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Divorce: Prevention and processes

By Kayode Olabanji
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They stand before family, friends, loved ones and religious priests, and proclaim love one to another, while taking an oath to live together in health, in sickness and through all unforeseen situations till death do them part, being a lifetime commitment.

Consequently, the dissolution of a marriage is always an unhappy affair. It is marked by a sense of disappointment, the loss of dream and expectations.

People want to live peacefully in their matrimonial home, so a divorce does not occur just out of the blues, but something that builds over a period of time. But the couple may take things for granted and problems may escalate into a divorce.

Looking at the world today, the rate at which couples approach the court, filing for divorce is alarming, even those who can be described as newly-weded. Marriages of between two to six years are already hitting the rocks.

Does that mean the love between them has faded within that short period of time? But in the olden days, couples commonly live together happily for more than 70 years. The new trend is unfortunate.

A civil servant, Mr Adekanmi Idowu, who is a divorcee, while sharing his experience with Hope Classics, said that prayer is the key to a successful marriage, which would help to know the spouse you should, based on destiny, be married to.

“The woman I got married to with pump and pageantry, spending a lot of money is not the one in my home now. Why? because we were not destined to live together as a couple.

“All my effort to make the home stand proved abortive, even after two children. I had to file for a divorce when I noticed that my life was at stake.

“The period we spent together was hell. Things were so hard, nothing was moving for me. Then I gradually distanced myself from her, and in the process I got to know that something is wrong with our being together. Then I quit the marriage.

“My present wife that I did not spend much on, like paying dowry or performing any ceremony, is the one I derive comfort, peace from, and financially I am better, to the extent that my family members and friends noticed the differences.

“Even having a time for courtship can only be of little help, unlike if God leads you to pick your destined spouse.

“One should also be watchful about the church he or she attends. Lack of home training and pride are also issues to be considered.”

An Akure based legal practitioner, Mr Mike Ejide (esq) who has handled series of divorce cases in the court, while speaking with Hope Classics, said that it takes the grace of God to sustain a marriage.

His words: “Marriage is commonly known as a union between two persons. When they fall in love, the next thing is to get married, not minding the nitty-gritty of it.

“Infidelity is among the top reasons couples end their marriages. When a partner finds someone more interesting than their spouse, he or she may cheat.

“Expectation is also part of it, when the partner cannot meet up with the needs of the others, then they have a problem.”

Ejide further stated that lack of trust, lack of communication, lack of money, overbearing disposition of a partner, less excitement, less sexual interest, differences in cultural backgrounds, sickness are also reasons for marriage dissolution.

“Sex plays an important role in marriage, and as the relationship develops, one may enjoy the sexual activity and the other may find it boring.

“To reduce the spate of marriage dissolution, couples must learn to endure, learn how to be accommodative, tolerant and not to react to every issue.

“Some enter into marriage because their friend got married not knowing that a lot is attached to it, more than the so-called wedding ceremony, and they may later find the marriage too difficult to handle.”

Another legal practitioner, Mr Bamiduro Emmanuel (esq), in his own view said that it is obvious that the court cannot dissolve a marriage without a solid ground.

“We have customary law marriage and common law marriage in Nigeria. Customary law Marriage is a marriage according to the custom. It does not require a special process. So far cohabitation, consummation and conception has been established between the parties, it is presumed that there is a marriage between them. And if they have not gone to the mosque or church it can be narrowed down to customary law marriage.

“It is only the High Court that has jurisdiction over common law marriage. This is not so in the case of customary law marriage, which the customary court, both Grade A and Grade B has jurisdiction over.

“Ondo State as a case study has empowered both Grade A and Grade B customary courts to exercise jurisdiction over customary law marriage as the case may be. There is no much difference between the power of grade A and grade B customary courts.

“The grade A customary court has unlimited jurisdiction in matrimonial cases and matters between persons mainly under customary law or arising from or connected with a christian marriage as defined in section 1 of the criminal code.

Your Law Degree is no longer enough – NBA chief

By Kayode Olabanji

Second National Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Foluke Dada, has said that a Law degree is not enough for a lawyer newly called to the Nigerian Bar.

Foluke Dada had made this statement in a keynote speech delivered through the chairman of NBA Ikere Ekiti, Olufayo Olorunfemi, in a representative capacity at the 2018 legal aid CDS law week dinner at Aare Afe Babalola Bar Center, High Court premises, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.

Speaking on the theme of the Legal Aid Law Dinner which is ”What’s Next: Life After Service Year,” Mr. Olorunfemi delivered a three-pronged message around the theme. According to him, he had simply added another pillar as a matter of necessity.

Commenting on the first of the tripod which is ‘the need for personal and professional development’, he said that, the Law degree of the young wigs is not enough to give them the desired success in the profession being that, competition in the system will necessarily demand that lawyers improve themselves.

”Your Law degree is no longer enough. This is not to in any way belittle the quality of your Law degree, but a challenge to ask yourself how many hundreds of thousands of us have the Law degree.

”The question, therefore, underlining your success in the profession is what extra value you are bringing to the table in this fast-paced, technology-driven world, where if one sneezes in Colorado, the ripple effect is felt across the globe even to my remote village in Oke Aiyedun Ekiti.

”We live in a world where as a lawyer, you are expected to draw up tripartite agreements involving businesses in multiple countries, with multiple financial institutions, involving different currencies and legal frameworks. You cannot afford to be ordinary. Your competition is in Shanghai, Maldives, New York, Toronto, Enugu, Abakaliki, Tema and everywhere else in the world,” he said.

Speaking further, he said that to compete on the global stage, the knowledge of a second language is an added advantage. He, therefore, urged them to take professional courses, join regional and International Bar Association, expand their network, adding that, they shouldn’t be local champions. He also enjoined them to take up the challenge before them as they are lawyers operating in an era of global technology.

”Challenge yourself to do more and be more. The greater majority of my audience today belong to the Millennial. You guys are tech savvy with a very vibrant social media presence, you are impatient and sometimes in a hurry to nowhere and everywhere. May I admonish you to spend more time building and strengthening your roots. This you can do through pupillage and mentorship.

“Pupillage is the art of training through learning in an experienced Lawyer’s chamber. This is a period where as a young lawyer you are working under the supervision of a senior for the purpose of acquiring better knowledge and experience. Mentorship is also similar to pupillage.

”Mentors provide guidance, coaching, motivation, advice, support, and training from experience. This is very common in academics. To excel as a pupil or mentee you must exhibit a willingness to learn and most importantly value the time of your Senior or Mentor. Show respect,” he said.

Also, he spoke on the second limb which to him is Integrity. According to him, it is very important to build one’s integrity as it is a determinant factor for a lawyer’s success.

”At the risk of sounding very cliché your character is all you have as a Lawyer. It is important that you build your integrity. Spend time cultivating good characters of honesty, probity, sincerity, decency, fairness, be upright, be honourable, be humble. The pride they say goes before a fall. Iwa l’Oba awure. Your character will distinguish you. It will set you apart. Do not be an anyhow or anything goes person. Stand for something.

”Your character will define your humanity, your empathy and your ethos. The fight against corruption starts with you. In your individual space be a light that shines always on the side of equity and justice. Remember this is a noble profession. No matter the number of degrees and affiliations you have if you are of poor character there is not much you can achieve. A good character will open doors unto you,” he added.

Conclusively, he extensively spoke on the third pillar, patience, which he had unavoidably added to complete the tripod. To him, every lawyer who wants to succeed in the profession must be patient as nothing good comes easy. He stressed that there is time for everything, as Rome was not built in a day.

”Dear colleagues, there is a time for everything. Success is a journey. There is no shortcut to the top. Every good thing takes time. Rome they say was not built in a day neither was Oke Ayoba built in a day. You must be willing to wait. Do not count your chicks before they are hatched. While waiting, be of good cheer.

”Trust me with patience, hard work and perseverance, you are unstoppable. Do not forget that you are running an individual race. Competition is healthy but do not be consumed by unhealthy rivalry. Know your strength and focus on the things that come naturally to you. Do not define yourself by other people’s standards. The goal is to be the best you possibly can be.

”The beauty of our profession is the flexibility and diversity it offers. You can excel in any area of practice you decide to go to. My Criminal Law teacher, Prof. Yemisi Bamgbose just became the 1st female Professor to earn the Silk. There are lawyers in virtually every sector of human endeavour. Find a niche area and chart a path for yourself. It is better to be a big fish in a small pond than just another fish in the ocean. Do not be afraid to start small. Seek healthy partnership and collaborations. No man is an island of knowledge. Consider your options carefully, be critical in your thinking. Control your emotions. Do not take impulsive decisions. Learn financial discipline and prudence,” he said.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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