Court Wedding in Nigeria: All Steps and Procedures Involved
There’s no denial that court wedding had come to stay in Nigeria despite our traditional and religions ways of doing things of which wedding is an important part.
Various reasons exist for why you would want to have a traditional wedding. We are not going to talk here on why to and why not to have a court wedding which is also known as registry.
I believe you coming to this page, minds have been made, you have decided you want a court wedding and as such, my own work here to show to you, the step by step guide on how to get married in Nigeria through a court wedding.
Like I said before, it will be self-denial to say this form of wedding is not acceptable in Nigeria since the Federal Government recognized this.
In Nigeria, there are only two federal registries. One in Lagos and the other in Abuja. The one in Lagos covers the southern part of the country while the one in Abuja takes care of the northern part of the country.
Aside these two, there are also numerous states and local government level registries scattered all over the country.
This is to ensure intending couples have access to them when they need to use them.
How To Get Married At A Court in Nigeria
The steps discussed below highlights the steps required to do court wedding in Nigeria.
Step 1: Agreement Between The Intending Couples
This is the first step to court wedding in the country. Two consenting adult i.e a male and a female need to agree before any form of wedding would take place.
After they agree, they can now go to the court and make their intention known. While going to the court, they should take along with them two coloured passport sized photograph each.
On reaching the court, you will fill a form known as the notice form or a form A. Fill this form and submit. This form is usually posted on the notice board at the registry for 21 days.
The notice is also entered into a book known as the Marriage Notice Book which is open to people to inspect without a fee.
Once the 21 days elapse, you will be required to pay a fee after you had met the marriage criteria. These includes;
- One of the couple resides in the district where the wedding will take place
- Each of the parties involved is 21 years and in situation where this is not the case, a prove of consent in writing from the guardian must be submitted
- None of the intending couple is married by customary law to any person other than the person with whom such marriage is proposed to be contracted
- There’s no impediment of kindred or affinity or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage
Step 2: Swear An Affidavit
After the above, you are expected to swear an affidavit before the registrar or a recognized minister of religion.
In the course of swearing affidavit, the registrar would iterate above requirements and explain the penalties involved.
If you violate any of the rules which the registrar would tell you, it could lead you to jail.
After agreeing to everything, the registrar signs a declaration to show that the couple understands the implications under the law and have met and satisfied all that has been required of them.
Step 3: Issuing Of Certificate And Fixing Of Wedding Date
After the above, the minister issue the couple a certificate and grant his license known as the Form D.
Form D authorized the celebration of a marriage between the parties.
After this, a wedding date is chosen by the couples and this should be within 3 months.
Step 4: Wedding
On the wedding day, the couples alongside their families and friends come to the court for the wedding which usually does not last for more than 30 minutes.
In the course of proceeding, the registrar prints the marriage certificates in duplicate and with counterfoils as in the Form E. This is usually the official end of the wedding.
However, couples might decide to go for church wedding if they are Christians or do other celebrations.
But as far as court wedding is concern, without going to the church or mosque as the case maybe, the wedding is a valid one.
Implications of Court Wedding in Nigeria
Court wedding unlike other types of marriages doesn’t require much flare as every intending couple do it. The pressure, cultural requirements, and other addittional that comes with both traditional and white wedding doesn’t play here. Most people aren’t aware of why it is important to do court wedding. This post will enlighten you on some reasons you should consider a court wedding.
It saves money and time
If you are not financially stable to do an extravagant ceremony, doing a court marriage would be the best option as the law recognizes the valid marriage certificate from the registry. In fact, both you and your spouse will still bear ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ and a certificate of proof will be issued to you in the courthouse.
Its less demanding
You can save yourself a lot of stress by having a courthouse wedding. Planning an eventful big wedding that has a long guest list isn’t ideal and requires lots of energy. To please everyone, from family members, friends, relatives, etc can seem daunting and impossible. Doing court marriage and inviting few friends is less stressful. Immediately after the registry session, you can organize a small reception which would also save you cost.
It ensures security against bigamy
One advantage of court marriage is that it protects both the husband and wife against bigamy, but most especially the woman in the wedding. This is because, most Nigerian men have the tendency to be very polygamous in nature. Bigamy entails marrying someone else when you are still married to the person you married in court. The law stipulates that if you practice bigamy, you attract a 5-year imprisonment punishment. The only escape route is getting a divorce before marrying someone else.
You should be aware that marriage without dissolution of the first marriage is a serious offense. After certain number of months and if satisfied that he or she has met the grounds of divorce, let the man or woman approach the court to dissolve the marriage even in the absence of either man or woman.
Speed & Dress Code
Courthouse weddings don’t waste time. There is no ceremony, service, sermons, songs, noise, crowd, etc like church weddings. Also, getting married at the courthouse don’t require a particular dress code as coupled can wear whatever they like.