The marriage certificate is a very vital document , issued to a couple at the marriage registry upon legalizing their union. (Find out how to replace your marriage certificate) This is the only acceptable evidence by law that two people are married.
Who should keep the certificate, is it the Man or the Woman? Well, during the marriage ceremony at the Marriage Registry the marriage certificate is handed over to the bride by the registrar who tells her to keep it in her custody. You may be wondering the reason for this?
Though non of them has the right to ownership of the marriage certificate but the marriage certificate is needed mostly by the woman and this is made clearly known by handing over of the marriage certificate to her and instructing her to keep it.
She is meant to give it to the husband anytime he needs it but it should be returned back to the woman. You may wonder why should the certificate been in the custody of the woman since the man is the head of the family.
Well, by law the woman needs to be protected more as she has a lot working against her. In Africa for instance, where she has to battle with her In laws upon the death of her husband, also most African men are polygamous in nature, hence the need for the law to protect the woman.
Being in custody of the marriage certificate doesn’t rule out the fact that her husband can take another wife but the second wife can never be a legal wife except her marriage is dissolved and the dissolving of the marriage can not be done without her knowledge and consent as she is in possession of the marriage certificate .
Moreover, due to her change of name , she will always need the marriage certificate .
Couples who truly love, understand and trust each other, do not fight or fret over who keeps the marriage certificate as it is a non issue to them. Instead both of them have an agreed place to keep it or anyone between them who is more capable of keeping a document safely, keeps it.
Hence, it is very important to note that although the marriage certificate is handed over to the woman at the marriage registry , neither her nor the man has the right to ownership of the certificate .
Couples should also remember that the marriage certificate should never be laminated for it to remain valid.