The Truth About Court Marriage
WE hear it all the time: “They had a court marriage,” when people want to clarify a wedding or marriage between a couple.
After much thought about this court marriage, we set out to see exactly what role courts do play a marriage by visiting a High Court in Lagos. We did not enter into the courtroom, because at the reception, we knew that we were in the wrong place.
At the reception, a kindly gentleman on hearing the word ‘marriage,’ said with a noticeable glint at the back of his spectacles, “go to… ” He mentioned a popular marriage registry on the Island; he hears wedding bells was my amused thought.
A female court official was more specific, with a tolerant smile that seemed to say, ‘how could you be so ignorant? A High Court, she informed, does not conduct marriages; it holds divorces.
That was not happy news at all, so I waited around for longer than necessary. If what a High Court does is to hold divorce, they must be bad news for relationships, I thought. They break you up and scatter your relationship- a slaughter-house for sick unions.
Society has given them the power to do that, so that bad relationships do not become a nuisance to society.
With this, it might seem that the best advice would be to avoid thinking of courts as you build your relationship, but common sense may demand that you have them in mind, for they are there in your interest.
For example, many couples go to the altar convinced that they can go through thick and thin together. Yet, many still head to the court when their marriages go wrong, asking to be separated.
We may therefore suggest that you put together a form of prenuptial agreement. It is true it looks ambitious and unromantic; it makes you out as one who is there for the material gains only. But in your loved up stage, any agreement you make now may sound like a joke to you. Do it, even if what you have seen comes from the experience of some other couples who parted because of unforeseen reasons.
As the woman appears to be the one who leaves a relationship always disappointed, she should insist on a pre-marriage agreement; that is part of commitment.
If he refuses, would it not be better that you are warned early? Would you rather be like those women who put in their all in a relationship only to lose all when it is inevitable that they separate from their husbands?
The Fear of High Court The Beginning Of Wisdom
DRAW up a prenuptial agreement; it will put you on your toes and make you consider the way you would feel hurt were your spouse to do half of the wrong things you do to him.
It could remind you of things and prevent you from taking each other for granted, as going against them would sound the warning that you do not want to appear before a court to wash your dirty linen in public.
The court has absolute privilege to say what they want say concerning your relationship. Witnesses are allowed to state what they know concerning you.
In that seeming funny and careless agreement you have just made, what do you leave with if it all goes wrong? What do you lose or does he take it all? Your agreement should tell you.
However, you should work on your relationship to avoid the nightmares of a divorce. But we go to the marriage registry anyway. It has the authority to join you together; hence the term ‘civil court.’
Who do we run into first, but a bride who wore a full and floating white wedding dress? She carried the skirt as she ran anxiously into the compound next to the registry, a marriage official on her heels.
In the halls, the weddings went on in earnest, as couples took turns to swear to the oath of living together in sickness and in good health.
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