The Ghana Law Reform Commission established in 1968 was given the task of reviewing statutory and customary laws and suggesting reforms. Its first programme identified inheritance and marriage law as among the main areas requiring attention. Among the successes of the Commission are counted the Maintenance of Children Decree 1977 and Intestate Succession Law 1985. The Maintenance of Children Decree establishes Family Tribunals to hear complaints about maintenance of children during the subsistence of marriage and after divorce. The Intestate Succession Law provides protection for children in communities where they are not entitled to shares of their deceased parents� estates. The unification of family laws was identified in its 1996 report as a goal of the Commission. To that end, the Commission outlined a plan to assess the application and efficacy of existing legislation through questionnaires to be drafted in co-ordination with women�s groups and NGOs.
In Ghana, marriage is constructed according to the custom of ethnic group of which the couple live. Usually this includes a religious ceremony and a civic registration ceremony commonly known as a wedding. Generally, marriage in Ghana is recognized as a union between a man and a woman with the knowledge of both families of the bride and the groom. In the Volta region of Ghana area, marriage is a union between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife and have gone through all procedures recognized in the society for such a purpose.
In Ghana, the purpose of marriage is to provide companionship for the couple, the means to offer support for each other, and a legitimate avenue for sexual satisfaction and reproduction. Marriage is usually a group affair which involves not only the immediate relatives of the couple but more distant kin folk.
However, in selecting and accepting a potential spouse, certain important conditions have to be met. Members of each family are screened for incurable or contagious diseases, criminal backgrounds, violent behavior, respectfulness, employment status or standard of living, and religious background. Generally, many Ghanaians prefer a spouse who is hardworking and respectful, peaceful (not violent or do not advocate violence), and of the same or compatible religious background. Christians and Muslims do not generally intermarry. However, conversions from one religion to another is preferable prior to marriage.
There are three-(3) primary criteria in classifying the marriage process:
The Islamic marriage ceremony conforms to the Islamic law and traditions. According to Muslim traditions, parents arrange a suitable partner. Compatibility is not considered important, the choice is entirely in the parents hand.