belongs within the sphere of child rights, and only the courts have the jurisdiction to make judgments about such things. In Nigeria, Dissolution Of Marriage undertaken in accordance with customary law are acknowledged as valid and lawful. There are no state or federal regulations governing traditional weddings. The researcher seeks to investigate the legal reasons for divorce and the division of parental duties under Nigerian law based on the history of the study.


Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the whether court have influence in the custody of the child after dissolution of marriage
  2. To find out the law that govern the child after marriage dissolution

Significance of the study

Students, teachers, and parents will find the study’s conclusions to be of tremendous significance. This study will shed light on the many facets of Nigerian law dealing to Dissolution Of Marriage and child custody. The work will also be beneficial as a resource for other academics who may pursue a related subject in the future.


Scope and limitation of the study

In the framework of Nigerian law, the Dissolution Of Marriage and child custody arrangements are evaluated as part of the scope of this study.


The researcher must struggle with a variety of limitations, with the following being among the most significant:


Because there is insufficient study material at the researcher’s disposal, the examination must be limited in scope.


Due to the fact that the researcher is compelled to combine the study with other academic activities and exams, the time provided for the study does not allow for a more comprehensive examination.


Dissolution Of Marriage And Child Custody Under Nigerian Law




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