Marriage  was  defined   in  hyde vs. Hyde 1  as,  the  voluntary  union  for  life  of  and woman  to  the  exclusion  of  others.  The  above  definition  relates  to  marriage  under  the  act 2.

However,  under  customary  law  marriage  is  defined  as  the  union  of  one  man  and  his  wife  or  wives.  It  does  follow  from  the  above  definition,  which  under  customary  law,  unlike  marriage  under  statute,  a  man  could  marry  more  than  one  wife.  All  over  the  world,  marriage  is  the   root  of  the  family’s  it  is  only  by  marriage  that  a  woman  can  obtain  the  right  to  be  supported  by  the  man.  As  soon  as  a  woman  is  married,  her  domicile 3  changes  with  that  of  her  husband  and  this  has  a  significant  effect  on  her  legal  status.

            Historically , under  the  common  law,  there  were  several  constraints  on  the  legal  capacity  of  a  married  woman  but  the  various  disabilities  were  culminated  through  the  gradual  process  of  law  because  under  a  statutory  law  marriage,  there  is  the  concept  of  unity  a  married  woman  was  divested  of  her  legal  capacity  to  contract  and  own  property.

(1866) L.R.I.P.D 130. The act referred to here means the marriage Act of England of the marriage Act, now 1990, laws of the federation of


See (1) matrimonial cause act 1990, which state that a person’s domicile in Nigeria.

            Among  the  legislation  in  rectifying  the  imbalance  is  the  married  woman  property  act 4,  which  is  designed  primarily  to  protect  the  earnings  of  the  married  woman.

There  was  also  the  married  woman’s  property  act  of  1882,  which  allows  a  wife  to  keep  anything  she  acquired  by  gift  or  purchase.  The  laver  act  was  subsequently  amended  and  regulated  and  protected  the  married  woman’s  capacity  to  acquire  and  dispose  of  property  by  altering  the  law  on  for  and  contract  so  that  she  could  sue  as  if  she  were  “feme sole”5  under  the  statutory  law  marriage,  a  woman  could  inherit  her  late  husband’s  property,  keep  joint  account  with  the  husband’s  credit.  The  woman  could  decide  not  to  bear  the  husband’s  name  and  this  does  not   alter  legal  status  in  the  society.  However,  under  customary  law  marriage,  the  wife  is  more  or  less  regard  as a  “Hat”  which  the  man  could  out  on  and  drop  at  will  as  if  she  were  property.  The  legal  status  of  a  married  woman  in  domicile,  is  almost  the  same  as  under  the  statute,  a  woman  married  under  customary  law  can  never  inherit  her  late  husband’s  property.  Whatever  she  owns  in  terms  of  property  after  her  death,  especially  if  a  woman  could  pledge  her  husband’s  credit  under  customary  law  marriage.

Married woman property Act of 1870. Also married woman property law cap 76, law of western Nigeria. 1959, 1959 cap 98, law of Bendel state, applicable to Delta State.

Her  citizenship,  in  most  cases  does  not  change,  in  most  societies  in  Nigeria,  on  the  death  of  a  woman,  her  corpse  is  sent  back  to  her  family,  under  customary  law  marriage,  the  marriage  of  the  woman  is  to  the  family,  hence  after  the  death  of  her  husband,  she  could  be  bequeathed  to  another  man  within  the  family.

This  work  will  briefly   discuss  the  formation  of  marriage  under  the  act  and  under  customary  law and  examine  the  legal  status  of  a  married  woman  under  the  act  and  under  customary  law  marriages,  with  references  to,  the  legal  Capacity  of  ownership  of  property  by  a  married  woman  and  would  also  discuss  her  status  with  reference  to  inheritance  of   personality  and  realty.

            This  work  will  also  focus  its  attention  on  the  capacity  of  a  married  woman  that  has  no  issue  both  under  customary  law  marriage  and  statutory  law  marriage.

            Also  to  be  examined  is  the  legal  effect  of  contract in tort  and  criminal  law  of  the  husband  and  wife  under  both  systems  of  marriage.  Issue  like  domicile  and citizenship 6  valid  issues  that  can  change  a  woman’s  legal  status  will  be  examined.

            Finally,  all  related  laws  would be  r-examined,  their  in  adequacies  highlighted  and  suggestions  made.

The Latin term simply means. A single woman including those who have been married see 24 and 25 1979 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.

This  work  comprised  of  five  chapters  in  aunt shell  chapter  one  is  a  general  discussion  on  marriage  in  Nigeria.  While  chapter  two  deals on  statutory  marriage.  Chapter  three,  customary  law  marriage  will  be  examined.  Chapter  four  will  focus  on  the  legal  status  of  a  married  in  Nigeria.  A  comparative  study.  While  in  chapter  five  some  of  the  inadequacies  will  be  highlighted,  suggestions  made  and  conclusion.   



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