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Hundreds Of Marriage Certificates Issued After September 2022 Are Invalid

Hundreds of marriage certificates issued after September 2022 could potentially be deemed invalid due to a discrepancy discovered in the law they reference. Following the enactment of the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:17) on May 27, 2022, significant changes were introduced to Zimbabwe’s marriage laws, including the repeal of the Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11) and the Customary Marriages Act (Chapter 5:07).

The Marriages Act (Chapter 5:17) introduced several key provisions, such as civil partnerships, qualified civil marriages, and the recognition of unregistered customary law unions as marriages. Additionally, the new law criminalizes marriages involving individuals under 18 years old.

However, despite these legal updates, a discrepancy has been identified in the physical marriage certificates issued by the Registrar-General’s Office. These certificates incorrectly cite the repealed Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11) instead of the current Marriages Act (Chapter 5:17).

The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has urged couples to review their marriage certificates to identify this error. LSZ executive secretary Edward Mapara issued a public notice advising affected individuals to rectify the mistake by submitting their certificates to Mr. Mpala at the Registrar-General’s Office for correction.

The revelation of defective marriage certificates has caused concern among couples who married after September 2022. Legal experts have emphasized the importance of rectifying these certificates to ensure compliance with legal requirements. Failure to correct the information on the certificates could render the marriages null and void under Zimbabwean law.

Furthermore, the new Marriage Act grants equal rights to women in civil partnerships and registered unions, particularly regarding property sharing upon divorce or the death of a spouse. This provision marks a significant departure from past laws and underscores the importance of legal recognition for various types of unions.



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