Legal Counselling for Married Couples— By Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.
There are some basic legal matters you must address when you get married and they have far reaching implications .To wit :
1 As a Woman insist your husband marry you in the Registry and not just in a traditional marriage.A traditional marriage allows your husband to be a polygamist legally,but a Marriage under the Act (at the Registry),does not.The fact that you married in a Church does not symbolize that you a married under the Act ,even if you have a Marriage Certificate. If the Marriage is not registered with Registry,what you would have done is simply celebration of Marriage,which has no legal Implication under the Matrimonial Causes Act ,Cap M20 ,LFN ,2004 and the Marriage Act.
2.When you get Married ,as man or woman ,change your next of kin to your spouse from your siblings or parents.
When you start having children ,change your next of kin to your child preferably your first child ,whether Male or Female.
If you don’t do this,this is what happens when a brother or sister of the deceased collects everything from the spouse or children of the deceased and people will say they are wicked.
They are not wicked .They are only following the legal status of the property and money of the deceased legally signed away by the deceased in his documentations ,before he died .
3.If you buy a property or build a property together with your spouse ,you must keep evidence that you contributed to the purchase of the property. You don’t expect your husband or wife to give you a receipt ,so you transfer the money to him or her before the purchase of the said property and it will be there in your Statement of Account forever. Don’t say “He or She will not deny “.You will be shocked !I saw a Matter in which the Woman bought a House in her husband ‘s name ,when they had issues ,the man chased the Woman from the house and moved in with another woman.The Woman challenged the issue in Court ,the Man won ,because the house was in his name .To make Matters worse ,the woman paid for the house in cash.No trail of transaction. Always do all your high net transactions by Bank Transfer .It will help you greatly.
- If you did acquire the property jointly ,let your names be properly indicated in the documents.
There is nothing in Law ,like “Mr. and Mrs John Osagie”.This is just referring to the husband .The proper indication will be “Mr John Osagie and Mrs. Victoria Osagie”.Each of you will sign against your names.With each of your witnesses signing.
- If you use your wife’s name or your husband ‘s name or even those of your brother and sister to buy a property,while you are alive ,the property can be lost and the person whose name you used to acquire the property,can claim it .Reason;the property is in his or her name.Your saving grace could be resulting trust .That is, if you have evidence that you sent him or her the money to purchase the property.
5.If you acquire property together as husband and wife,and you separate as such ,the Law provides that you partition the properties. That is to say ,you share and share alike according to your contribution with proof to the acquisition of the properties.
Do not take these things for granted .They were churned out of real life cases some of which are still in Court .
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