Are Marriages Solemnized Abroad Considered Valid in the Philippines?

05 - 23

Brenda, a Pinay tourist in the US, married her cousin’s friend Doug, a US citizen, while on vacation in Florida.  A few months after the wedding, the couple traveled back to the Philippines to break the news to Brenda’s parents.  Sadly though, her parents vehemently opposed their daughter’s rash decision to marry a person they hardly know.  Because of the sad turn of events, Doug traveled back to the US on his own, leaving Brenda to deal with her family’s shock and disapproval.

Brenda and Doug never got the chance to see each other again.  Soon enough, the incessant email exchanges and nightly phone calls between the newlyweds slowly dwindled to brief text messages and unreturned missed calls.  Before long, Brenda met a new guy at work and quickly fell in love.  This time, she knew he was “the one”.  She introduced him to her parents who immediately approved of their budding romance.  Less than a year later, she was, again, busy planning her wedding.

“Di ba kasal ka na sa U.S.?” asked one of Brenda’s aunts.

“Oo, pero hindi naman niya pinarehistro dito sa Pilipinas yung kasal niya. So single pa din siya dito.” came Brenda’s Mom’s firm reply.

Could this be true?  Can one simply disregard a marriage solemnized in another country by not declaring it before a Local Civil Registry office?  Can you be married in one country and single in another?

We received this same question from an avid reader and thought it wise to find out if overseas marriages are not considered valid in our country.  Below are our findings:

Lex Loci Celebrationis

This is the rule we follow for marriages celebrated abroad between two Filipinos or a Filipino and a person of different citizenship.  The Latin phrase translates to “law of the place of the ceremony”.

This means that the Philippines recognizes a marriage celebrated or solemnized in a different country as long as it follows the requirements set by the law of that state.  Hence, if the marriage is deemed valid in that country, it is then deemed valid in the Philippines, even if it did not comply with the procedures and requirements set the Family Code of the Philippines.

Exceptions to the Rule           

Article 26 of the Family Code excludes the following prohibited marriages:

  1. Cases where a party is below eighteen years old at the time of marriage;
  2. A party is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations;
  3. Mistake in identity of a spouse;
  4. Subsequent marriages celebrated without properly terminating, liquidating, and distributing the properties of a previous marriage;
  5. Bigamous or polygamous marriages;
  6. Incestuous marriages;
  7. Void marriages for reason of public policy such as marriage between collateral blood relatives up to fourth civil degree or between step-parent and step-child.

If the marriage abroad does not fall under any of the above-mentioned exceptions, then it is considered valid in the Philippines.

But the marriage was not registered in the Philippines

The marriage’s validity is not at all affected by the fact that it was not properly registered in the Philippines.  For as long as it is considered valid in the country where it was celebrated, the marriage is deemed valid in the Philippines as well.  Registering a marriage is done to simply record an event affecting the civil status of the persons involved; it serves as evidence of the act or occurrence.  Its absence does not invalidate the marriage.

Can Brenda continue with her plans of marrying her Filipino boyfriend?

If we are to apply the principles of Lex Loci Celebrationis, Brenda is no longer free to marry another person, in the US or here in the Philippines.  And the only way she can regain her single status and be able to marry another person is if Doug, being the US citizen, files for divorce abroad.

We hope you found these information helpful.  If you have questions about civil registration in the Philippines, please feel free to drop us a line and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Source:

www.gov.ph (The Family Code of the Philippines)

http://www.manilatimes.net

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Published by MasterCitizen

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10 thoughts on “Are Marriages Solemnized Abroad Considered Valid in the Philippines?

  1. Hi,
    I am a filipino and got married in US a year ago and my husband is American. I was not able to report my marriage here in US. But we are planning to go back to Philippines next year. Can I register my marriage jn Philippines when we get back there instead of filling it here? Your answer will be much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. A marriage, so long as it is legitimate and properly registered in a foreign country, will be duly recognized in the Philippines. If you will not register your marriage in the US, and want to carry a “married” civil status in the Philippines, you may have to get married in the Philippines again.

      MC

    1. Hi Mary Ann,

      Lex Loci Celebrationis

      This is the rule we follow for marriages celebrated abroad between two Filipinos or a Filipino and a person of different citizenship. The Latin phrase translates to “law of the place of the ceremony”.

      This means that the Philippines recognizes a marriage celebrated or solemnized in a different country as long as it follows the requirements set by the law of that state. Hence, if the marriage is deemed valid in that country, it is then deemed valid in the Philippines, even if it did not comply with the procedures and requirements set the Family Code of the Philippines.

      HOWEVER, the Philippines does not honor marriage between two minors. So if you got married in the US at 16 years old (which is considered minor in the Philippines), your marriage may not be honored in the Philippines.

      MC

  2. My friend’s boyfriend is a Filipino but American citizen. He is not annulled in his first marriage here in the Philippines. Can my friend go to the US so they can get married there, and live as legal married couple? The boyfriend’s ex-wife was brought to the US together with their only son, but later on separated.

  3. To whom it may concern ;
    Good u share this subject. I would like to get your advice regarding our marriage .. me and wife get married in Philippine Embassy Jeddah Saudi Arabia since Sept 5 1981 , after 3 years we verified thru aunthentication here in National Statistic Sta Mesa , our record was forwarded and available in their file , so authentication was made . The problem occurs when it was already computerized our record not available anymore they told us to go to Consular Section at DFA (old building ) to ask for supplimentary report . The consular section made a letter to Philippine Embassy Jeddah but until now more than 15 years already no result yet . The old authentication since more than 20 years still with us thats the only evidence of our marriage cause our record in PSA still not availble . Could you please advice us what to do . Thank u for your time . God bless .

    1. Kindly check with the DFA if they already have the dispatch and reference number of marriage. if it;s available you can proceed to PSA and request for the copy of your M.C.

  4. To whom it may concern:

    I would like to raise a question in relation with the subject mention above.

    What if the man i married bears two identity, is the marriage still legal?
    Actually, his name on birth certificate is the same with his father without Senior and Junior respectively. Currently, He is using two identificatin cards with a junior and the other without junior written on it. I remember one time that when I asked him to get a copy of our marriage certificate at NSO, he had a hard time claiming one (because i think he presented either one of his id). He even jokingly told me, “oh I can still marry another woman, lol.” Of which later on, our marriage went on the rocks for so many reasons of infidelity and others.
    Since marriage annulity is difficult and very expensive, can this be a major reason that can make a marriage void easily when filing an annulment?

    Hope to receive an immediate reply on this matter. Kindly not to disclose my identity.

    Many thanks.

    Mylene Advincula

  5. To whom it may concern:

    I would like to raise a question in relation with the subject mention above.

    What if the man i married bears two identity, is the marriage still legal?

    Actually, his name on birth certificate is the same with his father without Senior and Junior respectively. Currently, He is using two identificatin cards with a junior and the other without junior written on it. I remember one time that when I asked him to get a copy of our marriage certificate at NSO, he had a hard time claiming one (because i think he presented either one of his id). He even jokingly told me, “oh I can still marry another woman, lol.” Of which later on, our marriage went on the rocks for so many reasons of infidelity and others.

    Since marriage annulity is difficult and very expensive, can this be a major reason that can make a marriage void easily when filing an annulment?

    Hope to receive an immediate reply on this matter. Kindly disclose my identity.

    Many thanks.

    Mylene Advincula

    ________________________________

    1. Hi Mylene,

      One of the grounds used by married couples for annulment is FRAUD. However, only a competent lawyer can explain to you in detail how this particular item can be used to fight a legal battle in court to get a marriage annulled.

      MC

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