My husband and I have been separated since 2004 but our marriage was annulled last 2013 only. I started cohabiting with my live-in partner in 2008. Now that my marriage is annulled, my partner and I are planning to get married. Do we still need to get a marriage license?
A marriage license is one of the formal requisites of marriage enumerated in Article 3 of the Family Code of the Philippines. As a rule, couples who wish to be married shall secure first a marriage license at the local or civil registry office of their place of residence. However, there are instances when the requirement of marriage license is dispensed with. One of which is when the contracting parties, who do not have any legal impediment to marry, have already been living together as husband and wife for at least five (5) years. This is known as the legal ratification of marital cohabitation. To be qualified, the following requisites must be complied with: 1)The man and woman must have been living together as husband and wife for at least five (5) years before the marriage; 2) The parties must have no legal impediment to marry each other; 3) The fact of absence of legal impediment between the parties must be present at the time of marriage; 4) The parties must execute an affidavit stating that they have lived together for at least five (5) years and are without legal impediment to marry each other; and 5) The solemnizing officer must execute a sworn statement that he had ascertained the qualifications of the parties and that he had found no legal impediment to their marriage (Borja-Manzano vs. Sanchez, A.M. No. MTJ-00-1329, March 08, 2011).
Even if you and your partner have been living together as husband and wife for more than five (5) years, you are still not exempted from obtaining a marriage license because your marriage was only annulled in 2013. During most part of your cohabitation, you are under a legal impediment of an existing marriage. You will only be able to avail of this exemption if you have cohabited with your live-in partner for at least five (5) years after the annulment of your marriage. Hence, you shall need to obtain a valid marriage license from local or city civil registrar of the place where you and your partner reside (Article 9, Family Code of the Philippines). Such marriage license shall be valid in any part of the Philippines for a period of one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of issue and shall be deemed automatically cancelled at the expiration of the said period if the contracting parties have not made use of it (Article 20, Family Code of the Philippines).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com