Marriage for the purpose of acquiring foreign citizenship valid
"I married a German citizen before a Regional Trial Court judge in Makati on July 24, 2010. Prior to our wedding, I told him that my purpose for marrying him was for me to acquire German citizenship. We have been living as an ordinary married couple here in Germany for nine years now. Is it possible for me to go back to the Philippines and file a petition to declare our marriage null and void on the ground of invalid consent since I only contracted our marriage for the sole purpose of acquiring German citizenship?
For your information, the law that addresses your situation is the Family Code of the Philippines:“Article 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.
“Article 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present:“(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female and
“(2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.“Article 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:“(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer“(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title and
“(3) A marriage ceremony, which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.“Article 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, xxx” (Emphases supplied)Based from the foregoing provisions, the consent of the parties must be freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer for a marriage to be valid. In the case of Republic of the Philippines vs Liberty D. Albios (GR 198780, Oct. 16 2013), the Supreme Court through Associate Justice Jose Mendoza elucidated:“Under said Article 2, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer. A “freely given” consent requires that the contracting parties willingly and deliberately enter into the marriage. Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rendered defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles 45 and 46 of the Family Code, such as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue influence. Consent must also be conscious or intelligent, in that the parties must be capable of intelligently understanding the nature of, and both the beneficial or unfavorable consequences of their act. Their understanding should not be affected by insanity, intoxication, drugs, or hypnotism.xxx“The avowed purpose of marriage under Article 1 of the Family Code is for the couple to establish a conjugal and family life. The possibility that the parties in a marriage might have no real intention to establish a life together is, however, insufficient to nullify a marriage freely entered into in accordance with law. xxx A marriage may, thus, only be declared void or voidable under the grounds provided by law. There is no law that declares a marriage void if it is entered into for purposes other than what the Constitution or law declares, such as the acquisition of foreign citizenship. Therefore, so long as all the essential and formal requisites prescribed by law are present, and it is not void or voidable under the grounds provided by law, it shall be declared valid.“xxx The right to marital privacy allows married couples to structure their marriages in almost any way they see fit, to live together or live apart, to have children or no children, to love one another or not, and so on. Thus, marriages entered into for other purposes, limited or otherwise, such as convenience, companionship, money, status, and title, provided that they comply with all the legal requisites, are equally valid. Love, though the ideal consideration in a marriage contract, is not the only valid cause for marriage. Other considerations, not precluded by law, may validly support a marriage. No less than our Constitution declares that marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. It must, therefore, be safeguarded from the whims and caprices of the contracting parties. This Court cannot leave the impression that marriage may easily be entered into when it suits the needs of the parties, and just as easily nullified when no longer needed.” (Emphases supplied)Applying the aforementioned law and jurisprudence in your situation, your marriage with your husband is valid since the essential and formal requisites of marriage were present at the time of the celebration of your marriage. Furthermore, the marriage between you and your husband cannot be declared void ab initio on the ground of invalid consent since both of you deliberately entered into a real and valid marriage for you to acquire German citizenship.It is likewise worthy to note here that you and your husband are currently living as an ordinary married couple in Germany for nine years now. Hence, your marriage with your German husband is valid and subsisting, and cannot be declared as void ab initio on the ground of invalid consent.We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Thus, the opinion may vary when the facts are changed or further elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"Marriage for the purpose of acquiring foreign citizenship valid"
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