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:
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:
- Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be male and female; and
- Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.
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.
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:
- Authority of the solemnizing officer
- Valid marriage license except for marriages in articulo mortis
- 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?
- Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction;
- 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;
- Any ship captain or airplane chief only for marriages in articulo mortis
- 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
- 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.