By Victor Ofure Osehobo
A marriage certificate is the official proof of matrimony between a man and a woman in a Marriage Registry.
In this article we tell you what is a marriage certificate, what it is used for and the procedure and requirements to obtain a marriage certificate.
The Marriage Certificate is a legal document issued by the Marriage Registrar of a Local Government or the Federal Marriage Registry too newly-weds and is proof that a marriage took place. The marriage certificate is required by a person to show his or her marital status. For a female the certificate shows that she has married and is no longer single or unmarried.
Marriage Certificates are also required as proof of marital status to obtain an International passport, visa etc, as the Certificate is the only documentation which certify if a citizen is married or not.
There are several types of marriage certificates but there is only one statutory Marriage certificate. This certificate is different from that issued to a couple after their wedding ceremony in the church or mosque. The validity of these certificates however depends on whether they are licensed places of worship. If they are not, the Certificates are mere paper documents and so, are not legal.
It is advisable that intending marriage couples confirm if the place of worship where they plan to have their wedding is licensed or not. If not they are better off with a wedding in a Marriage Registry.
The marriage in a local government or a Federal government Registry is called a Civil Marriage.
The following are requirements for such a marriage to take place:
a) Visit the Federal State or Local Government Registry.
b) Complete the Application form indicating the intention to marry and specify
I) Names of couple
vii) Signature and Payment of Prescribed Fees.
c) Supply two (2) passport photographs, each of the man and the other of the woman.
d) Thereafter the marriage registrar pastes the completed form on the Notice board at the Marriage Registry for 21 days.
e) After the expiration of the 21 days notice, the Marriage Registrar shall issue the appropriate form to the couple stating that they have met the following criteria:
(I) Residency: that one of them resides in the locality where the registry is located.
(ii) Age: that the couple is above 21 years of age.
(iii) That there is no impediment of infirmity, kindred or affinity or any other lawful hindrances to the marriage.
Infirmity refers to the state of being physically or mentally weak. It is a condition or disease producing weakness. Kindred are a person’s relatives by birth or marriage while affinity refers to the bond that a person has to the blood relatives of a spouse by virtue of the marriage.
(iv) That none of the couple is married by Customary Law to any other.
Thereafter the couple will swear to an affidavit before the Registrar, who will reiterate the above prohibitive degrees to them and explain the punishment of violation. Failure to disclose any breach of the above attracts a 2-year jail team.
This will be followed with the couple fixing a date and time to return to the Marriage Registry to take the Oath of Marriage in the presence of witness who could be friends and family members.
After the Oath taking, the Registrar issues the couple with the Marriage Certificate which contains their names and that of their parents, the age, sex, addresses and the names of their marriage sponsors.
The couples then sign the Marriage Certificate in the presence of two witnesses and a copy is given to them. The Registrar then enters the Marriage into the Register of Marriages, confirming that the couple confirmed their marriage in the registry on the date/time specified.
1. Nigeria Marriage Act in www.nigerialaw.org, Retrieved on 5-5-17
2. Infirmity in www.dictionary.com, Retrieved on 5-5-17
3. Kindred in www.oxforddictionaries.com, Retrieved on 5-5-17
4. Affinity in www.legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary, Retrieved on 5-5-17
5. Proof of a Nigerian marriage in www.onlinenigeria.com, Retrieved on 5-5-17
6. Cost of Marriage in www.nairaland.com, Retrieved on 5-5-17
7. Civil Weddings in www.pube.ng, Retrieved on 5-5-17.
(taken from the book, AWESOME INFO MANUAL on www.amazon.com/author/ofureosehobo)