I am a single mother living with my only daughter who is already of legal age. Since my daughter and I have been living together since she started working, I was surprised
when I found out that she already got married last year. What is worst about this is that I found out that the man she married was previously married with a family of his own. I tried my best to persuade my daughter to end her marriage with an already married man considering that it is illegal but she refused to heed my advice. She also told me not to meddle with her personal situation since she is already old enough to handle her life. With this, I want to know if I can personally initiate a legal action to have my daughter’s marriage canceled. Thank you for your advice!
Regarding your desire to have the marriage of your daughter nullified, it is important to confirm whether you have a basis to have the marriage of your daughter invalidated. According to the Family Code of the Philippines:
“Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
(1) Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians;
(2) Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so;
(3) Those solemnized without license, except those covered by the preceding chapter;
(4) Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not failing under Article 41;
(5) Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other; and
(6) Those subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.” (Emphasis supplied)
Based on this cited provision, your daughter’s marriage falls under the fourth form of a void marriage since she was married to man who has an existing prior marriage. This bigamous marriage serves as legal basis to nullify your daughter’s marriage.
Despite this fact, it is important to consider that not everyone may file a petition for a declaration of nullity of void marriages. The Supreme Court issued a resolution on March 3, 2003, which expressly states:
“Section 1. Scope – This rule shall govern petitions for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages and annulment of voidable marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines.
The Rules of Court shall apply suppletorily.
Section 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages.
(a) Who may file. – A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife. (n)” (A.M. No. 2-11-10-SC) (Emphasis supplied).
As clearly provided by this cited resolution, only the husband or the wife may file a petition to have their marriage declared void based on the aforementioned ground. Thus, while there is a legal ground to nullify your daughter’s marriage, you may not personally initiate the petition for the declaration of nullity of the void marriage of your daughter.
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