Family Law: Essential and Formal Requisites of Marriage

No marriage in the Philippines shall be valid UNLESS the following essential and formal requisites are present as provided under Articles 2 and 3 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

ESSENTIAL REQUISITES

  1. LEGAL CAPACITY of the contracting parties who must be a MALE and a FEMALE; and

  2. CONSENT FREELY GIVEN IN THE PRESENCE OF the Solemnizing Officer.

FORMAL REQUISITES

  1. AUTHORITY of the Solemnizing Officer;

  2. A VALID MARRIAGE LICENSE EXCEPT in the case of marriages exempt from the license requirement; and

  3. A 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.

The TOTAL ABSENCE of any of the ESSENTIAL or FORMAL requisites shall render the marriage VOID AB INITIO EXCEPT as stated in Article 35(2), supra, which provides that marriages contracted with either or both of the contracting parties believing in good faith that the Solemnizing Officer had the legal authority to perform marriages shall be valid.

A DEFECT in any of the ESSENTIAL requisites shall render the marriage VOIDABLE as provided in Article 45, supra.

An IRREGULARITY in the FORMAL 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 (Article 4, supra).

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Family Law: What Constitutes Fraud to Annul a Voidable or Annullable Marriage?

Consent to contract a marriage obtained by fraud is one of the 6 exclusive causes to annul voidable or annullable marriages in the Philippines. However, for purposes of annulling such a marriage, fraud refers ONLY to any of the following exclusive circumstances under Article 46 of the Family Code of the Philippines:

  1. Non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude;

  2. Concealment by the wife of the fact that, at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband;

  3. Concealment of a sexually transmissible disease (STD), regardless of its nature;

  4. Concealment of drug addiction;

  5. Concealment of habitual alcoholism; or

  6. Concealment of homosexuality or lesbianism

No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune, or chastity shall constitute fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage. Any of the above-mentioned circumstances must be EXISTING AT THE TIME OF THE MARRIAGE. Note that it is the act of non-disclosure or concealment of the above-mentioned facts which constitutes fraud to annul a voidable or annullable marriage.

An otherwise voidable or annullable marriage is convalidated if the party whose consent to contract the marriage obtained by fraud afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, FREELY COHABITED with the other as husband and wife. Likewise, an action for annulment of marriage on the ground of fraud must be brought WITHIN 5 YEARS FROM DISCOVERY OF FRAUD; otherwise, said action is barred by prescription. Whichever comes first may convalidate the marriage: cohabitation or prescription.

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