Civil Marriage in Kenya-Procedure and the Process
When we see or hear the word marriage, we assume that it is a union in between two people that brings them together hence it can be conducted by a priest. Surprisingly marriage cab be conducted and celebrated in several ways. Now we will have an up close with the civil marriage in our country Kenya.
Civil marriage is a union conducted under the supervision of government official hence does not require the religious affliction, so long as the legal requirements are met. The requirements may differ according to where the ceremony is being conducted. This is because the couple is free to choose a venue of their choice.
What To Be Expected During The Conduction Of A Civil Marriage
Civil union between Kenyans, one is required in paying Sh600 in the first visitation to registrar office in filling notice of union 21 days prior to the date they expect to marry .
After that, the partners are then required in paying of Sh3,300 hence given a date in accordance with the diary. In case one of the partners is a foreigner and the other partner is a Kenyan an extra fee is charged.
2. Time and day
The couple should come early. Since the union is only conducted from 9am to 3pm which is every day of the week when the notice of the 21 days expires.
3. On the day of arrival
On arrival to the "Sheria" House. The couple is given a waiting number and told to queue with the others in the waiting room and hence wait for their time. As they are waiting they are asked to confirm details of their witnesses, details are captured and later they are printed.
4. At the waiting room
The lovers together with their guest that is their eye witnesses are allocated different rooms in order to change into their special wedding clothes and also if they want to apply some make-up and keep in mind not the big exaggerated white gowns only a fancy white dress is worn and the groom can dress in a good suit.
The couple is allowed to have a total of 15 guests, who can be their witnesses when the union is being conducted.
6. The Civil Ceremony
When one of the couple's turn reaches the registrar calls out their name along with their guests. The two witnesses together with the couple seats at the front while the other guests seat at the back seats.
The registrar asks the two love birds, what is their intention of getting married and this is conducted before the couple takes vows. Then after the vows the couple exchange the rings and they can spice it up with a passionate kiss.
8. Signing of the certificate
The couple are given 3 hard copies which are the certificates and together with the witnesses they are asked to sign, meanwhile the other guests can be performing some songs in order for the ceremony to have some excitement and later they can also take photos.
9. The photo session
One part of the room may be decorated in order to pave way for a session of photos, the couple can also have the photos with the registrar. I mean there is no harm in keeping big memories as remembrance.
10. Champagne, Drinks and Cake
The couple is latter allowed to have and organize an after party in any location that their heart may desire.
Reasons For Conducting A Civil Marriage
- Many couples may opt in conducting civil marriage it can be based on their personal decisions which are related to either the location of the wedding or their religion. The following are some of the reasons in conducting Civil marriage;
- If the persons are not religious, hence they won't be comfortable to conduct the marriage in church, therefore the couple is free to decide on their preferred location for their wedding just in accordance to their preference. This helps in planning for an affordable location.
- The other reason is that the couple might be of different religions hence by opting to do a civil marriage in order to neutralise their union. By this the couple are happy since no one will have to change their religion to match with the other just because of the marriage being prepared.
- Incase the couple want a creative type of marriage, they are free to opt for the civil marriage since the clergy may assume the performance of the non-traditional elements. These is because the traditional beliefs are not considered religious by the christians.
- If the couple want to write their own marriage vows and do not wish to say the usual vows "I love you until death take one of us" the couple may decide to say their own vows in which they are promising to follow to the latter since they will have committed themselves with their own vows.
Procedure For Conducting The Civil Marriage
One needs to file a notice to the Registrar and wait for 21 days then followed by paying an applicable fee amounting to sh 600 is charged in order for the filling of the notice after the 21 days the couple may proceed and have their civil marriage whereby they will have to agree on a particular day.
Depending on where the marriage is to be conducted there are several requirements.
1. Registrar office.
- A payment of sh 3,300 is required once given the date.
- After selecting the date the marriage is held in the commissioner office.
- The couple is given a chance to revise their decision in getting married . Once they say yes for the marriage to continue .The marriage process is carried out.
- After the marriage process the couple is given the marriage document this includes the three certificates then the witnesses are asked to sign. After the registrar also signs the documents and records the date of the event in the files.
- This is in the case of a Kenyan marring a foreigner or vice versa.
- Special license is conducted in case the couple is in a hurry and not willing to wait for the days allocated to end which are 21 days.
- Sh 16,700 is paid if the wedding is to be conducted in another place and sh 9,700 if conducted at the registrar's place of work.
- Also the couple is given a chance to confirm their decision.
- After the vows the couple is given the document and the registrar signs.
- The parties are required to fill a form.
- Copies and originals identification cards or passports.
- They are also required to produce a coloured passport photo.
- Incase of death or divorce of a former partner the person is required to produce the documents such as the death certificate.
- Names of the couple intending to get married.
- The dates in which they were born.
- Proof of their citizenship.
- Proof of the impendent date and number of marriage.
- Need for the documents.
- The certificate is a sign of eligibility to the partners property without any fear.
- Also the certificates helps the partner in joining the other partner's health insurances.
- The documents are used in the application of a visa incase one of the other spouse works abroad or it's his or her motherland the other partner will be able to visit.
Also the certificates are needed in applying the passport.
- A proof to the authority that one is engaged.
- Important information required
- Any document in any other language must be translated into English and later verified by the Embassies.
- An issued copy certified
- The marriage is registered by the registrar in accordance to 2014 marriage Act.
- Certified marriage certificates in Nairobi before being transmitted to foreign affairs for authentication, which costs sh 1,100 which takes seven days.
Advantages of conducting a civil marriage
- Respecting the desire of the couple by giving then freedom in choosing what they think is best for them for example on writing their own vows and saying the vows before the registrar. With their own vows they are likely to say their desires and this can help in the lasting of the marriage union.
- Ease in divorce procedure. We are not saying that people should use civil marriage for divorce. It can be applied if the marriage is based on a contract for example if a foreigner wants to become a Kenyan citizen he or she may opt to marry a Kenyan then latter they decide to divorce. Also in the extreme change of thoughts if the couple start experiences problems of violence one of the partner may decide to file a divorce.
- In Civil marriage the couple has equal partnership in their property for example cars houses, land and any other property is spilt into two.
Disadvantages of conducting civil marriage
- Since the property is shared equal the partner with a large number of property may feel humiliated if the other partner files for a divorce since the property will be split into two. This happens if one of the partner has an evil motive of just marring for money, these can be very dangerous and it may even led to murder of the partner.
- The marriage leads to many divorces. Children may experience the violence between their parents this can easily affect them psychologically and even lead them to suicidal thoughts. Children often think that the violence is all about them hence they feel less of humans.
Differences between a civil union and a religious union
- First a religious marriage is carried out in a church while for the civil is carried out in a government premises.
- A religious union require a lot of planning because of choosing of a date for the wedding to be carried out in the church or temple while civil union is much faster since the couple does not require time for the preparations.
- In planning a religious marriage the couple must undergo a premarital course a few weeks before the marriage is carried out while civil union no courses are required.
- In civil marriages a judge or even an authorized by an official at the state can precede the ceremony while for church union only a person chosen by the faith organization is allowed to conduct the wedding.
- In civil union the wedding can be held in non-religious set up for example in a family house hence less expensive while for a church union the wedding must be conducted in a place considered religious for example the church.
- In civil union the partnership does not need a symbol for example a ring but in a religious set up the ring is part of the ceremony or let's say is the most important.
- In civil union the couple home with the license inform of a legal document signed by officials while in religious union the couple are not allowed to have the license since biblically , the church always have its sacramental values where the document stays in church.
Reasons for increased civil unions in Kenya
Many questions have rise on the why the civil unions have increased. The following are some of the reasons;
- Quick process of getting a wife which is less than 15 minutes.
These unions are popular among the youths who want to escape the traditional and cultural ways. This cultural ways include the payment of dowry or they opt to pay dowry on a later date. The process is quick since there is no Bible reading and preaching only the vows hence the process is faster.
- No involvement of the family members.
The couple mostly show up with their best friends, this is because the parents may not want some cultural events to be skipped.
- Gay wedding.
Although this is not allowed in our country the marriage usually is carried out in abroad. Hence they are free to opt for a marriage of their choice besides the rule of their motherland.
- Accidental pregnancy.
This is in the case where the father does not want to avoid his obligation. The two may opt to carry a civil marriage in order for the wife to inherit some of his property in order to case the bringing up of the child.
- Cohabiting and Eloping.
This way the couples avoid the cost of extravagant wedding hence the couple is able to budget for the future.
Other Types of Marriage in Kenya
1. The Christian Marriages.
-In this marriage it is conducted inside a church whereby it is based on several commitments. This type of marriage does not allow the couple to be polygamous. This type of marriage does not allow the couple to be polygamous. This is because a person is entitled to one person.
The marriage can be cancelled if the following happens;
-When the person appears in a duration of 14 days when the marriage has already occurred hence it can be cancelled.
-A notice of objection is notified before the date of the marriage which is to be approved.
-In case the couple divorces in accordance with the rules.
-In case one of the partner disappears more than 3 good years.
2. Hindu Marriage.
It is conducted under Hindu rituals.
The union can be void if;
-One of the couple is not of age.
-When the couple or one of the partner is not of legal age of getting married.
-One of the partners is not of sound mind during the wedding ceremony.
-In case the partner files for a divorce and it is later approved.
-When the couple discovers that one of the partner is involve in adultery cases.
-In the case of violence of one of the spouse.
3. Customary Law Union.
The union is dictated under unwritten rules. In this marriage polygamy can be carried out. You know this actually excites a number of people.
The union can be cancelled if;
-When a divorce is guaranteed.
-When the husband is impotent, In the case of witchcraft.. I mean who can still carry out the engagement with a demonic person of course one needs to run for his or her life.
4. Islamic Law Marriage.
The marriage is known as "nikah" which means wedding. The marriage is carried out when both parties are Islam. The ceremony can either be officiated by Kadhi, Sheik or Imam whom are approved by the registrar.
Although the union can be void if;
-The couple is discovered to have blood ties or incase the bride had already been engage with any member of the groom's family.
-When the partners file a successful divorce.
5. Come we stay.
This wedding is informal. The dowry is not paid. The union is opposed by the many including the religious committee.
6. Same sex marriage.
It is also known as homosexual unions but the bad news or good news the marriage is not approved in our country Kenya.
In conclusion with all that said, one is free to conduct a marriage of his or her choice in accordance with their preference. This is because we are a free country and we are entitled to our lives. Also we should not allow small things such as money barriers come in our way of finding true love.