Can my brother obtain a marriage license and get married even if he still has a subsisting marriage? What are the possible repercussions if he decides to pursue this marriage? Please advice.
Among the requisites of a valid marriage is a valid marriage license (Article 3 (2), Family Code of the Philippines). As provided under our law, a valid marriage license may only be issued by the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where either of the contracting parties habitually resides upon the presentation of their original birth certificates or, in default thereof, their baptismal certificates or copies of such documents duly attested by the persons having custody of the originals. If one or both of the parties have previously contracted marriage and intend to enter into a subsequent marriage, it is essential for them to present a copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse, the judicial decree of the absolute divorce, or the judicial decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of his or her previous marriage (Article 13, Ibid.).
In the situation of your brother, we regret to say that he will not be able to secure a valid marriage license at this point in time considering that he still has a subsisting marriage. Should he really desire to enter into a subsequent marriage, he must file a petition for the dissolution of his marriage before the proper court and once said petition is granted, present before said local civil registrar the judicial decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of his marriage.
If your brother decides to pursue his marriage without securing a valid marriage license, his marriage will not be considered valid. Apart from that, if he proceeds without having his first marriage dissolved, he can be held criminally responsible for bigamy. Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code: “The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings.”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
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