Premature Marriage No Longer a Crime

The death of either spouse dissolves the marital bond (same effect with annulment or declaration of nullity). This simply means that, subject to compliance with certain requirements, the husband or the wife is free to marry again. There is no legal obstacle for remarriage (and we’ve heard of a plot or two involving a spouse who wants to kill the other spouse so he/she can marry another person). Men may remarry right away. Women, on the other hand, must wait for 301 days or, if pregnant at the time of the husband’s death, must wait until childbirth, before they can remarry.

This prohibition against women is, or WAS, contained in Artile 351 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines (Act No. 3815), which reads:

Art. 351. Premature marriages. Any widow who shall marry within three hundred and one days from the date of the death of her husband, or before having delivered if she shall have been pregnant at the time of his death, shall be punished by arresto mayor1 and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos.

The same penalties shall be imposed upon any woman whose marriage shall have been annulled or dissolved, if she shall marry before her delivery or before the expiration of the period of three hundred and one day after the legal separation.”

On 13 March 2015, President Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act No. 10655, which repealed Article 351 of the RPC. In other words, the act of “premature marriage” has been decriminalized. R.A. 10655 reads: “Without prejudice to the provisions of the Family Code on paternity and filiation, Article 351 of Act No. 3815, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, punishing the crime of premature marriage committed by a woman, is hereby repealed.” (Sec. 1)

The author of RA 10655 explained that the law on premature marriages under Article 351 of the RPC “is discriminatory for it curtails the right of a woman to marry under the stated circumstances when no such penalty is imposed on the man who does the same. Similarly, the effect of the provision is an enforced mourning period on the part of the woman although none is imposed on the man.” R.A. 10655 takes effect after fifteen (15) days from its complete publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

6 thoughts on “Premature Marriage No Longer a Crime

  1. tcy

    Possible pa po ba i file after 20 years ang marriage certificate hindi po kasi sinabmit sa local registry after ng wedding cerimony sa church. ang buong akala ko po ako ay kasal 10 years na ak nahiwalay sa taong pinakasalan ko sa kadahilanang palihim na nkipag relasyon sa ibang lalaki ang babaeng pnkasalan ko. Salamat.

    Reply
  2. mari angeli

    let me put you to this,
    A son and mother was married because an oracle has a relationship of a son and mother can be null and void? Where is the basis?

    Reply
  3. RUTH

    I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF AFTER 14 YEARS NOT SEEING AND NO COMMUNICATION AND RAISING MY KIDS ALL BY MY SELF( 2YRS OLD AND 9 MONTHS OLD WHEN MY HUSBAND LEFT) (NOW 15 AND 17 YRS OLD) IS THE TIME I SPENT WITHOUT HIM NOT ENOUGH FOR ME TO MARRY AGAIN? I READ THAT I SHOULD DECLARE PRESUMPTIVE DEATH, AFTER SEARCHING THE MISSING HUSBAND.. ,IN THIS I JUST WANT TO SAY IN MY SITUATION LEFT ALONE WITH TWO YOUNG KIDS WITHOUT ANY FINANCIAL SOURCE HOW DOES THE LAW CAN EXPECT A WOMAN TO KEEP SEARCHING WHEN SHE IS INCAPABLE OF EXPENSES DURING THAT TIME? AND THAT SHE HAVE TWO YOUNG KIDS TO TAKE CARE AND HAVE TO WORK FOR THEIR NEEDS MORE THAN SEARCHING ?AND MOST OF ALL DUE TO LACK OF EDUCATION , INFORMATION AND IGNORANCE WAS NOT ABLE TO DECLARE THAT PRESUMPTIVE DEATH, AND JUST GET MARRIED AGAIN.WITHOUT THINKING THE PAST THAT I THOUGHT DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE DUE TO LONG TIME AGO, NOW THE ISSUE HERE IS THE CENOMAR I JUST REQUESTED SHOWS TWO PERSON ARE MARRIED TO ME..I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF MY PREVIOUS MARRIEGE EXIST AFTER ALL THE LONG YEARS OF SPOUSE ABSENT? ( ACTUALLY UNTIL NOW I DONT KNOW IF HE IS DEAD OR ALIVE) AND IS MY LATEST MARRIEGE IS NULL AN VOID? CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO OF THIS?

    Reply
  4. Karen

    Can i get an advice?
    I am married only 1month i decided to end our marriage because of some reason that i am not still ready..
    Now we already both have bf and gf before he agreed i will file annulment and i will pay for it because i am the one who want it he says..
    I have things in there house i want to get it he asking me 10,000pesos so i can get my things..so i not give it to him now 1year ago he know that i am pregnant now he chat with me he we sue me he will file a case against me if i will not give 200,000pesos to him..i know i made a mistake in god and the law but we both have partners.how can i fight?maybe i cant so i accepting that he will sue me i cant do anything i dont have money to give to him..
    Badly need your advice…

    Thank you

    Reply

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