The requirements for marriage are the following: Each party must be at least 18 years old; each must be mentally and sexually capable; each may marry; each must give consent; neither party can have any other blood relations (consanguinity or affinity); and the ceremony must comply with all statutory formalities.
The canon law that governs marriage in most of the western European countries and the United States, which is based on English law, has seen a lot of modification due to the changing cultural and social contexts of urbanization and industrialization. Modern marriage law treats marriage as a civil transaction that allows monogamous unions. The legal capacity to marry in the West is generally the same. It is not subject to any impediments like consanguinity or affinity, age limits (which have been raised in most countries to include between 15 and 21 year olds), and mental incapacities. The 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act in the United States defined marriage as an legal union between one man, one woman. States could refuse to recognize marriages that were performed in another state. Many states in the United States have passed similar laws to the Defense of Marriage Act, or changed their constitutions to reflect the same effect. The act’s definitions of marriage were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
Divorce is allowed almost everywhere. However, there are restrictions that restrict divorce from Catholic countries. Only registered civil marriages are recognized in Russia. Monogamy is strictly prohibited in Russia. Marriage must be voluntary between the spouses, who must not be under 18 years old. In South Asia, divorce rates are still affected by caste and social standing.
The prevailing Islamic law in Muslim countries of North Africa, Asia and the Middle East considers marriage a contract between two spouses for the legalization of intercourse and procreation of children. However, it is still seen as a gift from God and a form of service to God. The terms of marriage are determined by the consent of the parties. It may also be made without any ceremony. Marriage is based on the offer and acceptance of both parties, which must be made at one time. Although limited polygamy has been allowed by Islamic law, it has been declining for some time in almost all Muslim countries.
Although polygamy is still allowed under many African countries’ customary laws, there is a rising trend toward monogamy. In that there is not a uniform law on marriage, many developing countries in Africa and other parts of the world are very different from Western nations. The territory’s customary laws or religion determine the regulation of marital relationships. This results in a variety of laws within a territorial unit, which can lead to complicated problems when it comes to tribal, religious, or ethnic intermarriage.