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17 August 2016

MR. RYAN WAINWRIGHT


824 Sampaguita Street
Metro Manila

Dear Mr. Wainwright,

You request our opinion on whether your marriage is void or valid. The facts, gathered from
you and your documents presented, are as follows:

You, Mr. Ryan Wainwright, a British National, have been residing and working in the
Philippines for 10 years in Juke Corporation. On January 1, 2001, while in Angeles, Pampanga,
you met Jonalyn in a club who was working as a GRO then. You had to leave for England and
retained communication with Jonalyn and kept on sending money for her to learn English and
came back one month after. After which you established residency in Makati and Jonalyn moved
in. One month after you discovered that Jonalyn is pregnant and decided to do the honorable thing
and applied for marriage license in Mandaluyong which you obtained April 1, 2001.

Regarding the religion of both parties, You, Mr. Wainwright, is a member of the Church of
England and Jonalyn is a Roman Catholic. Parties got married on May 1, 2001, wherein that time
Jonalyn was 22 years of age, at your townhouse. The solemnizing officer was a female minister
from the Philippine Church of the Philippines. Parties were together until 2003.

The issue here is whether or not your marriage is void on the grounds of finding out that
your wife, Jonalyn, is lazy as she watches telenovelas every day and you are the one feeding her
whole family. And keeps on asking you for money and made you think that she married you just
for your money.

PARENTAL ADVICE

According to Article 15 of the Family Code, any contracting party between the ages of
twenty-one and twenty-five shall be obliged to ask their parents or guardian for advice upon the
intended marriage. Though the absence of which will not affect the validity of the marriage nor
will it be grounds for annulment, as non-advice is not a ground for annulment.

“Article 15. Any contracting party between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-
five shall be obliged to ask their parents or guardian for advice upon thee
intended marriage. If they do not obtain such advice, or if it be unfavorable, the
marriage license shall not be issued till after three months following the
completion of the publication of the application therefor. A sworn statement by
the contracting parties to the effect that such advice has been sought, together
with the written advice given, if any, shall be attached to the application for
marriage license. Should the parents or guardian refuse to give any advice, this
fact shall be stated in the sworn statement”
Since at the time of your marriage with Jonalyn she was 22 years of age, parental advice is
the one needed to be obtained. Parental Consent, as found in Article 14 of the Family Code, is
needed when either or both contracting parties are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.
Though the absence of which will not also make the marriage invalid but merely annullable.

MARRIAGE LICENSE

The marriage license that was obtained in Mandaluyong, however the place of residency of
Mr. Wainwright is in Makati, will not render the marriage void. It is merely an irregularity as stated
in Article 9 of the Family Code:

“Article 9. A marriage license shall be issued by the local civil registrar off the
city or municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, except in
marriages where no license is required in accordance with Chapter 2 of this Title.”

AUTHORITY OF THE SOLEMNIZING OFFICER

Article 7 of the Family Code lists the officers with authorities that can solemnize marriage.

“Article 7. Marriage may be solemnized by:

1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction;

2) Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly
authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar
general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted him by his church
or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs
to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect;

3) Any ship captain or airplane chief only in cases mentioned in Article 31;

4) Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence


of the latter, during a military operation, likewise only in the cases mentioned in
Article 32; or

5) Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case provided in Article 10.”

Regarding the religion of both parties, which both are different from the religious sect of the
solemnizing officer, but with the presumption that either or both parties believed in good faith that
the solemnizing officer has the authority to legally bind them as husband and wife, will not affect
the validity of the marriage.
FORMAL REQUISITES OF MARRIAGE

Article 4 of the Family Code states that an irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect
the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularities therein shall
be civilly, criminally and administratively liable. In the discussion above about the authority of the
solemnizing officer, the solemnizing officer can be held liable if she has knowledge that she is
without authority to solemnize their marriage but still went through with the solemnization. Also
the discussions above can only be considered as mere irregularities and will not affect the validity
of the marriage.

GROUNDS FOR DECLARATION OF THE MARRIAGE VOID

Article 35 of the Family Code lists the grounds for the marriage to be void from the
beginning. One of which:

“Article 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:

2) Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages


unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in
good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so;”

Article 36 of the Family Code states that psychological incapacity can also be a ground for
the marriage to be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
According to the article, psychological incapacity is restricted “to comply with the essential marital
obligations.” The mental disposition of one or both of the spouses must seriously and effectively
prevent them from having a functional and normal marital life. Article 45 of the Family Code also
state the grounds for the marriage to be annullable. Also marrying based on financial reasons is
not a valid ground for annulment.

Based on the foregoing, you are validly married to Jonalyn. Above discussion are mere
irregularities which will not affect the validity of the marriage.

Should you want to insist that your marriage is void, you can invoke the fact that the
solemnizing officer has no authority in solemnizing your marriage pursuant to Article 35(2) of the
Family Code, given that either or both parties knew that she has no authority to do so.

We trust that you find the foregoing helpful. Should you require our further assistance,
please do not hesitate to let us know.

Very Truly Yours,

Atty. Ma. Kristina Fernandez