Guidelines on Judicial Solemnization of Marriage

The Supreme Court, just yesterday, laid down guidelines on the solemnization of marriage by the members of the Judiciary. These guidelines are meant to address the controversies in connection with alleged irregular solemnization of marriages by judges. The guidelines is  contained in Administrative Order No. 125-2007 (“Guidelines on the Solemnization of Marriage by the Members of the Judiciary“, 9 August 2007), the full text of which is reproduced below:

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 125-2007

GUIDELINES ON THE SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE BY THE MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY

WHEREAS, marriage under the Constitution, is an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the
State (Section 2, Article XV, 1987 Constitution);

WHEREAS, the Family Code likewise provides that the nature, consequences and incidents of marriage are governed by law and not
subject to any stipulation (Article 1, Family Code);

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court has declared that the State has surrounded marriage with safeguards to “monitor its purity, continuity and
permanence”;1

WHEREAS, for the above purposes, there is a need to lay down rules to enable solemnizing authorities of the Judiciary to secure and safeguard the sanctity of marriage as a social institution;

NOW, THEREFORE, the following Guidelines on the Solemnization of Marriage by the Members of the Judiciary are hereby promulgated:

A. Justices of the Supreme Court and other appellate courts and Judges of the Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts

Section 1. Authority of solemnizing officer. — a. Incumbent Justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax
Appeals have authority to solemnize marriages in any part of the Philippines, regardless of the venue, provided the requisites of the law are
complied with;2 and

b. Judges of the Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts,

Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts have authority to solemnize marriages within the
court’s jurisdiction.3

Sec. 2. Raffle of requests for solemnization of marriages in multiple-sala courts. — Requests for solemnization of marriages submitted to first and second level courts in stations with two or more branches shall be governed by the rules and procedures in the raffle of cases prescribed by existing resolutions and issuances. Raffle of requests shall be effected upon payment of the appropriate legal fees.

Sec. 3. Venue of marriage ceremony solemnized by Judges. — As a general rule, a marriage shall be solemnized publicly in the chambers of the judge or in open court except in the following instances:

a. A marriage contracted at the point of death or solemnized in a remote place under Article 29 of the Family Code; or

b. A marriage where both parties submit a written request to the solemnizing officer that the marriage be solemnized at a house or place designated by them in a sworn statement to this effect.

Sec. 4. Duties of solemnizing officer before the performance of marriage ceremony. — Before performing the marriage ceremony, the solemnizing officer shall:

a. Ensure that the parties appear personally and are the same contracting parties to the marriage;

b. Personally interview the contracting parties and examine the documents submitted to ascertain if there is compliance with the essential and formal requisites of marriage under the Family Code; and

c. Personally examine the marriage license presented, unless a marriage license is not required under the relevant provisions of the Family Code, to determine the authenticity, completeness and validity of the said license;

In the event that either or both of the contracting parties be citizens of a foreign country, the solemnizing officer shall also examine the certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage issued by the respective diplomatic or consular officials and attached to the marriage license.

Sec. 5. Other duties of solemnizing officer before the solemnization of the marriage in legal ratification of cohabitation. — In the case of a marriage effecting legal ratification of cohabitation, the solemnizing officer shall (a) personally interview the contracting parties to determine their qualifications to marry; (b) personally examine the affidavit of the contracting parties as to the fact of having lived together as husband and wife for at least five [5] years and the absence of any legal impediments to marry each other; and (c) execute a sworn statement showing compliance with (a) and (b) and that the solemnizing officer found no legal impediment to the marriage.

Sec. 6. Duty of solemnizing officer during the solemnization of the marriage.– The solemnizing officer shall require the contracting parties to personally declare before him and in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that the said parties take each other as husband and wife.

Sec. 7. Duties of solemnizing officer after solemnization of the marriage. — After performing the marriage ceremony, the solemnizing officer shall:

a. Ensure that the marriage certificate is properly accomplished and has the complete entries, i.e., (1) the declaration that the contracting parties take each other as husband and wife; (2) the true and correct information and statements required under Article 22 of the Family Code; (3) it is signed by the contracting parties and their witnesses; and (4) it is attested by him;

b. See to it that the marriage is properly documented in accordance with Article 23 of the Family Code, as follows:

(1) By furnishing either of the contracting parties with the original of the marriage certificate referred to in Article 6 of the Family Code;

(2) By transmitting the duplicate and triplicate copies of the marriage certificate not later than fifteen (15) days after the marriage to the local civil registrar of the place where the marriage was solemnized; and

(3) By retaining in the court’s files (1) the quadruplicate copy of the marriage certificate, (2) the original of the marriage license, and, in proper cases, (3) the affidavit of the contracting parties regarding the solemnization of the marriage in a place other than the Justice’s/judge’s chambers or in open court.

Sec. 8. Other duties of solemnizing officer after the solemnization of
the marriage where marriage license is not required. — In cases of marriage in articulo mortis or a marriage in a remote or distant area referred to under Articles 27 and 28, respectively, of the Family Code, the solemnizing officer shall prepare an affidavit stating the following:

(a) that the marriage was performed in articulo mortis or that the residence of either party, specifying the barrio or barangay, is so located that there are no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar;

(b) that the necessary steps were taken to ascertain the ages and relationship of the contracting parties; and

(c) that there are no legal impediments to the marriage.

The solemnizing officer (a) shall execute the affidavit before the local civil registrar or any other person legally authorized to administer oaths; and (b) shall file or send the original of the affidavit, together with a legible copy of the marriage contract, to the local civil registrar of the municipality where it was performed within the period of thirty [30] days after the performance of the marriage.

Sec. 9. Recording of marriages solemnized and safekeeping of documents. — a. The solemnizing officer shall cause to be kept in the court a record book of all marriages solemnized. Marriages conducted shall be entered sequentially and each entry shall set forth the names of the contracting parties, their respective nationalities and current actual places of residence, the date of marriage and the date of the marriage license.

b. The solemnizing officer shall cause to be filed in the court the quadruplicate copy of the marriage certificate, the original of the marriage
license, the certificate of legal capacity when one or both parties are
foreigners or a copy thereof, and, when applicable, the affidavit of the
contracting parties regarding the request for change in the venue for the
marriage. All documents pertaining to a marriage shall be kept in one file
which file shall be properly labeled, catalogued and their integrity and
safety secured.

B. Judges of the Shari’a District Courts and Shari’a Circuit Courts

Sec. 10. Authority to Solemnize Marriages. — a. Incumbent Judges of the Shari’a District Courts and Shari’a Circuit Courts and any person designated by the judge, should the proper wali (guardian for marriage) refuse without justifiable reason, to authorize the solemnization, shall have authority to solemnize marriages within the court’s jurisdiction (Article 18,
Code of Muslim Personal Laws).

Sec. 11. Venue of the Marriage Ceremony. — The marriage shall be solemnized publicly in any mosque, office of the Shari’a judge, office of the District or Circuit Registrar, residence of the bride or her wali, or at any other suitable place agreed upon by the parties (Article 19, Code of Muslim Personal Laws).

Sec. 12. Marriages among Muslims without marriage license. — Marriages among Muslims may be performed validly without the necessity of a marriage license, provided that they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices. (Article 33, Family Code).

Sec. 13. Duties of the solemnizing officer before the marriage ceremony. — Before performing the marriage ceremony, the solemnizing officer shall:

a. Ensure that the parties appearing personally before him are the same contracting parties to the marriage to be solemnized; and

b. Personally interview the contracting parties to satisfy himself that the essential requisites for the marriage prescribed by Article 15, Code of Muslim Personal Laws, are present.

Sec. 14. Other duties of the solemnizing officer before the marriage ceremony. –In case where one of the contracting parties is a female who though less than fifteen but not below twelve years of age has attained puberty, the solemnizing officer shall check whether or not, upon petition of a proper wali, an order has been issued by a judge of the Shari’a District Court for the solemnization of the marriage (Article 16, Code of Muslim Personal Laws).

Sec. 15. Duty of the solemnizing officer during the marriage
ceremony. –The solemnizing officer shall ensure that the ijab (offer) and the qabul (acceptance) in marriage are (a) declared publicly in his presence and of two competent witnesses; (b) set forth in an instrument (in triplicate) signed or marked by the contracting parties and the said witnesses; and that the declaration is attested by him (Article 17, Code of Muslim Personal Laws).

Sec. 16. Duty of the solemnizing officer after the marriage ceremony. — The solemnizing officer shall (a) give one copy of the declaration to the contracting parties; (b) sent another copy of the declaration to the Circuit Registrar; and (c) keep the third copy (Article 17, Code of Muslim Personal Laws).

C. Miscellaneous Common Provisions

Sec. 17. Cases not covered by the Guidelines. — In all other cases
not covered by the Guidelines, the solemnizing officer shall comply and act in accordance with the requirements prescribed by the relevant provisions of the Family Code, the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, and Sections 37-45, Republic Act No. 3631 or the Marriage Law Act of
1929.

Sec. 18. Fees for the Solemnization of Marriages. — For the performance of marriage ceremony and issuance of marriage certificate and subject further to the provisions of AM No. 04-2-04-SC (16 August 2004) the legal fees in the following amounts shall be collected:

(a) For marriages solemnized by Justices of the Supreme Court and other appellate courts – Three hundred (P300.00) pesos;

(b) For marriages solemnized by Judges of the Regional Trial Courts and Shari’a District Courts – Three hundred (P300.00) pesos; and

(c) For marriages solemnized by Judges of the Metropolitan Trial
Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts; Municipal Circuit Trial Courts and Shari’a Circuit Courts – Three hundred (P300.00) pesos.

All fees collected for the solemnization of marriage shall accrue to
the Judiciary Development Fund.

Sec. 19. Payment of legal fees in Philippine legal tender. — All fees shall be paid in Philippine currency and such fees collected shall be properly officially receipted.

Sec. 20. Unauthorized demand for and receipt of marriage
solemnization fees. — The demand for or solicitation, collection or receipt of fees for the solemnization of any marriage in excess of the amounts stated herein shall be considered a violation of these Guidelines and shall subject the solemnizing authority to administrative disciplinary measures.4

Sec. 21. Facilitation of marriage ceremony. — Any judge or employee of the court who, alone or with the connivance of other court personnel or third persons not employed by the court, intervenes so that the marriage of contracting parties is facilitated or performed despite lack of or without the necessary supporting documents, or performs other acts that tends to cause the solemnization of the marriage with undue haste shall be subjected to appropriate administrative disciplinary proceedings.

Sec.22. Reporting of marriages solemnized. –All marriages solemnized shall be duly entered and indicated in the monthly report of cases to be accomplished by the solemnizing officer.

Sec.23. Posting of the Guidelines. –All Executive Judges/Presiding Judges shall post copies of these Guidelines (a) in conspicuous places in their respective Halls of Justice or courthouses; and (b) on the bulletin board of each court at the entrance to the courtroom.

Sec.24. Violations of the Guidelines. — Violations of any of the provisions of the Guidelines shall be ground for the appropriate administrative disciplinary proceedings.

Sec. 25. – Repealing clause. — The provisions of administrative orders, circulars and other issuances of the Supreme Court inconsistent herewith are deemed amended or revoked.

Sec. 26. Effectivity. –These Guidelines shall take effect immediately.

August 9, 2007.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

1 Jimenez vs Republic, L-127900, August 31, 1960, 109 Phil 273.
2Navarro vs. Judge Domagtoy, A.M. No. MTJ-96-1088, July 19, 1996, 259 SCRA 129.
3 Article 7, Family Code; Navarro vs. Judge Domagtoy, ibid.
4 Dysico vs. Dacumos, A.M. No. MTJ-94-999, September 23, 1996; 262 SCRA 274.

3 thoughts on “Guidelines on Judicial Solemnization of Marriage

  1. pian

    TO ALL
    I know this to be out of place. Please bear with me. I just want to create awareness by choosing the busy forum or the latest.
    Do consider Dr. Martin Bautista for the next elections obviously (a senatorial candidate of ‘Ang Kapatiran’ together with Adrian Sison and Zosimo Paredes). He’s a 44-year-old gastroenterologist in the US who came home after 17 years. You can see from his background that he truly means service. For those who find him to be a hypocrite for working abroad, do understand he’s a family man who needs to sustain his family, that he will be able to keep his independence by not relying on public funds to support his family. He helps his countrymen in his capacity but it’s just not enough for there are millions of Filipinos. It’s a good start in Philippine Politics to have him and his party around.
    I urge you to forward/text/inform all your contacts about them. I believe they only lack exposure that’s why I’m doing this. But I can’t do it alone so I’m appealing to everyone’s help. If all will inform their contacts about them and urge them as well to forward, we might hit a million.
    We cannot afford to be indifferent now if we want meaningful change. Otherwise we only have ourselves to blame. BUT TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

    Reply
  2. Kayo

    Couples themselves may soeilnmze their own marriage (perform one’s own marriage ceremony).That is hardly new.In the Catholic Church, the minister of the Sacrament of Matrimony is not the priest, it is each of the intended spouses — the man and the woman marry themselves. The priest is merely there as a witness and to bless the marriage.And marriages made at common law were/are made without the intervention of government or other people. Indeed, the fact that people married themselves before the existence of government demonstrates that government lacks the power or authority to redefine marriage. Marriage is what it is, and government — either by court or legislature — cannot make it something that it is not. If marriage were dependent upon government for its definition or otherwise subject thereto, it would not have been possible for people to marry themselves prior to the establishment of government. Of course, this is simply a long way of saying that government cannot redefine marriage to include a person of one sex “marrying” another person of the same sex because such is not and was not the nature of marriage prior to government.The nature of marriage is something more than “a piece of paper.” There is an inherent nature to marriage — marriage is not an invention, it is a state of being.As such, it cannot be made into something that it is not and was not, and that inherent, per se nature is the union of one man and one woman. If it could be so reinvented and made into something different (of course, if it was something different it logically cannot be the same thing as before), then persons of the same sex could simply “marry” themselves at common law, without the intervention of government, as was the prior practice. But that was not and is not possible because, whatever such a union might be, it is not and cannot be “marriage.”

    Reply
  3. Rizalino P.

    Good morning! I would like to seek your legal opinion if you may please.

    Is a Divorce Decree issued by a Sharia Court with legal effect; when the contracting parties marriage was solemnized by a Municipal Mayor when they (both contracting parties) are still non Muslim yet.

    Thank you.

    Reply

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