Tema, Jan. 15, GNA - The Tema Municipal Assembly recorded 2,642 marriages in the year 2004, as against 2,407 in 2003. Out of the figure in 2004, 2,044 were under the ordinance and 598 were recorded under the customary marriage, whiles the year 2003 had 1,956 recorded under the ordinance and 451 under the customary. The Assembly's Marriage Counsellor, Mr Joseph Torso, who disclosed these to the GNA attributed the increase in 2004 to the education that some churches are giving to their members on the need to register marriages and the mass weddings some organised to cut down cost in societal weddings.
Some people, he stated, have also realised the need to register their marriages due to issues of death and the existence of some outmoded customs and rites.
He explained that in most families, "the wife and children only enjoy when the husband is alive but after his death, family members take over his property without considering about whether the woman had any legal properties in the marriage".
To this effect, he advised that pastors whose churches have not been licensed to issue marriage certificates to desist from printing their own certificates because it creates problems for the couples when the need to submit their certificates for documentation arises. They should rather direct the couples to register with the District Assembly and obtain the Registrar General's certificate before contracting the marriages, he added.
He sited an example where a woman who wanted to join the husband abroad was asked to submit the marriage certificate but was turned down because she had the one issued by her church which was not recognised. He also cautioned the public against obtaining certificates through middlemen who charge exorbitant fees.
According to Mr Torso, its not only marriage under the ordinance which is accepted by law as has been the perception of many people, adding that marriage under customary law is also accepted except that monogamy is accepted under the former whiles polygamy is the only type of marriage accepted under the latter.
On dissolution of marriages, he said it was easily done by the courts, which have the power to summon families especially when there were different cultures from different tribes involved, its dissolution becomes difficult.
He advised the youth who are preparing to marry to be mindful of their financial position and avoid obtaining huge loans to organise expensive wedding ceremonies, as that has been a major cause for dissolution in most marriages apart from infidelity and mistrust. The Marriage Counsellor advised couples to be faithful to each other and learn to accommodate each other's views so as to have everlasting marriages as ordained by God.