Monday, December 7, 2009

Marriage Requirements of a Widower Under the Family Code of the Philippines

Winsome Widower dude comes up to me asking for the requirements for a "secret marriage".

Firstly, there is no such thing as a "secret marriage". Just as nothing is secret from God, no marriage is secret from the law. Secret marriage is only secret from your friends and relatives, especially the snoopy sort. Winsome Widower apparently would like to have a quiet wedding away from all the friends he has won from his being winsomely.

Having settled that issue, the following are the marriage requirements Winsome Widower must accomplish under the Family Code of the Philippines (Chapter 1):

Art. 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present:

(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female.

- ages 18 to 21 must secure a signed Parental Consent form.
- ages 22 to 25 must secure a signed Parental Advice form.
- ages 26 and above are free to marry without parental guidance, but parties ages 30 and above must secure a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) from the National Statistics Office (new requirement).
- foreigners must also get a CENOMAR and proof of legal capacity to marry from his/her embassy.
- no same sex marriage.

(2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.

- as when they say, "I do."

Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:

(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer.

- As long as the license of the priest, pastor, imam, judge, mayor, ship captain is valid (Note: at least one of the parties must be a member of the church of the priest, pastor, imam, or any authorized religious solemnizing officer; the judge can only wed the parties within his jurisdiction; and the ship captain can only marry the parties at the point of death, or articulo mortis).

(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title.

- No need if living together for more than five years (execute an Affidavit of Cohabitation).

(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.

- Whether simple or grand, there must be a ceremony (not really religious ritual) requiring the presence of at least five main characters: the groom, the bride, the solemnizing officer, and two witnesses of legal age. If Winsome Widower would like to have the matter kept a secret, these five people including the one who will prepare the papers (may or may not be one of the witnesses) must zip it.

Art. 5. Any male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 (incestuous and void from the beginning such as brother and sister, or ascendant and descendant) and 38 (void from the beginning for reasons of public policy such as first cousins, or family members other than in Article 37), may contract marriage.

Art. 6. No prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of the marriage is required. It shall be necessary, however, for the contracting parties to appear personally before the solemnizing officer...

It must be remembered that:

Article 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.

- Philippine Law still believes in the vow, "'Til death do us part." And "Let no man put asunder." Thus, there is no divorce (as against an annulment).

- Lastly, in the case of Winsome Widower, considering that the death of his spouse terminated his first marriage, he can already remarry (after one year according to Philippine mourning tradition but this is not really required by Law, however, in the case of widows, she must observe the 300-day rule before remarrying for purposes of eliminating the issue of doubtful paternity) but, as an added requirement for widowers like him, he must present also the Certificate of Death of his dearly departed first wife in order for him to comply with the Family Code of the Philippine's marriage requirements.

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