Valid marriage license a formal requisite before wedding can take place

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I met Claudia, my fiancée, last year. I had just ended my four-year relationship with my girlfriend then. When I met Claudia, we instantly fell in love. Early this month, I asked her to marry me and she said yes. We are planning to have the ceremony in Batangas because both of our families hail from there and we want to have it by next month. We have our requirements prepared except that we do not have a marriage license yet. Is it possible for us to get married and secure the license immediately after the ceremony? We are just quite pressed for time. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Mori

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Dear Mori,
Marriage is not only an event or a ceremony that transpires between a man and a woman who desire to be with each other. Rather, marriage is a contract, which ultimately creates a permanent union between the parties thereof.

Being a contract, requisites enumerated under the law must be present in order to consider the same as valid and binding, to wit: (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; (2) Consent freely given by the parties in the presence of the solemnizing officer; (3) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (4) Valid marriage license, except in the cases provided by law; and (5) 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 (Articles 2 and 3, Family Code of the Philippines).

Given that a marriage license is a formal requisite of a valid marriage, we submit that you and your fiancée must secure the same before your marriage ceremony may take place. It cannot be secured thereafter as it serves as a precondition to the validity of the contract.

Furthermore, you may only do away with the submission or compliance of such requirement if your situation falls squarely under any of the exceptions mentioned under the code, particularly: (1) If either or both of you and your fiancée are at the point of death, notwithstanding if the ailing party subsequently survives (Article 27, Id.); (2) If either of your residence is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar (Article 28, Id.); (3) If it is a marriage in articulo mortis between passengers or crew members and solemnized by the ship captain or by airplane pilot, not only while the ship is at sea or the plane is in flight, but also during stopovers at ports of call (Article 31, Id.); (4) If it is a marriage in articulo mortis between persons within the zone of military operation, whether members of the armed forces or civilians, which are solemnized by military commander of a unit, who is a commissioned officer (Article 32, Id.); (5) If you and your fiancée are Muslims or among members of the ethnic cultural communities, provided it is solemnized in accordance with pertinent customs, rites or practices (Article 33, Id.); and, (6) If you and your fiancée have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. (Article 34, Id.)

Being “pressed for time” is not one of those mentioned exceptional circumstances. Hence, it is strongly advised for you and your fiancée to secure such license so as to avoid any future legal predicaments.

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.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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