My husband threatened to file for the nullity of our marriage. He claims that our marriage is invalid because we did not have a marriage license. I was only 18 years old at the time, he was 25 years old. I could not remember the exact details of our marriage because it was more than ten years ago, but I believe we have a license. I even checked our marriage certificate and there is an entry as to our marriage license.
Do you think his petition will be granted? I am against it since I think he is only doing this because he is now with another woman, and he simply wants to legitimize their relationship. Please advise.
As a rule, the absence of a marriage license renders a marriage void ab initio. The only exceptions are the following marriages: (1) marriages that transpired in articulo mortis or at the point of death of either or both of the contracting parties; (2) marriages that transpired when the residence of either party is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar; (3) marriages among Muslims or among members of the ethnic cultural communities, provided they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices; and (4) marriages between man and woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other(Article 3 (2) and Article 35 (3) in relation to Chapter 2, Title I, Family Code of the Philippines).
If your marriage with your husband does not fall under any of the abovementioned exceptions, it is imperative that you possess a valid marriage license at the time of the celebration of your marriage in order to consider your marriage valid.
Since you mentioned that there was an entry in your marriage certificate as to the marriage license that was issued in your favor, perhaps you can utilize this to negate your husband’s claim that your marriage is null and void for having been celebrated without the required license.
Correspondingly, it will be prudent on your part to secure a certification from the Municipal or Civil Register where your license was issued in order for you to certainly establish the fact that your marriage is valid. You may also use such certification in case your husband pursues his petition. According to the Supreme Court, “x x x This certification enjoys the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed and the issuance of the marriage license was done in the regular conduct of official business. The presumption of regularity of official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty. However, the presumption prevails until it is overcome by no less than clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Thus, unless the presumption is rebutted, it becomes conclusive. Every reasonable intendment will be made in support of the presumption and, in case of doubt as to an officer’s act being lawful or unlawful, construction should be in favor of its lawfulness x x x” (Alcantara vs. Alcantara and CA, G.R. No. 167746, August 28, 2007).
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 email@example.com