My wife and I were supposed to be married in a mass wedding to be officiated by our mayor in 2010. We have already obtained a marriage license and all were set. We, however, failed to appear on the scheduled date. But a few days thereafter, we were made to sign a marriage contract and it was registered with the civil registrar. I want to know if the marriage is valid. We got separated months after we signed the contract. If the marriage is void, can I enter into another marriage? Vic
One of the requisites of a valid marriage is a wedding ceremony, wherein the contracting parties appear before the solemnizing officer, declaring that they accept each other as husband and wife, in the presence of two or more witnesses (Article 3(a), Family Code of the Philippines).
The law is clear that in the absence of the aforementioned requisite, the marriage is null and void. This is according to Article 4 of the code, to wit:
“Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35 (2).
A defect in any of the essential requisites shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.”
As mentioned in your letter, you failed to attend the mass wedding ceremony when the same was celebrated by your local official, but you were made to sign a marriage contract a few days after. Even if the same is registered, for failing to comply with one of the requirements of a valid marriage, the marriage is null and void.
You, however, cannot decide for yourself and conclude that your marriage is null and void. As such, you cannot enter into a marriage with another person without first obtaining a judicial declaration that indeed your marriage is null and void. To do otherwise would render the subsequent marriage also invalid. The family code clearly provides:
“Art. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void.”
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.