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marriage in Ghana

A guide to the legal requirements for marriage in Ghana

Marriage under the ordinance is the civil union available to any Ghanaian to take advantage of, and despite some confusion, it is entirely secular and not religious at all.

Apart from the emotional attachment that guides us (ideally) towards deciding to marry someone, there are some legal requirements for marriage that we must meet for the government to recognize the marriage.

Although most marriages begin as a romantic arrangement, a marriage, in all actuality, is a legally binding contract between two individuals. This means that, like all other contracts, specific requirements must be met to render a marriage valid.

According to the law, a marriage is a legally binding agreement between two people who are looking to spend their lives together. The terms of this agreement can vary depending on the laws of a particular state and the couple’s situation.

The law dictates certain rights and obligations for married couples, which you can assert in a court of law as long as you’ve fulfilled the legal requirements for marriage.

Understanding wedding requirements can seem overwhelming, but you can streamline this process by focusing on the type of marriage you and your partner will have.

Different types of marriages can have different legal requirements, and that must be considered. For example, some marriages may have to fulfil certain religious requirements, while for others, simply signing the marriage certificate might be enough.

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In Ghana, marriages have requirements, especially if you want them under the ordinance. Here’s a guide to follow:

Marriage registration in Ghana

In Ghana, marriage is governed by the Marriages Act (Cap 127) and is the only, strictly monogamous legal means of marriage.

Couples intending to get married are required to give notice to the marriage registrar in the district where the marriage is going to occur. The registrar would then publish a notice of marriage and then issue a certificate after 21 days if no objection is raised.

The marriage certificate must then be presented to a licensed marriage officer, after which the couple must get married within three months or that certificate becomes null and void.

The types of certificates include:

  • Registrar’s Certificate
  • Special License
  • An applicant may obtain the prescribed Declaration Form and complete it with the assistance of the Marriage Registrar.

Question of Consent / Declaration for consideration

There are some questions that applicants are required to answer.

Eg: Has the couple ever been married before under the ordinance law, Yes / No?

If YES…? The applicants may state the reason.

A divorce Certificate or Death Certificate is a mandatory requirement and must be in English should this be the reason

It’s a must for the couple to be present to start the registration.

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The couple must be 18 years and above and also of sound mind.


Two witnesses are to be provided from each side of the couple if the marriage is to be celebrated at the Registrar General’s Department.


The marriage must be celebrated within 20 days from the start date.

When a foreigner is involved:

If the couple are not Ghanaians, they are to produce a residence permit or must stay in the country for more than 15 working days.

But if one Ghanaian is involved, the above requirement is not needed.


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