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ROOM 410


ART 2 (2), ART 2 (4)

The Supreme Court has decided on several cases which deal on one of the formal requisites
for a marriage to be considered valid—a valid marriage license, except in cases provided for in
Chapter 2 on Marriage (Family Code).

In Ninal v. Badayog (G.R. No. 133778), the Supreme Court ruled that a valid marriage license
is a requisite of marriage and that the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio. The
requirement and issuance of marriage license is the State's demonstration of its involvement and
participation in every marriage, in the maintenance of which the general public is interested.

In Sy v. CA (G.R. No. 127263), the Supreme Court ruled that the marriage celebrated
between petitioner and private respondent be declared void ab initio for lack of a marriage license
at the time of celebration. A marriage license is a formal requirement; its absence renders the
marriage void ab initio.

In Geronimo v. CA (G.R. No. 105540), the Supreme Court ruled that non-indication of the
marriage license number in the marriage contract could only serve to prove that the said number
was not recorded and could not be accepted as convincing proof of the non-issuance of a marriage
license. The non-indication of the license number in the certified copies presented by the petitioner-
appellant could not be deemed as fatal to the issue if the validity of marriage of the parties because
there is nothing in the law which requires that the marriage license number should be indicated in
the marriage contract itself.

In Aranes v. Occiano (A.M. No. MTJ-02-1390), the Supreme Court followed the same ruling
as in People v. Lara where it held that a marriage which preceded the issuance of the marriage
license is void, and that the subsequent issuance of such license cannot render valid or even add an
iota of validity to the marriage. Except in cases provided by law, it is the marriage license that gives
the solemnizing officer the authority to solemnize a marriage. Respondent judge did not possess
such authority when he solemnized the marriage of petitioner. In this respect, respondent judge
acted in gross ignorance of the law.

In Alcantara v. Alcantara (G.R. No. 167746), the Supreme Court ruled that issuance of a
marriage license in a city or municipality, not the residence of either of the contracting parties, and
issuance of a marriage license despite the absence of publication or prior to the completion of the
10-day period for publication are considered mere irregularities that do not affect the validity of the
marriage. An irregularity in any of the formal requisites of marriage does not affect its validity but
the party or parties responsible for the irregularity are civilly, criminally and administratively liable.

From the above cases, the Supreme Court laid down the following: the importance of a
marriage license in order for a marriage to be declared valid; the effects when a marriage license is
absent; the effects when a marriage license or the issuance thereof has some defects. The rulings
also touch on exceptions when parties are exempted to secure a marriage license and emphasizes
that there should be exemption from securing a marriage license unless circumstances clearly fall
within the ambit of the exception (as in the case of Ninal v. Badayog, which explains the rules on one
of the exemptions pertaining to the five-year common law cohabitation period).

Issuance of a marriage license is the most important and perhaps the only act where the
State intervenes in the formation of families. There are two purposes of marriage license issuance:
(1) it is through the marriage license that the State determines whether there are impediments in
the marriage and (2) to prevent hasty marriages that may be bigamous or invalid.

Marriage without license is void. However, if there are defects in this formal requisite, such
defects will not affect the validity of the marriage but will only render the person causing the
irregularity liable civilly, criminally and administratively.