Ivoirian marriages center on the combining of two families. The creation of a new household is significant to wedding rituals. The government abolished polygamy in 1964, and set the legal marriage age at eighteen for boys and sixteen for girls, although polygamy is a widely accepted lifestyle among many native ethnic groups. Additionally, the government does not recognize forced marriage or dowries ("bride prices") paid to the mother's family to legitimize the marriage. Although marriage customs are changing and becoming more Westernized, a large majority engage in traditional native wedding rituals. Divorce, although not common, is socially acceptable among most ethnic groups.
Domestic Unit. Whether the family lives in an urban or rural setting, the extended family is the basic social unit. Despite lineage, men are generally seen as the power head of the household, while women tend to domestic needs and childrearing. In the Baoule village, the women live with their husbands' families; among the Senufo, husbands and wives live separately with men living in rectangular houses and their wives occupying round ones. When girls get married and leave home, it is the responsibility of the sons to care for the elders of the household.
Inheritance. Men dominate inheritance practices in traditional societies. Both Baoule and Senufo people belong to their mother's family group; power and land are passed down through a mother's family line to her sister's sons. In the Bete and Nyula groups, inheritance is passed down to the through the father's line to the sons. In most traditional societies in Côte d'Ivoire, women do not have the right to inherit land, but only to use that of their husbands or families. Legislation was enacted in 1983 to allow women greater control of their property after marriage.