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.

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.

Author: Atty. James Biron
Atty. James S. Biron is a corporate lawyer specializing in foreign investments, trade, mergers and acquisitions, planning and financing of projects and capital raising. Clients served include real estate, construction, energy, information technology, agriculture, education, medical and casino gaming companies.


  • marc leon

    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.



  • Kay

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

  • Weng

    “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!

  • olivelumbis

    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

  • shehann

    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

  • trish

    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

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

  • karen

    Can an acting mayor solemnize a marriage?

  • 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

  • pinky

    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

  • jovelyn

    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

      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.

  • jovelyn

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

  • creh

    atty. james 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

      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.

  • junifen

    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….

  • Julie

    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

      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.

  • arlhyne

    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 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 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 dhl yaw q ng gulo i dnt even try to message back..msyado na rn akng nasaktan at nag move on nlang aq..almost dn.ang tanung q atty.james f evr na magplan aq to marry in church wat po gawin 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.

  • Melinda

    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?

  • Good evening po Atty. James Biron, ttnong ko lang po kung pwede pong mavoid ung kasal ala. Kinasal po ksi nung October 6, 2007 kasi po ngkaanak kmi pero ever since po hindi kami nagsama, dinadalaw lang nya kami ng Anak nya pagluluwas sya noon kasi ngaaral p po sya non.. From Bataan po ksi sya at from Bulacan nmn po ako kya gnon yung sistema nmin. Hindi po ksi alam ng magulang nya na kinasal kmi dahil phihintuin dw sya sa pagaaral. Db po ang pag 18 to 21 years old kailangan ng consent?! Parehas po kming 19 non pero ako lang po yung my consent ng magulang. Ano po kayang pwedeng gawin para mpwalang bisa yung kasal nmin kasi both of us ay knya knya ng family na po.. Sana po mbigyan nyo ko ng mga advice.. Thanks!..

  • zoe

    Good Afternoon Atty,
    atty ang problema ko po ay dalawang beses ako kinasal, yung unang lalaki my asawa xa na alam kung kasal xa dun sa una nyang asawa. nung kinsal kami sa manila city hall, biglaan lng yun baga wala sa plano nag tanong lang xa tapos ako nmn kumkuha ako ng special power of atty para sa board certificate ko.. tapos yung fixer lng nag asikaso.. ang akala ko hindi yun nkapasok sa NSO o kya eregister .. nung check check ko sa nso andun ang pangalan nmin.. after a year nagkahiwalay kami.tapos my nkilala ako after 2 years nmin mag bf ngpakasal kami ulit sa CITY hall pero lahat alam nya ang status ko.. ngayon hiwalay na kami ulit tapos yung parent snya ang nag asikaso sa annulment nmain they found ou na 2 beses ako nagpakasal.. ang problema ngayon nanakot yung tatay nya ssabi ng tatay nya kakasohan ako ng bigamy. sabi ko alam ng anak nya ang status ko bgo xa pumasok sa buhay ko ngayon hindi daw alam ng anak nya ang una kong kasal…
    nag file na cla ng declaration of nullity of marriage.. ang tanong ko ngayon atty, after nyan pag na dissolve yang 2nd marraiges ko bibigyan ba nila ako ng copy or hindi na? wede ba ako kasohan ng tatay nya as bigamous? please help me atty i need your advice.
    pwede ko na din b cmulan yung declaration of nullity of my 1st marriage?.
    thank u


    • Atty. James Biron

      Good morning, Zoe. I sent you an email, kindly check.

    • good day po Atty.ang poblema ko po ay ang asawa ko ay lasingero sugarol ever since po ng asawa kami hinde po sya ngbibigay ng introgo sa akin tiniis ko po yon for 15 yrs lumayo ako bumalik ulit dahil awang awa ako sa mga anak ko. mula pa man noon pag lasing sya pag Hindi ko sya pagbigyan ng gusto nya minumura nya po ako palgi n rin kmi nag aaway..nagkaroon ako ng pgkakataon ng humiwalay sa kanya nagtrabaho po ako kasama ko ang tatlo Kong anak ni Hindi man lang nya binibigyan ng sustenta ang mga anak nya… Atty may karapatan b ako na mg pa annul ng kasl namin dalawa? pwede pa ba ako pakasal sa iba kung sakali? nahihirapan din po ako sa buhay may nakilala kc ako dayuhan na hands along pakasalan at alalayan ang mga anak ko.tulungan nyo po ako sa problems ko po maraming salamat.

  • Ask ko lang po kung null and void from the start yung kasal ko. Hiwalay na po ako 2014 pa. Ikinasal po kami ng ministro ng Aglipayan noong 2009 dahil buntis na po ang nanay ng anak ko noon. Basta dinala na lang kami ng parents niya sa Caloocan at ikinasal kami nung ministro kahit walang marriage license. Ikinasal niya kami sa bisa ng article 34. 3 months pa lang kami magkakilala bago kami kinasal at kadarating ko lang noon from London. Yung dalawang witness pa na sinulat ng parents niya ay wala sa Pilipinas during the ceremony at peneke pa nila yung pirma nung isa. Ano po ba ang dapat ko gawin para mapawalang bisa ng tuluyan ang kasal ko? Declaration of nullity of marriage po ba?

  • louella

    ask ko lang po kung ano gagawin ko, kinasal po ako sa dalawang magkaibang name pero iisang lalaki po siya at pagkamatay nya nag ayos po ako ng papers para makaclaim kami ng sss nya at lumabas na may una syang asawa, ang problema ko po ngaun, sa cenomar ko 2 beses ako nagpakasal, parehas ho bang valid un o hindi…please po tulungan nyo ako at kung saan ko mapapawalang bisa ang kasal kong dalawa bagamat patay na po ang asawa ko

  • louella

    illigitimate po ba mga anak ko o ligitimate cla?

  • lhen

    Hi atty.james biron i have some questions po regarding the validity of marriage that takes place in an Aglipayan church.. you can email me po at


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