The High Court has the power to declare a ‘marriage’ void where the grounds for doing so exist. Where there is a declaration of nullity it is as if the parties never entered into a marriage at all. The grounds on which a marriage can be declared void are classified into two; non-compliance with the formal requirements and non-compliance with the material requirements.
Situations where a marriage can be declared void for non-compliance with the formal requirements include;
- The marriage is solemnized with someone who is not a competent marriage officer.
- One or both of the parties are below the age of 18
- No witnesses are present at the marriage.
Situations where a marriage can be declared void for non-compliance with the material requirements include;
- One of the parties is already married to someone else
- The parties are related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship
- One of the parties is mentally ill
- The parties are of the same sex
In some cases, a marriage can be set aside at the instance of one party where he/she alleges material mistake, duress and pregnancy with another man’s child at the time of the wedding when the husband is not aware.
The procedure for seeking a declaration for nullity of a marriage is the same as that for seeking a divorce. The process is initiated by the issuance of a summons and declaration which should be served personally on the defendant.
The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute our legal or professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.
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