Taken from the anthropological vocabulary in France, the phrase matrimonial prestations refers to the culturally codified material transfers or services that in most traditional societies render a marriage juridically valid. By such transfers, a party acquires rights over the spouse, such as the right to the spouse's labor, the right to include children into the party's lineage, and the right to claim compensation for adultery or murder. However, the party does not purchase the spouse as one would buy a slave. Furthermore, one should not confuse prestation with the payment for the wedding ceremony itself or with the gifts that usually accompanying it.

Matrimonial prestations are of various types. The most common is bride-price or bridewealth, by which a man pays his in-laws to wed their ...

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