Good day. I regularly read your column and now I come to seek legal advise. Thank you for your good heart.
When I used to work in a bank, I got involved with a man who introduced himself as unmarried with 3 kids. I only found out that he was married after all when I was already 2 months pregnant with our child. Nevertheless, because we loved each other, we lived together and have been together for almost 8 years now. I am now pregnant with our third child.
Recently, he realized that he and his wife didn’t have a marriage license, and it was his wife who forwarded and filed the papers herself at NSO. Is his marriage valid?
To complicate things further, my partner had an affair with another woman with whom he also now has a baby. The girl knew from the start that he is married and has many kids but still insisted. My partner had taken the responsibility and gave consent to have the baby use his surname. However, this girl keeps calling me at my office to harass me. What should I do? Please help.
A: Hello there! I’m glad to be of service, and I hope I can help you by answering your questions as best as I can.
First of all, when you refer to a “marriage license”, do you really mean a marriage license or a marriage contract? There is a big difference between the two. To put it simply, a marriage license authorizes a person to get married, while a marriage certificate or a marriage contract is a document that proves marriage between two people. The marriage contract contains information about the spouses, the date and place of their marriage, plus the marriage license number, and its date and place of issue. In your case, I would assume that you are referring instead to the marriage certificate.
Actually, if it’s a marriage contract, it doesn’t matter who forwarded it to the NSO. In fact, it is usually the one who solemnized the wedding (such as the priest, minister, or judge) who has the responsibility to cause the registration of the marriage with the Registry of Deeds. So even if your partner’s wife was indeed the one who forwarded the marriage contract to the NSO, it doesn’t affect the validity of the marriage. However, if it were true that he did not obtain a marriage license before he got married, then that would make the marriage invalid.
Art. 3 of the Family Code states that the formal requisites of a marriage are: (1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (2) A valid marriage license; 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 absence of any of these requisites will render the marriage void from the beginning, thus your partner’s marriage to his wife is invalid. But that does not mean that he will not have to do anything. First, your partner has to make sure that there really was no marriage license issued prior to his marriage. He will have to go to the local civil registrar of the place where the marriage license was supposedly issued, and ask for a certification that no application for a marriage license was made in the names of your partner and his spouse. Once he is sure that the marriage was really celebrated without a marriage license, then he can file a petition in court for the declaration of the nullity of the marriage due to the lack of a marriage license.