A lawyer’s post on an all-men platform Tell It Dads has gone viral on various social media platforms after the Odartey Lamptey divorce saga.
BigGodwin as the name credited with the post shows, advised men to prepare for divorce just death because it could happen at anytime, exposing the legal nitty-gritties of marriage registration laws in Ghana, divorce and other issues that affect men in Ghana.
Hos comment comes on the back of Odartey Lamptey’s exwife who is in court seeking to own the footballer’s 7 bedroom mansion located at East Legon even after a court compensated with another house, cars and money.
The post has generated thousands of reactions and shares and comments.
Dads, I have read the full Judgement of Odartey Lamptey v Odartey Lamptey. The High Court Judge was thorough and fair. However, I have some advice for you Dads, as a Paralegal and a Jurist Doctor, and not as a lay Preacher or Cyber Security Engineer or Entrepreneur – all of which I am by the Grace of God.
1. If you do not want major properties you have to become a subject of dispute in the event of divorce of marriage, then acquire the properties before you marry. Any property acquired before marriage is not a Spousal Property so it’s safe. (See Fynn v Fynn)
2. Whether you marry under Customary or Ordinance, all properties acquired within the marriage period are subject to sharing 50-50 between you and your wife, whether or not she contributed a pesewa to the building of the property, it also doesnt matter whether you built it solely in your name (See Mensah v Mensah)
3. Contrary to popular belief, a Customary marriage can actually become a Court Divorce, the Law allows an aggrieved party in a Customary marriage to proceed to Court for Divorce or if there are issues of cintention e.g. child custody.
4. If you foresee that you are going to be very wealthy soon but it will happen in marriage, then consider a Prenuptial agreement, popularly known as a Prenup.
Do not think as for you dierr you can never experience Divorce. There are two things in life that no one believes it can happen to them until it actually does.
One is divorce, the other is death – it accounts for why so many people die without a will. And eventhough most mortals know that there is a day that they will return to death certainly, the mere thought of it is unfathomable to their minds that they pay no attention to its preparation.
Divorce is even worse than death, because whilst most mortals know they will die, almost no couple entering marriage believe it will end in time, hence no foreseeability to prepare of its possibility.
The presence of a prenup is not necessarily the absence of trust. It is like getting an insurance and warranty, we dont buy them because we lack the trust, it is because we know the World is not designed with fail-proof certainties, this is why especially in today’s world when even a journey that begins with much love and trust can quickly turn into the fiercest of emotions in a latter future, a Prenup is a guide should incase the Bus hit a ditch and a back up template was required to navigate the rest of the Journey ahead.
4. If the idea of Prenup is too extreme for your philosophy of Life, I have an alternative advice, put most of your Properties in a Company name.
In Odartey v Odartey, the Petitioner (the Wife) was seeking the Court to grant her a 50% share of the shareholding structure of the School Glow Lamp International which belonged to the Man, but the Judge in her ruling, refused to grant it, because the School was a separate legal entity and it should not become a subject of dispute when the directors are sued in their personal capacity. The Court will also not pierce or lift the veil (i.e, going into a Company’s nature to disturb its “quietness” by making its assets and shareholding a spousal property subject to sharing) except in rare cases where it can be established that party seeking to protect his assets (.e.g Mr Odartey) fraudulently hid all his wealth in the company.
So if you are clever and smart, you can find ways to incorporate your assets into a Business, if a divorce happens, those assets are safe. I can write a whole book on this, so I will leave it here because it’s deep and alot I cant share all.
5. Use the Gift Option. If you want to acquire a Property that will not be subject to divorce dispute, make it a Gift to a trusted person e.g. your Mum. Once she has a Deed of Gift (there is a legal process to make Gift ooo, dont just think because you bought it in her name, so it’s automatically a gift), then it wont be subject to dispute.
6. All properties acquired in marriage are spousal properties, but there are rebuttable presumption, which means, if you do not intend it to be part of dispute in divorce, then let it be expressly stated with your spouse also signing to it. This one is difficult because most wife wont agree and it can even lead to misunderstandings.
7. In all, marry well. Don’t marry huge ass, big boobs, clear colour and pretty face. Marry kindness, marry good heart, marry submission and respect, marry compassion, marry godliness. Because if you dont, you will be very sorry. There is a reason why there are more Widows and less Widowers, the Men die first, due to all kinds of reason including being silently killed by wicked women to take their properties, some too die out of stress, emotional shock, etc
8. If all these scare you too much. Please don’t marry. Except you have a fantastic, godly woman as a wife, otherwise marriage is not worth its hype. Most people only pretend and stay in it silently – dying and enduring the emotional trauma and imprisonment of their free will taken away from them. But if you sit down and have a VERY FRANK discussion with most men, they really can not point you to the extraordinary benefits they have derived from their marriages. And even in the Bible, Great Apostles like Paul admonished that as a desire to have intense focus for his assignment, he decided to stay away from marriage wahala.
9. Marriage is God-ordained, there are sweet ones, so do not think I am against it, I believe in it. But again, from my training in Law, I can only give you an advice from all angles so that I am not prejudiced by my training either as a Christian who is an ardent Preacher of God’s Word or as a Lawyer in Training. It is what it is.
10. Personally, I do not see the relevance of Ordinance Marriage to a Man. One day I asked my Professor in a Family Law Class, “Prof, why should a Man go for marriage by Ordinance, I mean what is its benefit for a Man?”
Prof: It’s absolute rubbish, if you really mean to hear the truth from me, it has no benefit for you the Man, it however has alot of benefits for the Woman. But if you really love a woman and you want her to feel safe with you, then do it for her, but it’s not really a benefit for you.
In Conclusion, life is not a straight line, every option you choose is hard. Being single is hard, being a single man dealing with Baby Mama is hard, being divorced is hard, being Married is hard. There are no easy routes, so choose your Hard.