So you marry a Filipina in another country: Does it count in the Philippines?

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marry outside philippines
What are your rights if you marry outside the Philippines?

Many foreigners marry outside the Philippines, either in their homeland or in another country. Often upon returning to the Philippines, the marriage is questioned due to not being officially registered. 

Here is the law of the land in the Philippines relating to unregistered marriage with a foreigner that happens outside the Philippines.

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Those who are married in their homeland are in fact married in the Philippines regardless of whether they register their marriage or not. The Philippines follows the rule of lex loci celebrationis, which translates to “law of the place of the ceremony” (Garcia vs Recio, 418 Philippines #723).

Under this law, the laws of the state or country in which the marriage happened will be observed. In effect, this means a state will recognise a marriage solemnised in another country so long as it follows the requirements set by the law of that said state.

The same holds true for the Philippines, so long as the marriage was performed in a country which carries similar laws.

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However, while saying this, I must also admit that there are some exceptions, they include:

Article #26 of the Family Code, says that any marriage is prohibited if certain rules are not met or applied – the most obvious is age. In the Philippines if the party is below the age of 18, then the marriage is void. \

The list below also voids a marriage contract or supposed contract between a foreigner and a Filipina:

*The person you marry is mentally or psychologically incapable to comply with the essential marriage obligations.

*Mistaken identity of a spouse

*Prior marriage(s) that are not terminated, liquidated or distributed

*bigamy or polygamous marriages

*Incestuous marriages

*Or marriages between blood relatives – up to the fourth civil degree or between step-parents and step-children.

If any marriage outside of the Philippines does not fall under the categories above, then the marriage is considered valid within the Philippines even if it is not registered.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled in this case, stating in that “the mere fact that no record of the marriage exists does not invalidate the marriage as long as in the celebration thereof, all requisites for its validity are present” (People vs Borromeo, #133 SCRA #166). In fact it is the presence or absence of the requisites of marriage that ultimately determine the validity of marriage, not the registration.

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