By Earl Alright
This piece is not expected to serve as legal opinion or counsel. It is just a semi-educational and enlightenment material and should be regarded as such.
When I wrote What Nollywood May Not Tell You About Divorce, I tried to help you understand some truths about Divorce in Nigeria that you may never see in the movies. In this piece, I want to help you protect your sanity if you choose to divorce.
I once read in an Awake! as a teenager that “divorce is like a mini-death” and today that I am 9 years as a lawyer and 16 years as sex, relationship and marriage counsellor, I can tell you from my experience on the job that the statement is almost totally true, save for some exceptions. My goal in this piece is to help you take advantage of the exceptions so that divorce doesn’t become a mini-death for you.
Allow me to tell you how to preserve your public and social dignity and your personal mental and emotional balance through and after a divorce.
1. Know what you want
When some clients come to my office and request for divorce, I sometimes wonder if it is divorce they want or revenge on their spouse and his/her family. It is my belief that the marriage has been toxic and life-threatening and you are actually taking your last life-line by opting for divorce, and so, the goal ought to be a divorce at all cost. When you do things to show that you don’t mind staying in for some time longer and don’t mind going through plenty fights in court and on social media to pay back your spouse and the person’s family, I then wonder if you were also a good person in the marriage equation. It is a divorce that you want, get it at all cost for the sake of your life, sanity and that of your kids if you have any. Leave revenge and payback to God, and if you don’t believe in God, leave it to karma.
2. Don’t play dirty.
I have seen people who tell lies about their spouses and about their marriage in a bid to make their lawyer and the judge believe that they should get the divorce immediately at all cost. Some who have never shed a tear in the last 10 years come to court with some Eucharia’s and Nkiru Sylvanus’ crying skills to emotionally try to compel everyone to show that their spouse is wicked blah, blah, blah. Let me tell you something, you don’t need all the drama; all you need is just the simple resolve that you don’t want to live with this woman or man again as husband and wife. And hey, just as the law cannot force two people to marry each other, so also the law cannot force two people to continue in the marriage. If one says “I no dey do again” and “I no wan do again”, no judge would refuse you a divorce. Remember that divorce is what you want.
Some folks have actually instigated some fights and adultery in their marriage just to have grounds and proofs to get a divorce against their spouse. Nah, don’t belittle yourself that much. You are bigger than that. Get a smart lawyer and your divorce would be smooth without your dirty linen being spread on a high-tension wire for the world to see.
3. Let it go
Some people come for divorce and still fight for some maintenance, properties, monies etc. even though in reality, they can reasonably live and do without them. I am not saying you shouldn’t fight for some benefits where necessary, but if it would make the divorce go dirty and affect your public and social status, dignity and most especially your sanity, let it go. Remember you are fighting for your life and sanity, so let go of anything that can tamper with that unless it is something that you cannot reasonably do without. Please, don’t let lawyers make you take arms for a war you don’t want to fight. The more the fight, the more your lawyer would make but the less human you would come out from the divorce. Always remember that your dignity and sanity is what’s at stake here.
4. Go discreet
As much as you can, instruct your lawyer to file your divorce in a court outside your neighbourhood (or state sef). Don’t put it on social media (those people do not have joy) and as much as possible, if the person is not a very dear friend that can keep your secrets, do not tell people about your divorce. I don’t know any divorce that got into the cyber space that did not become dirty and mentally exhausting.
5. Sue the bastard
“Sue the bastard” is a law car sticker that actually reads “sue the bastard, defend the idiot”. I brought this in to say if your spouse wishes to make things difficult for you, pursue peace as much as you can, but if his tactics and demands are vexatious, then allow your lawyer to do his job. Don’t try to retaliate outside court in the community, work-space or social media. Let all the fight be and remain in court. If you get attacked, let your lawyer handle the situation through the police and through the court. Never stoop low to battle divorce in the community, office or social media.
If you need further clarity on the issues discussed here, you may contact your lawyer for more enlightenment.
Whatsapp me +2348125086798 or send me an email through firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless Nigeria (good people, great nation)
My name is Earl, and I am Alright.
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