A lawyer, Kingsley Ughe shared this story on his page and i decided to share with you guys to sample your opinion . Read below

Recently, I handled a matter where a man, caught pant down in multiple marriages outside his wedlock brought police and civil actions in court against his angry wife for moving out of the house with their property and the car.
Yesterday, a got a call, frantic call from a JLAA member. I was in a meeting and I picked and advised him to send me a text message as I was busy. He sent me the text below :

"Hello Barrister

I am getting a divorce because my wife has been stealing my personal money and I have proof. I have a letter where she admits to taking N9M out of my company account with out my knowledge because she found out I have a child outside wedlock."

The gentleman was so convinced of the righteousness of his course that he drove a very long distance to my office. He was furious and wanted me to file for divorce for him.

The law however is that married couples jointly own and possess all of their property. Your spouse cannot be prosecuted for stealing property that she jointly owns with you.

That is a big part of what it means to be married-a marriage is a joint economic unit.
The purpose of the marriage institution would be frustrated if a wife could legally steal from her husband .That's about as black and white as it can get.

When you marry, all your money becomes her money and vice versa. She cannot steal your money because, legally speaking, it is already hers, just like like her money is yours. That is the legal regime in Nigeria.

If for instance, the car is registered and titled in your wife's name only, she can report it stolen against you, but it is more likely would be downgraded to an unauthorized use of vehicle and no charges would be pressed.

In western countries for instances, particularly some states in the United States,during the marriage both spouses are able to maintain separate ownership of assets such as cars, real estate, bank accounts, etc....

Moreso, the tradition of having a prenuptial agreement or contract is widely practiced. Couples often agree before marriage to maintain a certain level of individuality as far as ownership of assets acquired before the marriage is concerned.

Even in those climes, unless you can prove that the money was non-marital property, you will not be able to file criminal charges against your wife.

You are not without remedy though. Smart lawyers would often document what she has taken and use that information to try and receive a better divorce settlement.

During your divorce proceeding, you can raise this issue with the Court, and the Court should take it into account in reaching a decision regarding equitable distribution of assets.

It would be advisable to include the transactions in your pending divorce case. Talk to your divorce lawyer about your civil remedies.

But most importantly, do not report your wife or husband to police for taking your property without your knowledge. Inherently, the spirit of a good marriage is give and take. Where consent is vitiated, talk it over. Be wise. No lawyer or court can help you run your home better than You !

Kingsley Ughe is the General counsel of the Joint legal Action Aid (JLAA)

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