I found out recently that the minister who married us forgot to register our marriage certi–ficate to the National Statistics Office. Does this mean that my husband and I are not married?
In order for a marriage to be valid, it must comply with the essential and formal requisites of a valid marriage. The essential requisites according to Article 2 of the Family Code are legal capacity of the contracting parties, who must be male and female, and the consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer. On the other hand, the formal requisites according to Article 3 of the Family Code are the authority of the solemnizing officer, a valid marriage license unless their marriage falls under the exceptions provided in the Family Code, and 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.
The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void from the beginning (Article 4, Family Code). However, if both parties believe in good faith that the solemnizing officer had authority to perform marriages but in fact did not have any authority, the marriage is still valid (Article 35(2), Family Code).
If any of the essential requisites is present but has a defect, the marriage is voidable. Such defect may be used as a ground for annulment. If any of the formal requisites is present but there is an irregularity in the said requisite, the party responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally, and administratively liable (Article 4, Family Code).
As you can see, a marriage contract is not enumerated as a requisite of a valid marriage. However, a marriage contract being a public document is a prima facie proof of marriage (Alcantara vs. Alcantara, G.R. No. 167746, August 28, 2007).
If there is no marriage contract but all the formal and essential requisites are present, the parties may still prove the fact of marriage by other evidences.
In addition, this error may still be corrected, as the National Statistics Office (NSO) has also provided a procedure for late registration of marriage. According to the NSO, the solemnizing officer or person reporting or presenting the marriage certificate for registration shall execute and file an affidavit in support of registration, stating the exact place and date of marriage, facts and circumstances surrounding the marriage, and the reason or cause of the delay. The application for marriage license bearing the date when the license was issued shall also be submitted. If the original or duplicate copy of the marriage certificate could not be presented because it was burned, lost, or destroyed, a certification by the church or solemnizing officer indicating the said marriage based on their record or logbook shall be sufficient proof of marriage. (http://census.gov.ph/data/civ/reg/cv5.html).
Again, we find it necessary to men–tion that this opi–nion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appre–ciation of the same. The opi–nion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to en–lighten you on the matter
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