Towards The Development of a Marital Property Regime for Nigeria: A Case for Socio-Legal Research for Gender Justice
This work interrogates research needs for the development of a marital property rights in Nigeria and raises the question whether there shouldnt be a move into socio- legal investigation of social norms through family market research with a view for law to internalise family realities. It is an effort to stimulate a different approach to imperative legal reform. It suggests that doctrinal legal research may not be adequate to provide an acceptable inclusive marital property regime. Socio-legal research might help Nigerian law reflect the de facto financial/property arrangements in marriage. The objective is to move questions and concerns of property rights from doctrinal content analysis into quantitative empirical evaluation. It argues that social dialogue and family market research into the developmental implications of the absence of a cohesive property regime in Nigeria and the form of legal intervention in a culturally and religiously diversified society is needed. The research finds while culture and customary laws recognise separate property rights and no spousal interests, modern legal systems including human rights regimes and national laws stipulate equality of rights in marriage. Without empirical social-legal research which documents marriage and social realities through family market research there will continue to be a creation of gap between the law in the books and the law in practice. The paper concludes that culture and gendered definitions of the division of marital work are limiting factors to the scope of property rights, but the dynamism of culture is a call for its constant interrogation.