A Tale with Everyday Implications: Navigating Life’s Complexities

The case of the fifth wife and the second wife is not merely a legal drama; it’s a cautionary tale with valuable lessons for everyday life. It reminds us that honesty, legal (international) knowledge, and awareness of one’s rights are essential qualities for navigating the complexities of the world, both legal and personal. By embracing these principles, we can safeguard our interests, protect our rights, and navigate the labyrinth of life with greater confidence and clarity.

In the world of law, there are cases that stand out as stark reminders of the importance of honesty, legal knowledge, and awareness of one’s rights. The case of the fifth wife and the second wife is one such example, a legal drama packed with intrigue, consequences, and valuable lessons for everyday life.

A Tangled Web of Matrimony and Marriage

At the heart of this story lies a question of marital status and the validity of a divorce under Section 11(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which says that a marriage shall be void if at the time of the marriage either party was already lawfully married. The fifth wife claimed to have married the deceased in 2009 and obtained a valid customary divorce in Nigeria in 2002. However, the second wife presented a certificate of marriage to the deceased, asserting that their marriage had never ended.

In Uchechukwu-Onwubiko v Onwubiko & Ors [2023] EWHC 2812 (Fam) (16 October 2023), Mrs Justice Arbuthnot found in the first instance that the deceased remained lawfully married to the second wife when he purported to marry the fifth wife (and wives three and four). The fifth wife’s marriage to the deceased was bigamous. The next of kin for all purposes is the second wife.

Unravelling the Truth: A Tale of Obstacles and Honesty

The court’s investigation revealed that while emails between the deceased and his father indicated discussions about a divorce, there was no evidence of a formal decree. The second wife’s marriage certificate was deemed genuine, while the documents presented by the fifth wife were found to be forgeries.

Legal Consequences and Enduring Lessons

The legal conclusions were clear: the second wife was declared the rightful spouse, rendering the fifth wife’s marriage invalid. Additionally, the fifth wife was barred from pursuing any further claims against the deceased’s estate due to her forged documents.

Honesty, Legal Knowledge, and Awareness: Essential Tools for Life’s Labyrinth

The case of the fifth wife and the second wife serves as a stark reminder of the importance of honesty and legal knowledge.  Furthermore, the case underscores the value of seeking legal counsel when dealing with complex international legal issues. The fifth wife’s decision to represent herself in court proved to be a costly mistake. Had she sought professional legal guidance, she might have avoided the pitfalls that led to her downfall. This serves as a reminder that legal matters are best handled by experienced lawyers who possess the necessary knowledge and expertise.

Finally, the case emphasizes the need for individuals to be well-informed about their legal rights. The second wife’s success in asserting her claim stemmed from her understanding of the law and her ability to gather evidence to support her case.

This serves as a reminder that educating oneself about legal rights is crucial for self-protection in the face of legal disputes, and ChatGPT or Bard are only as good as the questions asked or prompted. Without (divorce) “execution, vision is just another word for hallucination” (late Mark V Hurd – Oracle CEO).


Paradigm Family Law have a team of experienced and highly recommended divorce lawyers to help guide you through the process of divorce, just waiting to hear from you.

If you would like more details on this or want to discuss your family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact James, Frank, or Evelyn. Paradigm Family Law offers a free initial consultation with a top rated divorce lawyer and our fixed fee solutions cover financial proceedings from start to finish. You can call us on 01904 217225 or email us to [email protected].