Validity Of Marriage

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In Anyaragbunam V. Anyaregbunam (1973) NSC Pig 224. The court held that validity of marriage under the act can be presumed in the absence of a decisive evidence to the contrary. The court is of the opinion that the certificate of marriage is not the only means of proof of a marriage under the Act. It was contended in the above case that there was no marriage because the marriage certificate was not benchered. Also in Ike V. Ike & Anor (2018) LPELR-44782 (CA), the issue whether failure to produce a marriage certificate in a national proceedings affect the jurisdiction of the court was raised. The counsel for the applicant submitted that the known trial judge lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter abolition by reason of the fact that there was no evidence before the lower court that the petitioner and the respondent were ever married, since the parties did not tender any marriage certificate.
From the facts of the above case the said marriage took place at Holy Cross Catholic Church Benin City on the 28th day of December, 1985 the said marriage was blessed with three children. It is also in evidence that after the marriage the parties cohabited at the following addresses.
a) No. 6 Hinderer Road, Apapa Lagos 1987-1989
b) No. 12 Adebisi Omotola Street Isolo Lagos, 1989-19
c) No. 10 Victoria Street off Osolo way Isolo Lagos, 1993-2000 from the above facts, there is no doubt that there was a valid marriage between the petitioner and the respondent hence the approach before the l aw court for a dissolution of the said marriage while the petitioner claimed had broken down irretrievably. Legally a marriage in a licenced place of worship is recognized under the ordinances. In the instant case both parties accepted the fact that their union was solemnized at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Benin. For the petitioner to claim that there had been no marriage because the marriage certificate was not produced simply goes to no issue. A marriage in a Catholic Church as agreed by both parties is a recognized monogamous marriage under the ordinances. See Obiokwe V. Oblekwe (201o) LSPELR 864.
Its important to note that the validity of marriage is not on the strength of a marriage certificate if the grounds as enunciated under section 15 (2) of the matrimonial causes Act can be substantially proved to the satisfaction of the court. See Bridget Motoh V. Emmanuel Motoh 2011. All FWLR Part 584. Page 73 at 113 where the court held that production of a marriage certificate is not the only way of proof of existence of marriage.

Nkechi Bright Ewere