Journal Article

TERMINATION OF MARRIAGE IN NIGERIAN FAMILY LAWS: THE NEED FOR REFORM AND THE RELEVANCE OF THE TANZANIAN EXPERIENCE

ANDREAS RAHMATIAN

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 10, issue 3, pages 281-316
Published in print December 1996 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online December 1996 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/10.3.281
TERMINATION OF MARRIAGE IN NIGERIAN FAMILY LAWS: THE NEED FOR REFORM AND THE RELEVANCE OF THE TANZANIAN EXPERIENCE

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Nigeria enacted the Matrimonial Causes Act in 1970 to regulate the dissolution of statutory marriage. But this limitation to statutory marriage only entails shortcomings in respect of the other marriage systems that are also found in Nigeria: customary and Islamic marriage. All three systems, based on very different traditions, are, in principle, largely incompatible. This becomes particularly apparent when a marriage between the same persons contracted both under customary and statutory law is to be divorced. The requirements for customary and statutory divorce are not congruous in the different concepts of the (potentially) polygamous, customary (and Islamic) marriage and of the monogamous, statutory marriage. There are no provisions in the Matrimonial Causes Act considering obvious conflict situations. Reform has been frequently suggested but has not been implemented yet.

This article tries at first to analyse the main aspects of customary, Islamic and statutory marriage and, especially, divorce, for in the case of the dissolution of marriage the distinguishing elements become most apparent. Then a proposal of an integrating divorce law will be presented which takes account of central features of the present marriage systems. It will be shown that many essential elements of these systems can be retained and combined to some extent in a unifying law. The proposal will frequently refer to the Tanzanian Law of Marriage Act 1971 which constitutes a fairly convincing attempt to unify different marriage systems.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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