Remarrying in the Philippines: What you need to know

Divorce is not allowed under Philippine law, but remarriage is possible under the following circumstances:

Death of a spouse

Republic Act 10655 of 2015 has repealed the law stating that women must wait 301 days after the death of a spouse before they can remarry or risk being held criminally liable for premature marriage. Thus, women no longer have to wait out the prescribed period in order to legally remarry, regardless of the period of the spouse’s passing.

If a widow whose spouse died in the Philippines wishes to re-marry a foreign national, she/he must present a death certificate issued on National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper, and authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). On the other hand, a widow whose spouse died in another country must present a certified true copy of the death certificate, ideally with an English translation, and the document must be authenticated by the ministry of foreign affairs of the country where the death certificate was issued.  

Presumptive death

Those who wish to remarry on the account of presumptive death of a spouse may do so by asking first the court for a declaration of presumptive death. This is governed by Article 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended, and only possible under the ordinary presumptions with the following conditions:

  • Your spouse has been missing for four consecutive years
  • You have a well-founded belief that your absentee spouse is dead
  • You have exerted great effort to locate your absentee spouse, and to establish contact
  • You have filed a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse
  • You wish to remarry.

The four-year period can be shortened to two consecutive years for extraordinary absence under these conditions:

  • The absent spouse was on board a vessel that got lost at sea, or an airplane that has gone missing, and who has not been heard of for two years since then
  • The absent spouse was in the armed forces who has taken part in a war, and has been missing for two years
  • The absent spouse was in danger of death under other circumstances and his/her existence has been unknown for two years

Failure to get a declaration of presumptive death upon remarrying can open you to charges of bigamy. It can also render your second marriage null and void.

Divorce from an alien spouse

A divorce decree that has been obtained abroad may be recognized in the Philippines if it satisfies the conditions set by the law. It should be established that the marriage is between a Filipino and a foreign national, and that the latter obtained a divorce decree from their country, thus making them eligible for remarriage according to their law.

This may be done through a petition for judicial recognition of a foreign judgment. When the court grants this petition, the Filipino spouse will also become eligible to remarry.

Civil annulment

A civil annulment pursuant to Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended, can be obtained on these grounds:

  • Either or both spouses were 18 years old or over but younger than 21 years old, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of either or both of their parents or legal guardians, unless after attaining the age of 21, he/she freely cohabited with the other spouse
  • Either spouse was of unsound mind when the marriage was solemnized, unless such spouse after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife
  • The consent of either spouse was obtained through fraud , unless such spouse freely cohabited after full knowledge of the fraud
  • The consent of either spouse was obtained through force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same have disappeared or ceased and such spouse thereafter freely cohabited with the other
  • Either spouse was physically incapable to consummate the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable
  • Either spouse was afflicted with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that appears to be serious and incurable

Those who have gotten a civil annulment must produce the following documents in order to remarry:

  • Court Order/Decision and Certificate of Finality of Decision
  • Amended marriage contract, with an annotation of the civil annulment

Nullity of marriage

A certification of nullity of marriage can be issued if the marriage is found to be void right from the start. A marriage is considered invalid if:

  • Either spouse was younger than 18 years when the marriage was solemnized, even if there was parental consent
  • The marriage was solemnized by an individual who does not have the legal authority to do so – unless either or both spouses believed, in good faith, that the solemnizing officer was authorized to do so
  • The marriage was solemnized without a license, except those allowed under the law
  • The marriage is bigamous or polygamous not falling under Article 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended
  • Cases of mistaken identity
  • Cases of subsequent marriage rendered void under Article 53 of the Family Code
  • Either party was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of the marriage
  • The marriage is incestuous
  • Marriages which are void from the beginning for reasons of public policy

Marriages between blood relatives, whether legitimate or illegitimate, up until the fourth degree is considered null and void. The same goes for marriage between the following parties:

  • Step-siblings
  • Parents-in-law
  • Children-in-law
  • Adopting parent and adopted child
  • The surviving spouse of an adopting parent and the adopted child
  • An adopted child and the legitimate child of the adopter
  • Adopted children with the same adopter
  • Parties in which one killed their spouse or the other’s spouse with the intention to marry

Remarriage is possible if there is a court order that declares the marriage as null and void. Remarrying without this court declaration could render the subsequent marriage void and opens the parties to bigamy charges.

Call Duran & Duran-Schulze Law at (+632) 478 5826 or send an email to info@duranschulze.com for more information.