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Customary marriage not compulsory – Head of Marriage at Registrar General

The head of Marriage Division of the Registrar General’s Department, Mr Oladele Kwaku Aribike, says would-be couples can marry under the ordinance without necessarily going through customary marriage.

According to him, customary marriage is not compulsory, adding that, “you can contract customary marriage without ordinance and ordinance marriage without customary marriage.”

He told The Mirror in an interview that although it is significant for a would-be couple to honour their parents and seek their blessings before marriage, in the event where parents are being “unreasonable”; a couple can skip the customary marriage and marry under ordinance.

Mr Aribike, who is also the author of Marriage Registration and Divorce in Ghana, Law and Procedure, explained further that customary marriage was not compulsory because the three forms of marriage – customary marriage, marriage under ordinance and Mohammedan marriage – were independent of each other.

“The Bible says we should honour our mother and father so that it will go on well with you in life, it’s the only commandment with a promise. So, if you want to enjoy your marriage, you have to make sure that you give due honour to your parents. Let them come in and support you and do the right thing. But the other aspect is that if your parents are being unreasonable what do you do?”

Citing an example, Mr Aribike said, “A young lady who was living with her single mother wanted to get married. The lady was about 25 years and the mother 50 years but the mother asked her to wait until she was married. In this case, the mother is not being reasonable.

In that scenario, she can go and talk to some of the elders in the family or pastor so that they can advise the mother. However, if she still insists that she wants to get married before the daughter, then the daughter can go ahead and get married without her consent.”

He explained that, in effect, what was being done after a couple marries customarily and then under the ordinance, was simply a conversion of the former to the latter.

Source: graphic.com

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