A customary marriage is one celebrated in accordance with the rites of an African community to which one of the parties is a member. In circumstances where parties to the marriage are from different tribes, the customs of the woman would be the one to be followed.
The law of the Republic of Uganda provides for a customary marriage between parties to be registered with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). However, if a couple doesn’t register it, their union remains legally binding and acceptable.
1. After the customary marriage is celebrated, the couple is supposed to appear with two witnesses before a sub-county chief of the area where the ceremony took place or the town clerk if the marriage took place in a town or municipality.
2. A copy of a certificate and a cover letter from the sub-county chief or town clerk is then taken to URSB offices for the marriage to be registered and entered onto the Marriage Register.
3. A certificate of customary marriage will be issued on payment of a fee.
The registration process costs Ugx. 20,000 if registered within six months of the ceremony occurring, and Ugx. 40,000 if registered after six months of the marriage ceremony,
Notably, customary marriage potentially polygamous; however, after a man has married multiple partners customarily, he may not marry one of them in the church because the law already recognises his other wives as legal partners.