Marriage

1.      Define Marriage.

Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code. (Article 1 of the Family Code)

 

2.      What are the requirements to get married?

To get married, one must make sure that both the essential and formal requisites of marriage are present:

 

The essential requisites of marriage are

a)      Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; and

b)      Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer (Article 2 of the New Family Code).

 

The formal requisites of marriage are

a)      Authority of the solemnizing officer;

b)      A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and

c)      A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. (Article 3 of the Family Code)

 

3.      Who may contract marriage?

Any male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 and 38, may contract marriage. (Article 5 of the Family Code)

 

4.      Can a person marry a person of the same sex in our country?

No. The law clearly states that the contracting parties must be a male and a female. Marriages between persons of the same sex are not valid and are not recognized in the Philippines.

 

“Any male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 and 38, may contract marriage.” (Article 5 of the Family Code)

 

5.      What if I am a Filipino man legally married my husband in the U.S. Will our marriage be recognized in the Philippines?

No, it is stated in in the Family Code of the Philippines that the contracting parties must be a man and a woman. Any marriages between people of the same sex would not be recognized in the Philippines for reasons of public policy.

 

“Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code”. (Article 1 of the Family Code)

 

6.      What is the process if I want to get married to my girlfriend?

If you wish to get married, you must first obtain a marriage license from the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where one of the parties habitually resides. (Article 9 of the Family Code)

 

To obtain a marriage license, the civil registrar requires that, the parties:

a)      File separately a sworn application for such a license with the proper local civil registrar;

b)      Present their NSO-issued birth certificate upon filing of application or their baptismal certificate.

 

The basic requirements to get a marriage license are

  1. NSO Birth Certificate – 1 original and 2 photocopies
  2. Parents’ Consent or Parental Advice –

Parents’ Consent – if one or both of the parties are between ages of 18 to 21 years old, they should present a written parental consent from their parents or legal guardian.

Parental Advice – if one or both of the parties are between the ages of 21 to 25 years old, they should present a parental advice that their parents are allowing their marriage.

  1. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
  2. Certificate of Attendance – indicating that the couple had attended seminars on pre-marital counseling and family planning conducted by the Municipal hall or City hall from which they had applied their marriage licenses.
  3. Cedula – 1 original and 2 photocopies.
  4. Barangay Clearance or Barangay Certification – 1 original and 1 photocopy
  5. At least 2 valid IDs

 

7.      What if I am a widower, what is the process?

If one or both the parties were previously married and their spouse had died, the party concerned should prepare the following:

  1. NSO Birth Certificate – 1 original and 2 photocopies
  2. Parents’ consent or Parental Advice
  3. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) or Certificate of Singleness – 1 original and 1 photocopy
  4. Certificate of Attendance
  5. Cedula – 1 original and 2 photocopies
  6. Barangay Certification or Barangay Clearance – 1 original and 1 photocopy
  7. Death Certificate of Deceased Spouse – 1 original and 2 photocopies

 

8.      How about if I’m a divorcee or had my marriage annulled?

If one or both the parties were previously married and had a divorce or gotten their marriage annulled, the party concerned should prepare the following:

  1. NSO Birth Certificate – 1 original and 2 photocopies
  2. Parents’ Consent or Parental Advice
  3. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) or Certificate of Singleness – 1 original and 1 photocopy
  4. Certificate of Attendance
  5. Cedula – 1 original and 2 photocopies
  6. Barangay Certification or Barangay Clearance – 1 original and 1 photocopy
  7. Certificate of Finality of Annulment from the Court – 1 original and 2 photocopies
  8. Certificate of Registration from the Local Civil Registrar – 1 original and 2 photocopies.

 

The party concerned should prepare, in addition to the basic requirements, the judicial decree of the absolute divorce obtained, or the judicial decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of his or her previous marriage in lieu of the NSO-birth certificate. (Article 13 of Family Code of the Philippines)

 

9.      What if I’m a foreigner looking to marry my girlfriend in the Philippines?

If one or both the parties are foreigners, they should prepare an original Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry from their respective embassies. The foreigner spouse should likewise prepare a photocopy of his passport showing that he has arrived in the Philippines at least eleven (11) days prior to the wedding.

 

The requirements needed by the foreigner to get married are

  1. Passport – 2 photocopies
  2. Latest date of Arrival – 2 photocopies
  3. ID – 2 photocopies
  4. Certificate of Legal Capacity – This is a document issued by the respective regional diplomatic officials or consular officials.
  5. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) or Certificate of Singleness

 

10.  What if I’m a foreigner who had been divorced? Will there be any other required documents?

Yes. Apart from the above requirements, you should also prepare the Judicial Decree for Absolute Divorce (1 original and 2 photocopies).

 

11.  How about if I am a foreigner who had lost his wife 10 years ago?

Apart from the basic requirements, you should also prepare the Death Certificate of Deceased Spouse (1 original and 2 photocopies).

 

12.  What if I’m a foreigner who is now a Naturalized Filipino?

All of the basic requirements should be secured as well as the Naturalization Papers (1 original and 2 photocopies).

 

13.  I have secured all the documents required and wish to get married. What are the steps?

The basic steps to getting married in the Philippines are as follows:

a)      Schedule a Pre-marital seminar at the City Health Department or Municipal Health Department and pay the necessary fees.

b)      Attend the Pre-marital Seminars conducted by the Municipal Health Department or City Health Department and the Department of Social Welfare and Development

c)      Get the Certificate of Attendance for the seminar attended.

d)      Get and fill out the Application for Marriage (Form 90)

e)      Attach all the necessary documents needed (the basic documents mentioned above)

f)       Submit the Application and attached documents

g)      Get the Claim slip

h)      Wait until the Application had been posted by the posting officer

i)        Get the Marriage License

 

14.  How long is the marriage license valid?

The marriage license is valid for 120 days from the date of issue. This means that you must secure the marriage license within 120 days from the date of your wedding.

 

15.  I am in Italy and my fiancée is in the Philippines about to give birth. Can I ask my brother to stand in as proxy for me to get married so our child will be legitimate?

No, marriage by proxy is not allowed in the Philippines. This means that both the parties must be present at the celebration of their wedding.

 

16.  I just turned 18 and I’m planning to marry my girlfriend. Can I just secure a marriage license and get married?

No. Persons between 18 years of age and 21 years of age are required to obtain the consent of their parents to get married.

 

“A person between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-one (21) years old is required by law to secure the parental consent of his/her father, mother, surviving parent or guardian in the order given.” (Article 14 of Family Code of the Philippines) 

 

17.  So if we get married without the consent of our parent’s our marriage is deemed invalid under the eyes of law?

No. Even if you had failed to obtain your parents’/guardian’s consent, your marriage is still considered as valid subject to the right of your parents or guardians to file for the annulment of your marriage within five (5) years from the celebration of the marriage. (Article 47 of the Family Code of the Philippines)

 

18.  What if I’m already 24 years and I couldn’t get the approval of my parents to get married, does that mean I have to wait till I’m 26 to get married?

Not necessarily. If the parties, who are between the ages of 21 and 25, cannot obtain the parental advice required by law to enable them to get married, their marriage license will still be issued but only after three months following the completion of the publication of the application. (Article 16 of Family Code of the Philippines) 

 

19.  Who may solemnize the marriage?

Marriage may be solemnized by:

a)      Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction;

b)      Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect;

c)      Any ship captain or airplane chief only in the case mentioned in Article 31;

d)      Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation, likewise only in the cases mentioned in Article 32;

e)      Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case provided in Article 10. (Article 7 of the Family Code)

 

20.  My fiancée and I belong to different religions. Who should solemnize our wedding?

For the marriage to be valid, the solemnizing officer of their marriage must belong to the church or religious sect of one of the contracting parties. (Article 7 of Family Code of the Philippines) 

 

21.  My fiancé and I ran into some pastors, whom we got close to, in England. They ministered our wedding. Would our wedding be valid, considering they were of a different religion from me and my fiancé?

No, the wedding would not be valid. The solemnizing officer must be of the same religion as one of the contracting parties. The minister of another religious sect has no authority to solemnize the marriage of the parties who belong to another religion. Absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio. (Article 4 of the Family Code)

 

22.  How about if we had truly believed that they were of the same religion as me and my fiancé?

If either or both the parties believed in good faith that the solemnizing officer had authority to celebrate marriage, then the marriage is deemed as valid. (Article 35 (2) of Family Code of the Philippines)

 

23.  Are there any marriages which do not need a marriage license?

Yes. The marriages which have the following circumstances are exempted from the required marriage license rule.

a)      Where one or both of the contracting parties are at the point of death;

b)      Where the residence of either party is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar;

c)      Marriages among Muslims or among members of the ethnic cultural communities may be performed validly without the necessity of marriage license, provided that they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices;

d)      Marriage where the parties had lived together as husband and wife for at least 5 years and without any legal impediment to marry each other.

 

24.  I am a Filipino who fell in love with a man from an ethnic tribe. We got married under their traditional customs and rites. Would we still need to get married again front of a solemnizing officer?

Marriages among members of the ethnic cultural communities may be performed validly without the necessity of a marriage license, provided that they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices. (Article 33 Family Code of the Philippines)

 

25.  I’ve been living together with my partner for 7 years without getting married. Would we still need a marriage license to get married?

Parties who had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years are exempt from the requirement of a marriage license. However, there must not be any legal impediment for the parties to marry each other. In place of a marriage license, the parties are required to execute an affidavit that they have lived together for at least 5 years. (Article 34 of Family Code of the Philippines)

 

26.  If we were minors when we started living together, would the counting of 5 years start from the moment we cohabited?

No. The 5 years of cohabitation is reckoned from the time when both parties are of legal age. This is due to the fact that minority is deemed a legal impediment. Thus, the counting of the 5 year cohabitation would start when both the parties have achieved the age of majority. (Article 34 of Family Code of the Philippines)

 

27.  I am a military man who got wounded in battle, and being informed that I was at death’s door, I married my military girlfriend before our commanding officer. Considering that I managed to live, would my marriage still be valid?

Yes, marriages under articulo mortis which were solemnized by the commanding officer are recognized as valid even when the injured party survives. (Article 27 of the Family Code of the Philippines)

 

28.  What is “Articulo Mortis”?

Articulo Mortis means is a Latin phrase, meaning “at the point of death” or “in the article of death”.

 

29.  What if the marriage under “Articulo Mortis” occurred not during the sea or air or at a place of combat, but at a port of call, will it still be valid?

Yes, marriages in articulo mortis between passengers or crew members, having been solemnized by the ship captain or pilot is also valid during stopovers at ports of call, and is also exempt from the marriage license requirement.

 

30.  Are marriages between first cousins allowed?

No, marriages between collateral blood relatives, where legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree, are deemed void from the beginning for reasons of public policy. (Article 38(7) of the Family Code of the Philippines)

 

31.  How about marriages between adopted and legitimate siblings, sharing no blood between them?

They are still not allowed. A marriage between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter is deemed as void from the beginning for reasons of public policy. (Article 38(7) of the Family Code)

 

32.  If my husband disappeared in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, can I now remarry considering there is a high possibility that he is dead as he hasn’t been heard from again?

No, you cannot remarry just yet. A declaration of presumptive death of the absentee spouse is needed before you can validly remarry. Without such declaration, the subsequent marriage is considered null and void. (Article 41 of the Family Code)

 

33.  So if I secure a decree of presumptive death of my missing spouse, I can remarry?

Yes, once the decree of presumptive death has been secured, you are now free to remarry.

 

34.  What will happen if my missing spouse suddenly appears after I had gotten married again?

The subsequent marriage will be automatically terminated upon the recording of the affidavit of the reappearance of the absent spouse as your marriage to him is still considered as valid and subsisting. (Article 42 of the Family Code)