Collateral marriages

LAW OF THE WEEK

What are the requisites for a marriage to be considered lawful and valid?

These are: (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; (2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer; (3) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (4) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of Title I of the Family Code of the Philippines; and (5) 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 (Articles 2 and 3, Family Code of the Philippines).

However, apart from the abovementioned requisites, it is vital that the marital union does not fall under any of the void and voidable marriages mentioned under Chapter 3, Title I of the Family Code.

Is marriage between cousins valid?

No, based on art 37 and 38 of the Family Code.  Marriages between the following are incestuous and void from the beginning, whether relationship between the parties be legitimate or illegitimate: (1) Between ascendants and descendants of any degree; and (2) Between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood.

The following marriages shall be void from the beginning for reasons of public policy:

(1) Between collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree; (2) Between step-parents and step-children; (3) Between parents-in-law and children-in-law; (4) Between the adopting parent and the adopted child; (5) Between the surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child; (6) Between the surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter; (7) Between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter; (8) Between adopted children of the same adopter; and (9) Between parties where one, with the intention to marry the other, killed that other person’s spouse, or his or her own spouse.

What degree is considered a valid marriage?

It is believed that if she is related to you by affinity (non-blood related), then there is no legal hindrance for you to proceed with the marriage. However, if she is related to you by consanguinity, you need to determine your civil degree of relationship with her.  The degree is considered a valid marriage between collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree.  To be specific, if she is your relative by consanguinity on the 5th civil degree or farther, you can lawfully settle down with her through the contract of marriage as there is no impediment as to your blood relation. But if she is your first cousin, then we regret to inform you that you cannot lawfully marry her as such marriage is void for reasons of public policy pursuant to Article 38 of the Family Code.