Gender and Land Rights Database


Direito de propriedade e uso da mulher nos Códigos Civil, de Família e Código do Trabalho, Código de Família


The Head of Family Accountability Act, 1985 (PNDC Law 114):
 - Section 1 (1): Safeguards family property by obliging the head of family, who is in custody of such property, to account for all financial dealings associated with it. Any member of the family who has a beneficial right to such property may file a claim in the High Court against a head of family who mismanages the property. However, claimants are required to first try to seek redress at the family level.
 - Section 3: The High Court has the power to compel the head of family to render account or file an inventory in respect of all properties in his possession, control or custody (14).

The law governs three types of marriage:
 - customary marriages
 - marriages under the Marriage Ordinance of 1844
 - marriage under the Mohammedan Ordinance of 1907

The Marriage Ordinance, 1884:
 - States that marriage shall be monogamous and prohibits men from marrying again unless they legally divorce.
 - The Ordinance makes no allowance for a second marriage under customary or Sharia law. Similarly, men who have a first wife by customary law cannot contract a subsequent marriage under the Marriage Ordinance (16).

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1971, (Act 367):
 - Created the legal framework for marriages, both monogamous and polygamous, and provided for matrimonial cases and other related matters (15).
 - Sections 1 and 2: A petition for divorce may be presented to the court on the sole ground that the marriage has broken down beyond reconciliation. 
 - The court may grant maintenance in addition to matrimonial relief.
 - Courts adjudicating Muslim divorces are directed to apply the terms of Act in matters of maintenance and custody (18).

The Customary Marriage and Divorce (Registration) Law, 1985, amended by the Customary Marriage and Divorce (Registration) (Amendment) Law, 1991:
 - The 1991 amendment made the registration of marriages performed according to customary law optional, rather than mandatory, as it was prior to the amendment. The parties to such a marriage may register it at any time after it has been celebrated unless the Secretary for Justice subsequently sets a time limit.
 - The Act also makes optional the notification of the Registrar of the dissolution of marriages performed according to customary law that have been registered under the Act.
 - Provides that a court shall apply customary intestate succession law to a marriage recorded under the Act if it is satisfied that the marriage was validly contracted under customary law (17).

The Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance, 1907:
 - Applies to marriages under Islam, which may be polygamous (9).
 - Specifies that marriage is solemnised in presence of the bridegroom, the bride’s wali, and two witnesses.
 - Provides for registration of marriage and divorce among Muslims within one week (18).

The Children’s Act, 1998:
 - Restricts early marriage and sets the minimum age for marriage at 18 years.
 - Grants parental authority to both parents, who share responsibility for child care (16).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography