Ordinance No: 81-02- of 29 June 1981 regulating marriage and civil status in the republic of Cameroon have made it compulsory for intending spouses to lodge with the civil status registrar a declaration of their intention to contract a marriage. The civil status registrar is expected to make the publication of marriage intention public at least 30 days before the marriage is contracted. However, the law gives room for intending spouses to apply for a waiver from publication of marriage banns in Cameroon as the procedure shall be highlighted below.
PUBLICATION OF MARRIAGE BANNS
Now within the 30 days’ period of publication of marriage banns, a person who have legitimate interest may object to the celebration of the marriage. The objection can be made verbally or in writing to the civil status registrar who published the marriage. Persons who have legitimate interest to object to the celebration of the marriage are:
- The father, mother, guardian for spouses-to-be who are minors
- A customary authority, particularly in case of customary incest
- The husband of a woman who is committed by the bonds of an undisclosed previous marriage.
- The wife of a man who is committed by the bonds of an undisclosed previous monogamous marriage.
Now intending spouses who don’t intent to publish their marriage intentions can formally apply to a state prosecutor in Cameroon for a waiver from publication of marriage banns under section 55 of Ordinance No: 81-02- of 29 June 1981. This is a discretionary power and as such the reasons for the waiver must be serious to enable the prosecutor dispense with the compulsory publication of marriage banns intentions.
PROCEDURE FOR THE WAIVER FROM PUBLICATION OF MARRIAGE BANNS
- Intending spouses should contact and issue a power of Attorney to a family Attorney in Cameroon.
- Submit to their Attorney a signed application for a waiver from publication of marriage banns addressed to the state prosecutor.
- Also submit: a copy of their identity card, birth certificate and single status attestation to their Attorney.
- When the waiver from publication of marriage banns is signed by the state prosecutor, same must be legalized at the ministry of external relation for it to be admitted in any embassy abroad.
In conclusion, it is worthy to note that most state prosecutors in exercising their discretionary waiver powers feels comfortable interviewing the intending spouses in his chamber. When it is practically not feasible for the intending spouses to appear before the state prosecutor to apply for a waiver from publication of marriage banns, we strongly recommend them to brief an Attorney to make the application on their behalf.
Article by Barr. Mafany Victor Ngando
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