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  • You Can Get Married Without A Marriage License. Here Are The Conditions

    You can use a simple affidavit in place of a marriage license for a civil or church wedding.
    by Esper Abrajano-Bitare .
You Can Get Married Without A Marriage License. Here Are The Conditions
  • Couples who are planning to wed, whether in a church or civil wedding, are typically required to apply for a marriage license. To get one, you can face long lines and several fees to get all the necessary legal documents and attend a pre-marriage seminar. Only after attending the pre-seminar will the couple be issued a certificate, which needs to be submitted to the Local Civil Registry as part of the requirements for applying for a marriage license. (Click here to read the list of what you'll need to get a marriage license.)

    When you've completed all the requirements for a marriage license, you'll be given a claim stub, which states the date your marriage license would be ready to be picked up. It usually takes two weeks to get it and is only valid for 120 days, around four months. It means you have to get one within your chosen wedding date.

    Some couples, however, may not need a marriage license to get married. 

    The Philippine law allows for some couples to get married without a marriage license. My husband and I also didn't know about it until we looked it up. And, yes, we were able to skip the marriage license requirement. It was a great relief because the pre-marriage seminar in our town is held on Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 n.n. only. (Schedules for pre-marriage seminar differs for every municipality.)  

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    Marriage license exemptions 

    Article 34 of the Family Code says: "No license shall be 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 each other."


    Because my husband and I had been living together for more than five years at the time, we were able to do away with the time-consuming process of applying for a marriage license. Both of us were also legally single and of marrying age, which means there was no legal impediment preventing us from getting married throughout the years we've been cohabitating.

    In place of the marriage license, soon-to-be-married couples are required to submit one document, a notarized Affidavit of Joint Cohabitation. The document should state the names of the bride and groom, the address where they are residing together, the month and year the couple started to live together, and that they did so continuously without interruption for five years.

    The document should also state that the couple have not faced legal issues before getting married and no third party between them since they started living together.

    If the couple already has children, they can also include the name or names of the kids and their date and place of birth.

    The Affidavit of Joint Cohabitation is binding and legal. It can be used for either a church or a civil wedding, though not many people know about it. The staff at the church where we wed was not familiar with this exemption. I had to inform them about the law.

    Understandably, living-in together is still a not-common-so-common practice, so not many couples can skip applying for a marriage license before tying the knot. Still, it can be a huge help for couples who want to get married but do not have the time to get a marriage license.

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