Hakimi saga: Examining fairness in divorce settlements when love fades

 Hakimi saga: Examining fairness in divorce settlements when love fades

Morocco international and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) player, Achraf Hakimi, has been trending since news of his messy separation from Hiba Abouk, his estranged wife, surfaced online.

In March, Abouk announced that she had separated from the footballer after two years of marriage, adding they are awaiting formal divorce proceedings.

She explained that the separation preceded a March 2 announcement by the Nanterre prosecutor’s office that the footballer was being investigated for the rape of a 24-year-old woman.

“The reality is that a while ago, after much reflection, the father of my children and I decided to end our relationship, long before the recent media events involving me, which are external,” she said.

The dust around their split was based on reports that Abouk requested over 50 per cent of the football star’s assets as divorce settlement in her petition.

Hakimi was rumoured to have put all his assets in his mother’s name some years back and therefore has no money or property to his name.

It was also claimed that being the richer partner in the union, 50 per cent of Abouk’s income and properties would go to Hakimi.

But the viral claims were found to be false, according to an investigation by DUBAWA, the fact-checking organisation, which showed that the information originally emanated from a parody account.

In spite of this, the development has been generating ripples on the internet, with many men supporting the narrative and talking about going the ‘Hakimi way’. Some Twitter users even named him ‘Man of the Year’.

Divorce has far-reaching consequences, as it affects both parties as well as their collective and individual families.

The most controversial of it all is the financial aspect which involves the splitting of wealth.

It is said that all is fair in love and war, but is all fair in divorce? If fair, how fair? Is 50 per cent too much as a divorce settlement? What is too small for a divorce settlement?

How far should one go in securing his or her properties? These questions and many more beg for answers as many have complained of marriage scams targeted at milking them.

In 2017, Eboue Emmanuel reportedly lost all he had to his wife after they parted ways.

Reflecting on this in an interview, he said “they gave her all my properties – my two houses, money and the cars that I had in England’.

Unlike Hakimi, he was loyal to his wife and not his mother as he was quoted saying “I look back and say ‘Emmanuel, you have been naive… why didn’t you think about that before?’ It is hard. Very, very hard.

“The money I earned, I sent it to my wife for our children. In Turkey I earned eight million euros. I sent seven million back home. Whatever she tells me to sign, I sign. She is my wife.”

Another case was Tendai Ndoro, the Zimbabwe international, who went bankrupt in 2021 after years of playing for clubs in South Africa.

His mistake, many argued, was that he registered his properties in his wife’s name.

Due to these instances, many are of the view that the ‘Hakimi way’ seems the more favourable path.

However, this doesn’t solve the problem of fairness in divorce settlements.

In Nigeria, to establish fairness as regards property settlement, the law states that a  partner in a divorce case requesting a settlement of property must provide concrete evidence of his or her contribution to the acquisition of the property.

That is, there must be a provision of detailed documents and necessary with receipts of what the said party contributed towards the building of the property in the claims of joint ownership.

Now, the case of a stay-at-home dad or mum might trigger a hot debate. This is because such individuals do not contribute financially but offer services which are mostly unquantifiable.

In marriages today, the big question among couples has always been — is it your money or our money?

This, many observe, shows the decline of credible marriage partners as there seems to be a scheming of some sort wherein one party tries to outsmart the other.

What happened to sincerity and the once revered slogan “till death do us part?”

The spike in divorce rates has been linked to lack of commitment, infidelity, irreconcilable differences, marrying too young, financial hardship, substance abuse and domestic violence and I beg to add insincerity and ulterior motives.

This should be seriously looked into as a 2021 report ranked Nigeria among the countries with the highest divorce rates globally (2.9%).

By Blessing Chukwuneke

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