No one goes into marriage anticipating that it may get toxic along the way and parties would have to go their separate ways. When taking marital vows our hearts and minds are set on together forever until death do us part. We are excited, overwhelmed with all the activities and attention. It is all fun and games until it just isn’t anymore. A friend of mine used to say; “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”. This is the reason why you must endeavor to PREPARE for the worst case scenario while HOPING for the best. 

As a little girl I witnessed the marriage of friends to my family go awry. The man was a Deacon at our church and our home fellowship coordinator. The wife was a house wife, while her husband was doing well job wise. They lived in a massive duplex built by him in a highbrow area, fancy cars and the likes, quite affluent in all respects. Their marriage seemed very Christian-like and somewhat perfect until it went south. The man wanted a divorce. Pastors, church members, family & friends intervened all to no avail. He was tired of the marriage for whatever reason and was ready to call it quits. He even stopped attending the church, he shut down to everyone. He asked his wife out of his house and she had to leave with basically nothing to her name. Their marriage had lasted for over 20 years and she had nothing to show for it. She couldn’t even afford to rent an apartment. The house, cars and everything else were all registered in his name. Her standard of living dropped drastically and she was visibly struggling in need of aid from church members.

 

These things still happen. People change; marriages become worn out, love dies, anything can happen. Are you prepared for that eventuality? Every married woman or soon to be married in this country, please note these points;

 

If you are married under customary/traditional law, customary laws are more beneficial to the men in this country and in time of trouble you can only seek redress in a customary court. Your matter will be decided according to the dictates of your husband’s custom and not statutory law. e.g. if your husband were to die without leaving a will, his assets will be shared according to his custom and you could very well end up with nothing.

 

White wedding is not the same as statutory marriage and very few churches are licensed by the government to conduct marriages worthy of conferring statutory status. It is much safer to conduct a court marriage thereby ensuring that your marriage is governed by the Marriage Act.

 

While acquiring property as a couple, please ensure that your name is on the title documents. Not as Mr. & Mrs. Jakande rather as Mr. kunle David Jakande & Mrs. Nkechi Blessing Jakande. Anything short of this may be problematic. Also please ensure that not only is your name on the contract of sale or deed of assignment, but also on the final title document (i.e. C of O) as registered at the lands registry in the state where the property is acquired.

 

Those of you who say he is a Muslim, I am a Christian, but it doesn’t matter as long as we love each other. No problem. I’m not saying it matters, but if you are getting married under Nikkai, your marriage is instantly governed by Sharia law which is substantially different from the provisions of the Marriage Act. So whether if it be for dissolution of marriage or child custody, find out what the laws governing your marriage are.

 

If you choose to be a non-working house wife or stay at home mum, driving cars in your husband’s name, living in a house or having properties registered solely in his name, and using bank account(s) to which you are not a signatory, listen, that marriage, family and love is built on the security of one and insecurity of another.

 

Esiri is a legal counsel with Chief Rotimi Williams Chambers with specialty in litigation, contract and commercial law, property law and family law. She is a great educator & propagator of women’s rights and the essential need for gender equality. This article has been sponsored and brought to you by Dayo Abiola – Nigeria’s Foremost Logo Making Company. www.dayoabiola.com and syndicated by Marapolsa with rights as official social media publisher to over 500k readers.