Requirements of Marriage in the Philippines

The requirements of a valid marriage in the Philippines are contained in the Family Code. This law mentions two classes of marriage requirements, namely the essential as well as the formal requirements of marriage.

It is important for a person who is intending to get married to know what these requirements are to ensure that the marriage will not have any legal defects.

For this reason, I have prepared this simple guide regarding the requirements of marriage in the Philippines to help prospective spouses in their desire to have a valid marriage, thus:

Essential Requirements

What are the essential requirements for a valid marriage in the Philippines?

In order for a marriage to be valid, the following essential requirements should be present:

  1. Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be male and female; and
  2. Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.

requirements of marriage ph

What is meant by legal capacity to marry?

This simply means that there is no legal impediment preventing the person to marry. Thus, he or she must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the marriage. The contracting parties must not be related to each other and that their marriage is not prohibited by reasons of public policy. In addition, a married person cannot marry again unless his or her marriage has been declared void or is annulled.

Can the contracting parties be of the same sex?

No. The law clearly states that the parties must be male and female.

What are the requirements in order that consent will be valid?

The consent must be freely given and that it must be given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.

What will happen to the marriage if no consent was given?

The marriage will be considered void from the start.

What will happen to the marriage when consent was obtained through force or intimidation?

The marriage will be considered valid until annulled. For example, Mark threatened to kill Jill if the latter does not marry the former and Jill was forced to marry Mark as a result of this threat, the marriage will be voidable or annullable because the consent was vitiated, or obtained through threat.

Formal Requirements

What are the formal requirements for a valid marriage in the Philippines?

In order for a marriage to be valid, the following formal requirements should be present:

  1. Authority of the solemnizing officer
  2. Valid marriage license except for marriages in articulo mortis
  3. 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.

Who can act as a solemnizing officer?

  1. Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction;
  2. 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 him 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;
  3. Any ship captain or airplane chief only for marriages in articulo mortis
  4. Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation, likewise only for marriages in articulo mortis
  5. Any consul general, consul or vice-consul for marriages between Filipino citizens abroad

Can a mayor also act as a solemnizing officer?

Yes. By virtue of the Local Government Code, which took effect in 1992, the mayor of a city or municipality is empowered to solemnize a marriage.

What are the requirements so that a marriage license will be valid?

It must be issued by the local civil registrar of the place where the marriage application was filed and it should be used within 120-days from the date it was issued.

Is a marriage certificate an essential or a formal requisite?

While it is provided by law that the declaration must be contained in a marriage certificate, the absence of a marriage certificate will not affect the validity of marriage because it is neither an essential or a formal requirement.

What will happen in case an essential or a formal requisite is absent?

The absence of any of the essential or formal requisite shall render the marriage void from the start.

What is the distinction between the essential vs. formal requisite?

A defect in any of the formal requisite shall render the marriage voidable. However, an irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the validity of marriage but the party/parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.

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28 Comments

  1. marc leon says:

    want assistance with affadavit in lieu of marriage. I had gone to u.s.s embassy in Philippines, but told needed appointment. I am us citizen with passport.

    MW

    THANKS

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      affidavit in lieu of marriage? maybe you mean a certification that you were married in the US…

  2. Kay says:

    What is Permit Marriage date or Approval of marriage date?where i can get it?

  3. Weng says:

    “A foreign divorce decree must be recognized here in the Philippines to enable a Filipino to remarry in the Philippines.” What if the divorce decree was secured by the foreign spouse, but not judicially recognized here in the Philippines, can the divorced Filipino citizen remarry legally as long as it is not here in the Philippines? Thanks!

  4. olivelumbis says:

    hi atty.. i learned alot from reading your articles and legal advices to others.. naoopen ako sa mga legal issues.. may problem din po ako and hope makakuha ako ng advice sayo about legal separation or panu makasal ang 9yrs years living together partners. walang balita sa ex wife,never tried to communicate kanya without legal advice kasi baka manggulo lang siya

  5. shehann says:

    im a filipino ,plan to marry with egyptian man in the phil,my question is,he need a permit to marry if we will marry under sharia law?if yes where he can get it and if in the egypt embassy in phil how many days it will take?he can get it in their country?and after marriage how long i can request the marriage contract in nso?pls reply
     

  6. trish says:

     
    We are in the process of completing our Prospective marriage visa application and I understand that one of the requirements is the letter of an authorised marriage celebrant, I am just wondering if we could get a letter from an authorised celebrant in the Philippines rather than in Australia, would that be possible?
     
    Thank you and additional information about this matter would be very much appreciated.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Trish, please post your question at the forum section of this website. I will answer it once I see it posted there

  7. karen says:

    Can an acting mayor solemnize a marriage?

  8. rose says:

    Hiatty I read about.i need help.i want to get married but my problem is im married before but we dont have any communication after married because I went abroad it is possible to get married again.its almost 9years now no contact. Pl advice me

  9. pinky says:

    magandang gabi po Atty. James Biron, gusto na po namin magpakasal ng aking boyfriend kahit civil wedding po. 22 ako at sya naman ay 24. ayaw naming malaman ito ng aming mga magulang. maari po ba kaming ikasal kahit walang consent ng magulang?

    Maraming salamat po atty. God Bless

  10. jovelyn says:

    hi am a filipina,i want to marry a indian in courin philippines,i am now in hongkong and he is in india.We are planning to go back in philippines to marry.What are the documents he need to bring?and he still need a witness from his family or not?please i want an answer thank you…

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Aside from the requirements I listed in this article. Your partner must also secure a certification from the Indian Embassy in the Philippines stating that he has the legal capacity to contract marriage.

  11. jovelyn says:

    i mean an indian guy and we want a court marriage.

  12. creh says:

    atty. james biron..aq po ay isang pilipina gusto sanang itanong kung anu po ang requirements sa pagpapakasal dito sa pilipinas kung ang papakasalan ay isang muslim..anu po ba ang tamang proceso???at anu ang mga documents na kailangan namin para legal na maikasal dito sa pilipinas? sana po mabigyan ninyo aq ng payo ukol dito samalat po.God bless!

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Creh, if your partner is a Muslim from another country, he must first get a certification from their embassy stating that he has the legal capacity to contract marriage. For everything else, follow the list of requirements I posted in this article.

  13. junifen says:

    hi atty, my cousin(he is 25) is processing claim frm OWWA for his mum’s death overseas. He is the only child but according t the OWWAs documents the husband is the legal beneficiary as they were married. his parents got married abroad before he was born.. But since he was about 4 yrs old his father went overseas and stopped communicating to his family(wife and son)..not even letter, phone call. MY cousin and his mum hasnt seen him since he left.. my cousin went to his dad’s province in search for his dad. he met his dad’s families but not his dad.. a police relative of his dad stated that his dad is missing(? running away from a criminal case).. nobody knows his whereabout) what shall he do or wat requirements to produce for him to make him the legitimate beneficiary..thanks.. he really need the benefits for the burial and expenses..and to strat over.. he is 25 ,married and has 2 kids ages 4 and 2.. self employed with very little income- thats why he was still depending from his deceased mum’s mothly remmittances, please help//advice me….

  14. Julie says:

    Hi Atty. I am separated for abt 15 yrs now, my xhusband cheated on me when went abroad to work but we dont have kids and we never live together in one roof coz after the marriage i went abroad.After like 5 months staying abroad he found another woman since then we never had communication til now.I want to get married again pls i need ur advice.Tnx a lot

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Julie, if you want to get married again, you have to get either a declaration of nullity or annulment from the court. In either of these two cases, you must have a ground for your case. Now, in the situation you described, that would fall under legal separation. The latter would not allow you to remarry so you must find a basis for the filing of a declaration of nullity or annulment.

  15. arlhyne says:

    helo po atty.gud day poh.i am 29 years old na poh at nkasal ako last 2010 in a civil wedding.
    taga dvo po ako at husband ko taga vzcaya nkasal po kmi sa lugar nya.actualy po ung kasal na un ay hndi npghandaan at bglaan dhl nga libre.kasalang bayan kunbaga.nuon paman nag second thought na ako dhl sbi q sa knya d dpat ganun peo dhl sa pangungumbinsi ng mga purok leader nasali po kmi na ni 5 wla kmi sa bulsa..birth lng naibgay namin at dhl 22 ata xa nun kya nid nya guardian pumunta mama nya para pumirma.at the other nkasal kmi.aftr 1 month umuwi aq sa dvo.dala q anak namin na two months pa dhl gusto q rn mgbakasyun..before that atty.ilang beses pa kmi nag away dhl sa paggng iresponsable nya sa aming mag ina kya i decided to gave a break at htbreak at umuwi muna sa amin.nung una nagcocomunicate pa kmi at dhl sa hrap dn kmi sa buhay sbi q sa knya pdalhan kmi pamasahe para mkauwi at dhl nga ala xa trabahu nagdecidd aq na magwork nlang at first sbi q s knya total d pa xa na meet ng mama q xa nlang ang ang pumunta sa amin but ayaw nya..and that thng lage pnag aawayan namin.aftr 2 years dumalang na ang communication namin babae na sumasagot sa twag q at d pa macmura mga mensahe nla sa akin..at cnabi pa nlang peke dw ang kasal namin at cnabi pa na hndi nya dw anak ang anak nya sa akin..i knw he got fallen na sa iba..at dhl yaw q ng gulo i dnt even try to message back..msyado na rn akng nasaktan at nag move on nlang aq..almost 4yrs.na dn.ang tanung q atty.james f evr na magplan aq to marry in church wat po gawin q..my validity ba ung kasal namin?
    salamat poh.sori po f dto me nag comment d q poh mkta ung forum.naka mobile lng poh.thanks po tlaga.

  16. Melinda says:

    I have a question. The marriage license was filed in location a. Can they marry in a different city/town (locarion b) solemnized by the mayor?

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