A petitioner can bring a proceeding for a degree of dissolution of marriage in less than two years of marriages without leave of court if since the marriage, the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.

A. True
B. False

26 thoughts on “Monday Ubani Courtroom Mail Prize- Question 2

  1. The laws and Rule that governs Matrimonial causes in Nigeria is the Marriage Act, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1970 and the Matrimonial Causes Rules 1983. The Act provides that the court with jurisdiction that has authority to hear and determine matrimonial causes is the High Court of any State of the Federation as provided under the Section 2 of the Act. The action for dissolution of marriage is ordinarily instituted by a virtue of Petition filed by the person bringing the action called the Petitioner and the party who it is brought against that is called the Respondent. The Respondent replies to the filed petition by a way of Answer or Cross-Petition.

    The law stipulates that a marriage under two (2) years cannot be dissolved; this is called the “two-year rule”. It is provided for under Section 30 of the Act, which provides as follows – “subject to this section proceedings for a decree of dissolution of marriage shall not be instituted within two years after the date of the marriage except by the leave of court”.

    However, to every rule there must be an exception. Consequently, in exceptional cases, a marriage under 2 (two) years can be dissolved where the Petitioner who is bringing the action for divorce, can prove that exceptional hardship or that the case is one that involves exceptional depravity, which will be caused if the marriage is not dissolved, as is provided for under Section 30 (3) of the Act.

    But then, the court in determining the application for leave to institute proceedings of dissolution of the marriage under two years will consider the interest of any children of the marriage and question whether there would be any probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the period of two years after the date of marriage.

    It would be trite to state that before the court dissolves a marriage, the court has the duty to consider the possibility of parties reconciling as provided under the Section 11 of the Act. So before a court in Nigeria dissolves a marital union, it must be satisfied that there is no possibility of parties to reconcile. Sometimes the court may refer the parties to mediation for the sole purpose of possible reconciliation. But where after exploring the possibilities for reconciliation and the parties failed, the court will have no choice but to dissolve the marriage.

    In the instant case, a Petitioner cannot bring an action for dissolution of marriage in less than two years without seeking the leave of the court as the conditions for dissolving the marriage do not fall under the exception as provided under Section 30 (3) of the Marriage Act. Leave of court has to be sought and such cases.

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