NOTE: Please refer to the Family Code of the Philippines for references to any of its article as mentioned in some items below.
Normally, for their marriage to be considered valid, the contracting parties must procure a valid marriage license from the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where either contracting party habitually resides. However, there are instances when a license can be dispensed with, such as when the one or both of the parties are at the point of death, or reside at a remote area and have no means of transportation to get to the civil registrar. This goes to show that the law is also practical and are not bound by strict adherence to rigidity. There are als other exempted marriages found in the Family Code and which we shall now tackle in detail.
MARRIAGES IN ARTICULO MORTIS
The first exempted marriage is a marriage in articulo mortis or when one or both of the parties are at the point of death. Article 27 of the Family Code states that in case either or both of the contracting parties are at the point of death, the marriage may be solemnized without necessity of a marriage license and shall remain valid even if the ailing party subsequently survives.
If a marriage in articulo mortis occurs inside a ship or an airplane between passengers or crew members, the same may be solemnized by a ship captain or by an airplane pilot not only while the ship is at sea or the plane is in flight, but also during stopovers at ports of call. In this case, what is considered important is not the place or location, but the wish of the parties to get married before one or both of them kicks the bucket.
Also, a military commander of a unit, who is a commissioned officer, shall likewise have authority to solemnize marriages in articulo mortis between persons within the zone of military operation, whether members of the armed forces or civilians.
NO MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
A marriage may also be solemnized without necessity of a marriage license if the residence of either party is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar. This is a recognition that not all men are created equal in terms of material wealth and also considers the fact that some of our countrymen do not even have the means of getting to their local civil registrar.
DUTY OF SOLEMNIZING OFFICER
Article 29 of the Family Code states that in the cases falling under Articles 27 and 28 of the Family Code, the solemnizing officer shall state in an affidavit executed before the local civil registrar or any other person legally authorized to administer oaths that the marriage was performed in articulo mortis or that the residence of either party, specifying the barrio or barangay, is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar and that the officer took the necessary steps to ascertain the ages and relationship of the contracting parties and the absence of legal impediment to the marriage.
The original of the affidavit together with the legible copy of the marriage contract, shall be sent by the person solemnizing the marriage to the local civil registrar of the municipality where it was performed within the period of thirty days after the performance of the marriage.
MARRIAGES AMONG MUSLIMS AND MEMBERS OF ETHNIC COMMUNITIES
The Family Code also recognizes the customs and traditions of our Muslim brothers and other ethnic communities when it declares that marriages among Muslims or among members of the ethnic cultural communities may be performed validly without the necessity of marriage license, provided they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices.
FIVE YEARS AND NO LEGAL IMPEDIMENTS
In keeping up with the dictates of time and to discourage live-in partnerships and illicit cohabitations, a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and with out any legal impediment to marry each other may be married without a marriage license.
As a requisite, the contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. In addition, The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties are found no legal impediment to the marriage.
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About the Author: Atty. Ryan L. Tanjutco specializes in the practice of family and marital law. For more information, please visit www.tanjutcolaw.com.