You Must Wait for atleast one year After Marriage to Divorce -New Marriage Bill

The proposed Marriage Bill of 2022, spearheaded by Tororo Woman Member of Parliament Sarah Opendi, aims to bring significant reforms to the laws governing marriage and separation of property in Uganda. Among its provisions is a requirement that a spouse seeking divorce must wait for a year before proceeding, emphasizing the gravity and seriousness of the decision.

Opendi emphasizes the need for formal registration of all marriages, regardless of religious affiliation, to bring order and organization to society. The bill also aims to address issues surrounding polygamy, with proposals suggesting that civil marriages should not be restricted to monogamy, acknowledging cultural differences and historical contexts.

Furthermore, the bill seeks to modernize marriage procedures, ensuring that both parties are physically present during the ceremony. Flexibility is emphasized, allowing for online ceremonies, such as the Muslim practice of Nikah, while maintaining the requirement that the officiant must be government-licensed.

In addition to procedural changes, the bill introduces measures to protect spouses and uphold the sanctity of marriage. DNA tests would require a court order, and falsely claiming marriage status or breaching promises to marry would be considered offenses.

The consultation process for the bill involved various stakeholders, including cultural leaders, civil society organizations, and the media, ensuring diverse perspectives were considered. Concerns were raised about potential vulnerabilities and domestic violence, particularly regarding property ownership and manipulation by inactive partners.

Overall, the Marriage Bill aims to modernize marriage laws in Uganda, promoting fairness, accountability, and protection for all parties involved, while respecting cultural diversity and tradition.

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