Subject to parental acceptance, Sundanese choose their own spouses, though in the past marriages were arranged by the parents. Polygyny is accepted but rare; men claim cost and wives' opposition as barriers to multiple wives. The marriage itself involves much ritual revolving around the rice goddess, Dewi Sri, and also includes the following stages: the groom's family formally presents a gift to the bride's parents; the marriage contract is concluded by a district Muslim religious official ( naib ); and there is a formal meeting of the bride and groom. Residence is ideally neolocal, but in practice most young couples cannot afford to live alone, so for a period of years they will live with either set of parents.
Sundanese socialization is the responsibility of the mother alone; the father is seen as the one responsible for the physical existence of the child. Perhaps for this reason, children are considered to have a spiritual connection with their mothers rather than their fathers.
An individual's property is divided equally among the surviving spouse and offspring; when no spouse survives, all property is divided equally among the offspring, without regard to sex. This customary rule ( adat ) violates Islamic law, which stipulates that males receive twice what females receive; to avoid this, the male is given two-thirds of the estate, and he in turn gives one-third of what he has received to his sister. The house and surrounding gardens, however, go to the offspring (usually the youngest daughter) who has lived with the parents to care for them.