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Conclusion Of Marriage

CHAPTER ONE
CONCLUSION OF MARRIAGE

Section 1. General

Article 1. – Various Forms of Marriage.
1) Marriage may be concluded before an officer of civil status.
2) Notwithstanding the provision of Sub-Article (1) of this Article, marriage may be concluded in accordance with the religion or custom of the future spouses.

Article 2. – Marriage Concluded before an Officer of Civil Status.
Marriage shall be deemed to be concluded before an officer of civil status when a man and a woman have appeared before an officer of civil status for the purpose of concluding marriage and the officer of civil status has accepted their respective consent.

Article 3. – Religious Marriage.
Religious marriage shall take place when a man and a woman have performed such acts or rites as deemed to constitute a valid marriage by their religion or the religion of one of them.

Article 4. – Marriage According to Custom.
Marriage according to custom shall take place when a man and a woman have performed such rites as deemed to constitute a valid marriage by the custom of the community in which they live or by the custom of the community to which they belong or to which one of them belongs.

Article 5. – Marriage Celebrated Abroad.
Marriage celebrated abroad in accordance with the law of the place of celebration shall be valid in Ethiopia so long as does not contravene public moral.

Section 2. Essential Conditions of Marriage

Article 6. – Consent.
A valid marriage shall take place only when the spouses have given their free and full consent.

Article 7. – Age
1) Neither a man nor a woman who has not attained the full age of eighteen years shall conclude marriage.
2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Article (1) of this Article, the Minister of Justice may, on the application of the future spouses, or the parents or guardian of one of them, for serious cause, grant dispensation of not more than two years.

Article 8. – Consanguinity.
1) Marriage between persons related by consanguinity in the direct line, between ascendants and descendants, is prohibited.
2) In the collateral line, a man cannot conclude marriage with his sister or aunt; similarly, a woman cannot conclude marriage with her brother or uncle.

Article 9. – Affinity
1) Marriage between persons related by affinity in the direct line is prohibited.
2) In the collateral line, marriage between a man and the sister of his wife, and a woman and the brother of her husband is prohibited.

Article 10. – Filiations not Established Legally.
The existence of a bond of natural filiation which is commonly known to the community is sufficient to render applicable the impediments to marriage referred to in Articles
8 and 9, notwithstanding that the filiation is not legally established.

Article 11. – Bigamy.
A person shall not conclude marriage as long as he is bound by bonds of a preceding marriage.

Article 12. – Representation not Allowed.
1) Each of the future spouses shall personally be present and consent to the marriage at the time and place of its celebration.
2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Art. (1) of this Article, marriage by representation may be allowed by the Ministry of Justice where it has ascertained that there is a serious cause and the person who intended to do so has fully consented thereto.

Article 13. – Fundamental Error.
1) Marriage concluded as a result of error in consent shall not be valid.
2) Consent is deemed to be vitiated as a result of error where such error is a fundamental error.
3) Without prejudice to the provisions of Sub-Article (2) of this Article, the following shall be considered to be fundamental errors:
(a) Error on the identity of the spouse, where it is not the person with whom a person intended to conclude marriage;
(b) Error on the state of health of the spouse who is affected by a disease that does not heal or that can be genetically transmitted to descendants;
(c) Error on the bodily conformation of the spouse who does not have the requisite sexual organs for the consummation of the marriage;
(d) Error on the behavior of the spouse who has the habit of performing sexual acts with person of the same sex.

Article 14. – Consent Extorted by Violence.
1) Marriage concluded as a result of consent which is extorted by violence shall be valid.
2) Consent is deemed to be extorted by violence where it is given by a spouse to protect himself or one of his ascendants or descendants, or any other close relative from a serious and imminent danger or threat of danger.

Article 15. – Judicially Interdicted Persons.
1) Any person who is judicially interdicted shall not be conclude marriage unless authorized, for that purpose, by the court.
2) An application to this effect may be made by the interdicted person himself or by his guardian.

Article 16. – Period of widowhood.
1) A woman may not remarry unless one hundred and eight days have elapsed since the dissolution of the previous marriage.
2) The provision of Sub-Article (1) of this Article shall not apply where:
(a) The woman gives birth to a child after the dissolution of her marriage;
(b) The woman remarries her former husband;
(c) It is proved by medical evidence that the woman is not pregnant;
(d) The court dispenses the woman from observing the period of widowhood.

Section 3. Opposition to Marriage

Article 17. – Opposition.
Opposition may be made when marriage is to be concluded in violation of one of the essential conditions of marriage.

Article 18. – Opposition by whom Made.
Opposition to the conclusion of marriage shall be made only by the following persons:
(a) In case of age, by the parents of the minor, public prosecutor or any other interested persons;
(b ) In case of relationship by consanguinity or affinity, by the ascendants of the future spouses, or the ascendants of one of them, or by the brothers or sisters of the future
Spouses, who have attained the age of eighteen years or by the public prosecutor;
(c) In case of bigamy, by the person aligning to have had a prior martial relationship with the bigamous spouse or by the public prosecutor;
(d) In case of judicial interdiction, by his guardian, or by the public prosecutor.

Article 19. – Forms and Time of Opposition
1) Opposition to marriage shall be made in writing and submitted to the officer of civil status within fifteen days from the notification of the marriage.
2) The officer of civil status shall receive the opinion of the future spouses before deciding on the opposition.

Article 20. – Decision on the Opposition.
1) The officer of civil status shall decide on the opposition within five days.
2) The decision of the officer to celebrate the marriage shall be final.
3) Where the opposition is sustained, the officer of civil status shall refuse to celebrate the marriage.
4) In such case, the officer of civil status shall give reasons of his refusal and inform same forthwith to the future spouses.

Article 21. – Appeal.
1) The future spouse or one of them may petition to the court against refusal under Sub-Article (3) of Article 20.
2) Where the court overrules the decision of the officer of civil status, such officer shall celebrate the marriage.

Section 4. Marriage Celebrated before an Officer of Civil status (civil marriage)

Article 22. – Authorized Officer of Civil Status.
Civil marriage shall be concluded before the officer of civil status of the place where one of the future spouses or one of the ascendants or close relatives of one of them has established residence by continuously living, there for not less than six months prior to the date of the marriage.

Article 23. – Request for Celebration of Marriage.
The future spouses shall inform the officer of civil status of their intention to conclude marriage not less than one month prior to its celebration.

Article 24. – Fixing the Date of Marriage.
Upon receipt of the request, the officer of civil status shall, in consultation with the future spouses, decide the exact date of the conclusion of marriage and publicize same by any appropriate means.

Article 25. – Formalities of Celebration.
1) Marriage shall be concluded publicly in the presence of the future spouses and two witnesses for each of the future spouses.
2) The future spouses and the witnesses shall declare, under oath, that the essential conditions of marriage are not violated.
3) The officer of civil status shall inform the future spouses and their witnesses, before taking oath, of the consequences of their declaration.
4) Each of the future spouses shall declare openly to the officer of civil status that they consented to conclude marriage on their own free will.
5) Each of the spouses and their witnesses shall sign in the register of civil status.
6) Upon fulfillment of the formalities prescribed above, the officer of civil status shall pronounce them united I marriage and shall issue a certificate of marriage to that effect.

Section 5. Other Marriages

Article 26. – Religious Marriage
1) The conclusion of religious marriage and the formalities thereof shall be as prescribed by the religion concerned.
2) The provision of this Code relating to the essential conditions of marriage shall be complied within religious marriage.

Article 27. – Customary Marriage.
1) The conclusion of customary marriage and the formalities thereof shall be as prescribed by the custom of the community concerned.
2) The provisions of this code relating to the essential conditions of marriage shall be compiled with in customary marriage.

Section 6. Registration of Marriage

Article 28. – Registration.
1) Marriage shall be registered by a competent officer of civil status irrespective of the form according to which the marriage is celebrated.
2) The officer of civil status who recorded the marriage in accordance with Sub-Article (1) of this Article shall issue a certificate of marriage to the spouses.
3) Any marriage shall have effect from the date of its conclusion.

Article 29. – Record of Marriage.
1) Where the spouses have failed to have registered their marriage in accordance with Sub-Article (1) of Article 28, the officer of civil status shall draw up the record of marriage of his own motion whenever he becomes aware of the marriage.
2) In such cases, the officer of civil status shall summon the spouses and their witnesses to sign in the record of marriage.

Article 30. – Particulars of the Record of Marriage.
The record of marriage shall show:
(a) The full names, dates, and places of birth, of each of the spouses and their address;
(b) The full names, dates, and places of birth, of the witnesses, and their addresses;
(c) The form of the marriage, the date on which it has been concluded and the date of its registration.