The son of my brother was married to his girlfriend when he was just 19 years old. He hid his marriage from his mother, who is my sister, because he knew that she would not agree with his decision to marry early. When my sister found out about this, she insisted that her son’s marriage be annulled because of her lack of consent. My nephew, however, insisted that his mother could not do anything about it because it is up to him if he would want to annul his marriage. Because of this, we would like to ask if my sister can file a case to annul his son’s marriage for lack of proper parental consent. Thank you for your advice.
The Family Code of the Philippines expressly provides for the grounds to annul a marriage. And in relation to your concern, one of the grounds to annul a marriage is the lack of parental consent of a party to a marriage who is eighteen (18) years old but less than twenty one (21) years old. According to the law:
Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:
(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife; (Article 45, Ibid.)
It is opined that the law requires parental consent to persons marrying within this age range since they are yet to possess the needed degree of maturity to understand the consequences of their decision to marry (Sta. Maria, Persons and Family Relations, 2004). Considering this, your nephew’s marriage can be put into question because of the lack of his parents’ consent.
Whether your sister can initiate a case to annul her son’s marriage for lack of parental consent, the law states that:
Art. 47. The action for annulment of marriage must be filed by the following persons and within the periods indicated herein:
For causes mentioned in number 1 of Article 45 by the party whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of twenty-one, or by the parent or guardian or person having legal charge of the minor, at any time before such party has reached the age of twenty-one;
As stated by this cited provision, parents or legal guardians may file a case to annul their son or daughter’s marriage, on the ground of lack of parental authority, at any time before the said person reaches the age of twenty one (21). Otherwise, the right to file such case will be barred by prescription. Thus, the legal right to file a case for annulment on this ground does not solely belong to the parties to a marriage, but also their parents, although limited by a prescriptive period.
Because of this, your sister may file a case to annul her son’s marriage for lack of parental consent before he reaches the age of twenty-one (21). In case your nephew has already reached this age, then it will be solely up to him to file a case for annulment, should he desire, within five (5) years after reaching twenty-one (21) years old.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org