Minerva was already 23 years old when she learned that her father is married with children before she was born. She learned about it the hard way – when she landed her first job, her supervisor turned out to be her father’s eldest son from his previous marriage, making him her half-brother.
She did her research and found out that her father’s marriage with his previous wife is still in effect; he had not filed for an annulment and in fact, has been sending financial support for his children while staying with Minerva and her mom!
What proved to be more difficult and confusing for Minerva is the fact that her status in her birth certificate is ‘Legitimated’ (due to subsequent marriage). As far as she knows, she was born before her father (who was presumed to be single then) and mother were ‘married’. They got married when Minerva was 7 years old, she even stood as flower girl during their wedding!
Now that it looks like her father is not even legally capable of ‘marrying’ her mother in the first place, what does that make of her ‘legitimation’?
What is ‘Legitimation’?
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) website, legitimation is a remedy by means of which those who in fact were not born in wedlock and should, therefore, be considered illegitimate, are by fiction, considered legitimate, it being supposed that they were born when their parents were already validly married.
Who can be ‘Legitimated’?
Legitimation may be done for children who were conceived before their biological parents were married, provided that their parents were not disqualified by any impediments to marry each other.
For a child to be considered legitimated by subsequent marriage, it is necessary that:
- The parents could have legally contracted marriage at the time the child was conceived;
- That the child has been acknowledged by the parents before or after the celebration of their marriage; and
- The acknowledgment was made with the consent of the child, if age or with the approval of the court, if a minor, unless it has been made in the certificate before a court of record, or in any authentic writing.
In all aspects, Minerva’s legitimation would have been legal and binding except for the fact that her father is married to another woman at the time he ‘married’ Minerva’s mother. Effectively, this invalidates Minerva’s legitimation because the marriage between her parents is invalid. In fact, she is not even qualified for legitimation.
Can a legitimation be cancelled?
Yes it can be cancelled by filing a petition for cancellation before the court where the petitioner’s birth certificate was registered. The petitioner will need the assistance and guidance of a lawyer. When approved, the civil registrar shall again annotate in the birth certificate that the ‘legitimation’ (also a previous annotation) is hereby cancelled.