Is My Marriage Valid? How to Know If You Are Legally Married

Nothing can be more heartbreaking than finding out that your marriage is invalid. 

I am an avid reader of suspense thriller novels and my favorite plot is when a husband (or wife) finds out that the married life he or she was led to believe was a lie. The pain of this realization is more aptly described through denied insurance claims, not finding his or her name in the “spouse’s” final will, and most dramatic of all: the legal spouse making a grand entrance in the hospital/morgue/wake/burial.  Sadly, though, this happens more in real life than in books and movies.

So, how do you know when your wedding is valid and that you are, indeed, married? Read this.

First, what is marriage?

Marriage is defined in the Family Code of the Philippines as:

“Article 1. A special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.”

My takeaways from the definition above:

  • Marriage is permanent (at least, in the Philippines)
  • It is a union between a man and a woman (also, at least as far as our laws are concerned)
  • It is the foundation of the family.
  • It is an inviolable social institution.

Do you have any contentions? I’d love to hear them 😊

What are the requisites of a valid marriage?

According to the website of Dapat & Dapat Lawyers, the requisites of marriage are grouped into two: Essential and the Formal.

Essential requisites (also as verified against Article 2, Family Code) are:

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

Formal requisites of marriage (Article 3, Family Code) are:

  1. Authority of the solemnizing officer.
  2. A valid marriage license.
  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.

Therefore, if you met all the above-mentioned requisites, your marriage is valid. And in the same manner, should you have failed to meet even just one of the above, your marriage will be considered void.

Example:

  • The person who solemnized your wedding does not have the legal capacity to do so, then the ceremony and exchanging of vows shall not be considered legal and binding.
  • Or the marriage license used is already expired (marriage licenses in the Philippines are only valid for 120 days from the date it was issued.).
  • If the bride and groom faked their ages so they can get married without their parents’ consent.
  • If the bride or groom happens to have had a previous marriage and is not yet divorced or annulled.

And so on, and so forth.

Many people also ask if their marriage is considered invalid if their marriage contract was not duly submitted to the LCR for proper registration.  Good question!

I read on several articles written by lawyer-writers and their answers are all the same:

The failure of a solemnizing officer to submit the signed marriage certificate for registration is not a fatal defect.  The couple can simply file a late registration for their marriage and eventually, secure a copy of the PSA marriage certificate, and that problem would be solved.  For as long as all the essential and formal requisites are met, even if the marriage certificate was not submitted for registration right away, the couple’s marriage is considered valid and binding.

 Interesting topic, right? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Till our next blog!

References:

www.psa.gov.ph

https://dapatlaw.com/

https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2010/05/09/573218/if-my-marriage-contract-was-not-recorded-am-i-still-single

Published by MasterCitizen

I collect citizen facts and the usual stuff that might be important for a Pinoy's everyday life....Subscribe to get updates, opinions, and news.

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