Every country has different types of marriages that are legally acceptable. These marriages have different characteristics and functions which vary according to the laws and the culture of the specific country. So, what types of marriages are acceptable by the law in Ghana?
Marriage is a social institution that most people would like to be a part of unless there are some issues holding them back from doing so. From our history, marriage has been an indispensable and universal institution that has continued to exist since the creation of man. So, how many types of marriages do we have in Ghana currently?
Meaning of marriage
A marriage is a voluntary physical, moral, and legal union between a man and a woman which can either be monogamous or polygamous depending on the type you engage in. The main reason for this union is to produce children while for others, they just participate in it for companionship. In Ghana, marriage is marked with a lot of significance as the third rite of passage after the first: birth and the second: circumcision.
Types of marriages in Ghana
There are different types of unions in Ghana that are recognized by the Ghanaian marriage law. Each class has its own demands in order for it to be legal. The types of marriages include the following:
1. Customary law marriage
This is the traditional type of marriage which, so far, is the most popular and highly recognized in Ghana. Here, every essential detail about the couple's family is taken note of. An investigation is done to deduce if there is anything that can hinder the families from uniting. Some of the questions asked by either family include:
- Does the man have any criminal records in the society?
- Is the nature of the families quarrelsome?
- Are there any hereditary diseases such as Asthma in the family?
- Is the woman hardworking or lazy?
- Can the man manage to look after our daughter?
After the consent of the woman is given, the ceremony takes place. Depending on the ethnic group, the father or uncle to the groom might conduct the ceremony. Drinks and kola are essential things which cannot be left out in the ceremony. The following things are required for it to be legal:
- Consent from the two families.
- Consent from the bridegroom and bride.
- Bride price payment.
- A celebration to mark the covenant
The marriage can either be monogamous or polygamous depending on the man’s decision. Therefore, with this type of union, there is no a limit to how many wives you can marry. The marriages that fall under this category are usually registered under the PNDCL112 – customary marriage and divorce registration laws. If it happens that you are in an unregistered marriage, then your union cannot be legally recognized and accepted.
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2. Islamic law marriage
In Islamic law, marriage is usually referred to as “nikah” (an Arabic word which literally translates to a wedding in English). This type of marriage only applies to couples who profess the Islamic faith. The ceremony can only be officiated by an Imam, a Sheikh, or Kadhi. Here, polygamy is allowed by the “Mohammedan” law, and one can marry up to 4 wives.
For it to be valid, it should be celebrated in terms of what the Islamic law dictates. Here are some of the notable elements of this type of union:
- It should not be between related people like cousins and so on.
- Marriage is done within a week. If it exceeds this duration, then it is declared void.
- For registration, notifications are usually done to the Mohammedan marriage registrar.
- The union is recognized under the Marriage Act of Ghana which contains all the requirements in Islamic law.
- A marriage certificate is awarded to successful marriages.
3. Ordinance law marriages
This type of union involves the administration of vows by a religious leader who is mandated to do so by the state. The following conditions must be adhered to for the marriage to be legally acceptable.
- A written notice must be presented to the registrar of marriages explaining the marriage intention. The parties involved should provide details like names, marital status, place of birth, and so on in the notice.
- If it happens that one of the parties is less than 21 years, consent from his/her family is mandatory.
- The marriage is monogamous, and for this reason, if you want to be with another person, you must first dissolve the current marriage through legal steps.
- For a small fee, the notice of the intended marriage is published by the registrar of marriages for 21 days.
- If there is no objection to the union, then the ceremony takes place and a marriage certificate is issued so as to cement the wedlock.
Knowing the types of marriages in Ghana is essential, especially when you are ready to walk down to the aisle with your loved one. The knowledge will shed light and help you choose the correct type of marriage whose requirements you are likely to comply with easily. If you have not formalized your marriage, take a step to do so.