The process of court marriage is quite prevalent throughout the country and is dictated by the special marriage act, 1954. Court marriage is also solemnized between two consenting adults (same or different states) regardless of their religion, caste, or race.
Types of Marriage and Procedure
A marriage that has not been solemnized in the court is referred to as ‘arbitrated’. A bride may be married according to her wish within a stipulated period not less than four months from her approaching the age of eighteen.
A marriage that has been solemnized in the court of law is referred to as ‘conceived’, while a marriage that is solemnized outside the court is called ‘unsectarian’. The procedure to be followed to solemnize marriage is decided by the home affairs authority. All the procedures of court marriage and all the administrative formalities are handled by the home affairs ministry. There are separate procedures for Christians and for other religions. There is no compulsion for either the couple or for anyone to solemnize the marriage. The procedures for Christian couples are different from the procedures of other couples.
Court Marriage and its Parameters
There are certain parameters that should be followed by both the husband and the wife to solemnize a court marriage. The first and foremost is the age of the bride. The younger the age of the bride is, the less formal and legal will be the procedure required in her marriage. The procedure can be made more interesting and memorable if both of them have agreed on some items like names of children, exchange of rings, wedding vows, etc. There are certainly other items that cannot be taken into consideration while going for a court marriage.
There are certain religions that permit some alterations in the procedures followed in their marriages. Certain organizations like the nudist colonies want to marry in such a way that the wedding is without any sort of clothes, makeup, banners, and the like. Such modifications in the court marriage ceremonies make them unique.
The procedure of Court Marriages
Every marriage officer can decide the procedure to be followed after getting the consent of the couple. There are two options in such cases, first one is for the couples to exchange the wedding rings and the second one is for them to wait for thirty days after getting married before exchanging the holy bonds.
The objection can be raised on the basis of the age, disability, or religious belief of the couple. If these factors are taken into consideration, then the procedure will be changed accordingly.
Let us now proceed step by step so that we get clear about the entire procedure. When the couples reach the registrar’s office, they have to fill an application form with the necessary details. The form contains the name of the parties, the names of the guardian or lawyer, and the age of the person concerned. It also includes the clause whether the persons engaged in the court marriage have been previously married and the names of the parents of the parties concerned. This is the second step that is followed when the application reaches the registrar.
The marriage officer will review the case and then proceed to write the prescribed legal documents needed to be provided to the couple. In some cases, he will ask the parties to produce the marriage certificate. The remaining documents required are asked to be given to the registrar. After getting the copies, the clerk will seal the papers and then the couple has to submit themselves to the court so that they can start their lives as husband and wife. This whole procedure takes about three to four weeks depending on the number of parties involved. This time can be extended if both parties agree to it.
The process is much quicker if the parties reach a mutual agreement beforehand. Sometimes, it may be difficult to reach a conclusion without the intervention of a lawyer. Therefore, this step is not necessary if the parties are intending a traditional court marriage. For an arranged or complete divorce, the entire procedure is considered as the second step and it lasts for some time even up to two years.