What is the Difference Between Divorce and Nullity?

Divorce is the legal process of bringing the life of a valid marriage to an end. Nullity or annulment, on the other hand, is the legal process of setting an invalid marriage aside.

In Nigeria, dissolution of a marriage through divorce is not automatic; certain conditions must have taken place. This is not the case under the laws of most states in the US. In most American states, divorce can be obtained if a party to a marriage presents a petition for divorce on the basis that both parties have “irreconcilable differences”. 

Contrastingly, in Nigeria, a person seeking the dissolution of a marriage must be able to prove with evidence that their marriage has broken down irretrievably as a result of the happening of certain circumstances e.g. that a party has deserted the matrimonial home for one or two years or that one party has committed adultery. There are eight (8) different bases to justify divorce in Nigeria. So, in essence, a divorce cannot be obtained in Nigeria simply because one of the spouses is no longer interested in the marriage.

System of divorce law of Nigeria is called fault divorce, while that of the US is called no-fault divorce.

A petition for annulment, on the other hand, may arise, for instance, where a party to a marriage does not willingly give his or her consent to the marriage from the beginning.

For detailed treatment of divorce and nullity, click the link to download my book, What the Law Says About Marriage and Divorce.

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Extracts from What the Law Says About Marriage and Divorce