We represent individuals involved in international divorce and deal with all related issues, including financial settlements, disputes over children and maintenance payments. If you or your spouse is a British national who has a connection to Ghana or you are an expat living in another country we can provide you with the advice you need to ensure your divorce runs as smoothly as possible and help you reach a satisfactory settlement.
Ghanaian laws and English law differ markedly in their approach to divorce and financial settlements, here we provide a brief outline of some aspects of the family law system in Ghana that could have a bearing on your case.
Ghana Marriage And Divorce Law
The state of Ghana recognises three types of marriages – ordinance, customary and Islamic. Customary marriages and breakdown are generally governed by the customs relevant to a particular region. Other marriages are regulated by The Matrimonial Causes Act, 1971 (the MCA) and the Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance 1907.
The MCA gives men and women equal rights to enter marriage. In Islamic marriages however a wali is required to represent the wife at the registration of marriage and at any future divorce proceedings.
Dissolution of marriage and divorce is regulated by The Matrimonial Causes Act, 1971. Its main provisions include:
- Either party to a marriage can seek a divorce if the marriage has broken down beyond reconciliation
- Powers of the courts to grant custody and rights and responsibilities of the children to ‘any person’ (meaning equal rights for both parents)
Property Division In Ghanaian Divorce
Current laws on property division following divorce are seen as falling short when it comes to protecting the rights of the financially weaker spouse – usually the wife in Ghanaian divorces. Indeed the legislature has spent several years considering a Property Rights of Spouses Bill to address these perceived shortcomings.
As things stand a wife is commonly denied any right to property acquired during a marriage. Having said that the courts have shown a willingness to fill the vacuum caused by the Ghanaian parliament’s failure to introduce a spousal property law. Since 2018 the courts have applied the law in a way that is more favourable to wives. In one notable 2018 case the Supreme Court went so far as to rule that property acquired during marriage is joint property – even if the spouse did not make any financial contribution to it
Getting Advice On Family Law In Ghana
If you or your spouse have any legal connection to Ghana, it’s essential to get advice from an experienced lawyer if you are considering divorce. As we have seen, the outcome for the financially weaker spouse in a Ghanaian divorce is likely to be significantly worse than any settlement arrived at by an English court. So you may wish to consider urgently issuing proceedings under English law if you are the financially weaker party to the marriage.
Here at Brookman this is the kind of issue we deal with all the time in cross border divorces. Even if we have not dealt directly with Ghanaian law our knowledge of a wide spectrum of legal systems across the world enables us to guide you comprehensively should it be wiser for you to divorce under English law.
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