All over the world, Marriage is a widely celebrated institution. Marriage is a contractual union between a man and a woman who decide to live together as husband and wife for the rest of their life. To understand the concept of marriage, one has to first appreciate the different types of marriages.

What are the types of Marriages recognised in Uganda?

Uganda specifically recognises five types of marriages namely;

Civil marriage under the Marriage Act[1] and the Divorce Act[2]

A civil marriage is a marriage which takes place at the office of the Registrar of Marriages. At the District level a civil marriage is conducted by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).



Church marriages under the Marriage Act[1] and the Divorce Act[2]:

A church marriage must take place in a place which is licensed as a place of worship. Under the law governing a church marriage, a man can marry only one woman; and a woman can only marry one man. A person cannot marry another person when their church marriage is still on. 


Hindu marriage under the Hindu Marriage and Divorce Act[3]:

Islamic marriage under Marriage and Divorce of the Mohammedans Act[4]:

An Islamic marriage is a marriage which takes place according to the Islamic faith. A man can marry up to four wives as long as he treats them equally in all material needs and marriage responsibilities. A man can also choose to marry one woman.


Customary marriage governed by the Customary Marriage (Registration) Act[5]:

A customary marriage is one which is undertaken according to the traditions or customs of a particular community or tribe.


Note: A man can marry more than one wife under a customary marriage. Once you marry more than one person you cannot go Civil or Church with any of them.

A customary marriage can be converted into a Christian marriage or a civil marriage by having a church or civil marriage ceremony. This marriage will no longer be governed by customary law; but will be governed by laws governing marriages in Church or the District Registrar.


The above laws provide the requirements for their respective marriages celebrated there under. As a result of being married, one is able to enjoy among other rights, property rights from the marriage. Issues of matrimonial property arise not only during the subsistence of a marriage but also upon its dissolution.

The 1995 constitution generally provides for the principle of equality of all persons[6]. Every person is guaranteed the right to property under the constitution[7]. The constitution also provides that men and women have a right to marry and found a family and are entitled to equal rights in a marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution[8] and such rights include the property rights.


[1] Marriage Act Chapter 251 Laws of Uganda

[2] Divorce Act Chapter 249 Laws of Uganda

[3] Hindu Marriage and Divorce Act Chapter 250 Laws of Uganda

[4] Marriage and Divorce of the Mohammedans Act Chapter 252 Laws of Uganda

[5] Customary Marriage (Registration) Act Chapter 248 Laws of Uganda

[6] Article 20 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda

[7] Article 26, ibid

[8] Article 31(1), Ibid