Meaning of Court Wedding.
Under the Nigerian legal system, there are two types of marriage. One of these two types of marriage is “Marriage under the Act” (that is, a marriage contracted under the Marriage Act) while the other one is customary marriage (Islamic marriage inclusive).
Marriage under the Act is also referred to as statutory marriage. For other persons, it is simply called a “Court wedding”.
Below is the procedure for a court wedding in Nigeria:
1. Go to your marriage district, Collect and fill the Form A.
In every state in Nigeria, there is a marriage registry. Simply walk into any of the nearest marriage registries and ask for the Registrar. Ask for Form A and you will be issued with one. Fill out the form and give it back to the Registrar. Form A can be filled by any of the parties to the intended marriage. This form is just a notice of intention to be married.
2. The notice is entered into the marriage notice book and published.
The registrar will enter the notice of intention to be married form you just filled into the marriage notice book and thereafter he will paste a copy of the notice on the registry’s notice board for a period of 21 days. See section 10 of the marriage act.
The 21 day period is usually allowed for a caveat. That is, for people to be aware of the intended marriage and for them to raise objections or any issue for concern against the intended wedding. If the wedding is to be done in a Church licensed to celebrate a wedding, this will be done in the form of marriage banns. It is announced 3 times in three weeks, which totals 21 days.
3. Pay the prescribed fee and swear to an affidavit.
At the expiration of the 21 days allowed for the caveat, there is usually a prescribed fee you pay for the certificate of marriage. In some jurisdictions, it is less than 25k. Apart from the fee which you will pay, you are also expected to depose to an affidavit which you will submit to the registrar. The affidavit as noted by Insight, must satisfy the registrar that:
- You and your partner are not under 21 years. If any of the parties is below 21, then such wedding requires parental consent in written form and the same shall be annexed to the affidavit.
- That there is no impediment or hindrance to the wedding. Such hindrance could be by way of a caveat or consanguinity.
- That either of you has been living in that district for at least 15 days before you apply to be married.
- That neither of the persons to the marriage is at the time of the marriage, customarily married to any other person other than the person you want to marry now at the Registry. See section 11 of the Marriage Act.
4. The registrar issues the Form C and Form D certificate.
Where you have satisfied the above requirement, the marriage registrar shall issue you with Form C which signifies compliance with the notices and that there is a caveat or no caveat against the intended wedding.
Whereas, this notice of compliance can be dispensed with by the registrar, and then he will issue you with Form D which gives you the authority to go on and celebrate your marriage.
The marriage must be celebrated within 3 months by the registrar or in a licensed place of worship or the whole process will start afresh.
5. Finally, celebrate your marriage and fill the Form E.
This is the last step in the procedure for court wedding in Nigeria.
On the day slated for the celebration of the marriage, you can choose to celebrate your wedding in the registrar’s office inside the court premises or in a licensed place of worship and before a recognized minister of that Church. In other words, court weddings are not only done in the court. Churches get the license to celebrate such weddings.
As the last step in the procedure for court weddings in Nigeria, you are equally required to get and fill out FORM E which is the marriage certificate.
The marriage celebration must be done in the presence of at least two witnesses and with doors open and within the hours of 8:00 am and 6: 00 pm.