I am always amazed that many people, including priests do not know the requirements of the law about conducting monogamous marriages. Many marriages are being conducted without complying with the requirements of the law. So whether you live together for 100years, if your marriage is faulty, it is a sin before God. If your marriage is faulty, and there are inheritance issues, you may end up with nothing. Here is a checklist of the procedure:
1. One of the parties shall give notice, to the Registrar of Marriages, of the intended marriage. There is a standard form for this.
2. The Registrar will enter this notice into his book and paste it on the notice board to be kept exposed, until he grants a licence or until 3 months have elapsed. At this time, it is advisable to inform the church or licensed place of worship who must publish the said information. This is known as banns of marriage, and must be published or announced at least three times before solemnisation of the marriage.
3. At the end of 21days and before the lapse of 3 months, the parties are required to attend to swear to affidavits that they are lawfully able to enter into a marriage under the Act. At least one of them must be resident within the district where he intends to marry.
…….The affidavit must state that he or she is 21 years old or over, and that he is not related to the other under the kinds of relationships that are forbidden under the Act. For instance a man may not marry his sister’s daughter.
…….There must be a statement on the affidavit that the party is not married under customary law to another person.
4. Upon satisfaction with the facts stated in the affidavits, the Registrar will issue the licence. If you have indicated that you want your marriage solemnized in church, he will address the licence to the church. Otherwise it is assumed that you will exchange your vows at the Registry office.
5. The marriage certificate is issued by the office that conducted the marriage, in the case of the church or place of worship; the parties must take it back to be registered at the Registry. This is really a duty of the place of worship, but being that it ought to be registered within 3 months of the marriage couples are advised to register their certificates by themselves.
6. If a couple gets married at the registry, the best the place of worship will do is a ceremony of blessing. Whichever one, it is valid once it is in accordance with the law.
7. It is a monogamous marriage and until dissolved either by death or divorce, either party may not conduct another ceremony of marriage, customary or civil.
Was that the procedure you followed? Be advised that if you do not follow this procedure, then you may not have a valid marriage and your customary law marriage, if you conducted one, is probably all that you have to hold on to. Listen to the podcast titled THIS THING CALLED MARRIAGE on this site www.sisilawyer.com.ng