My wife and I lived together for 15 years before we got married. Just recently, we decided to live apart because of our constant quarrels and misunderstandings. This led to our decision to seek cancellation. As a result, we agreed on custody of our child and made arrangements for family expenses. During this time, I was in constant communication with my former girlfriend and thought about marrying her in the future. Recently, while preparing all the necessary paperwork for the annulment, I noticed that we were unable to obtain a valid marriage license. So I’m wondering if I still have to file a cancellation request.
To answer your question, we will refer to the Family Code of the Philippines, more specifically to Article 34 of the said law, which provides that:
“Art. 34. No license is necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry. The contracting parties must declare the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to be sworn in. The celebrant officer must also declare under oath that he has satisfied himself that the qualifications of the contracting parties have found no legal impediment to the marriage .” (emphasis provided)
Applying said law to your situation, since you have lived together as husband and wife for 15 years, then your marriage is valid despite the absence of a marriage license. An exception to the rule that a marriage is void if solemnized without a marriage certificate under Article 35(3) is that provided for in Article 34 of the Family Code. In addition, it should also be mentioned that constant quarrels, misunderstandings and living apart from each other are not included in the list of grounds for cancellation. Article 45 of the said law provides:
“Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for one of the following causes existing at the time of the marriage:
“(1) That the party on whose behalf the annulment of the marriage is sought was eighteen years of age or older but less than twenty-one years of age, and that the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, that party cohabits freely with the other and both live together as husband and woman ;
“(2) That either party was not of sound mind, unless that party, having found reason, cohabits freely with the other as husband and wife;
“3° That the consent of one or other of the parties was obtained by fraud, unless she subsequently, in full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, cohabited freely with the other as spouse ;
“(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or
the influence, unless it disappeared or ceased, this part then freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
“(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and that such incapacity persists and appears incurable; Where
“(6) That either party had a sexually transmitted disease found to be serious and apparently incurable.”
We hope we were able to respond to your request. This advice is based solely on the facts you have related and our assessment of them. Our opinion may change when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily chronicle of the public ministry. Questions for Chef Acosta can be sent to [email protected]