Dear PAO, My girlfriend and I have been living together for several years and we intend to get married by the end of this year. Hopefully, the pandemic has ended by then. My friend told me that we won’t need to get a marriage license anymore because of our “live-in” set-up. Is this true? Xavy
“Article 34. 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. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. 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.”
For better understanding, the Supreme Court expressed in the case of Borja-Manzano vs. Sanchez (A.M. No. MTJ-00-1329, March 8, 2001, Ponente: Honorable former chief justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.) that:
“For this provision on legal ratification of marital cohabitation to apply, the following requisites must concur:
1. The man and woman must have been living together as husband and wife for at least five years before the marriage;
2. The parties must have no legal impediment to marry each other;
3. The fact of absence of legal impediment between the parties must be present at the time of marriage;
4. The parties must execute an affidavit stating that they have lived together for at least five years (and are without legal impediment to marry each other); and
5. The solemnizing officer must execute a sworn statement that he had ascertained the qualifications of the parties and that he had found no legal impediment to their marriage.”
Accordingly, you and your girlfriend may enter into a contract of marriage without the need of securing a marriage license provided that you have been living together as husband and wife for at least five years prior to the date of your intended marriage ceremony and that neither of you has legal impediment to marry each other. It is necessary for both of you to execute an affidavit stating such facts and it is likewise necessary for the person who will solemnize your marriage to execute a sworn statement pronouncing that he has ascertained your qualifications and that he has found no legal impediment to said marriage.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to [email protected]