V. Glossary

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This page will highlight a few areas for analysis.

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BRIDEPRICE: Money, property, or services paid by a groom or his family to the family of the bride.

COMMON OWNERSHIP: A form of shared tenure (defined below). More than one person or organization owns land or other property—each person owns a portion of the whole, divided equally unless otherwise stated.

CONSENSUAL UNION: Two people who choose to live together as if they were married, but their relationship is not recognized legally.

CUSTOMARY RIGHTS: Rights acquired by custom and recognized by all inhabitants of a particular place.

DOWRY: Money, goods, land or other possessions that a woman brings into a marriage with her; very often paid by her family and sometimes paid to the groom’s family.

FAMILY LAW: A body or collection of laws dealing with matters related to the family; i.e., marriage, divorce, child custody.

HEIR: Any individual that inherits property by will or by law.

INTESTATE: When a person has died without a written or oral record of how and to whom his/her assets should be divided.

INTER VIVOS GIFT: A gift made during the owner’s life.

JOINT TENURE: A form of shared tenure (defined below). More than one person or organization owns or has rights to land or other property—each person has the right to use and control the whole of the property, undivided.

LEGAL RIGHTS: A power, privilege, demand, or claim possessed by a particular person by virtue of law.

MARITAL PROPERTY: All property or other assets belonging to both spouses.

MARITAL PROPERTY REGIME: Rules governing the ownership and ways of managing property of the couple during marriage and when they separate or divorce.

MATRILENIAL: Tracing descent through the maternal line.

MATRILOCAL: Located at or centered around the residence of the wife's family or people.

PATRILINEAL: Tracing descent through the paternal line.

PATRILOCAL: Located at or centered around the residence of the husband's family or people.

PERSONAL LAW: A body or collection of laws dealing with an individual and his or her family.

POLYGAMY: A marriage that includes more than two partners.

RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP: The right of a surviving joint tenant to take ownership of a deceased joint tenant’s share of the property. No will is required to transfer the property to the joint tenant.

SHARED TENURE: The broad category of rights to land and housing shared by two or more people. Shared tenure can be formal or informal. Formal shared tenure conventionally refers to co-ownership or co-lease rights. Shared tenure also includes land and/or housing which is owned, leased or occupied in shares by larger groups, such as through family tenure, community titling, women’s groups and co-operatives, or by couples who each hold a portion of property together, but which do not necessarily constitute equal shares to this property.

SUCCESSION: The right and transmission of the rights and obligations of the deceased to his/her heirs.

USE RIGHT: Legal right to use land for any specified period of time without legal ownership of land.

WIFE INHERITANCE: A relative of a deceased husband marries the widow. Wife inheritance is also known as widow inheritance, bride inheritance, and levirate marriage.