The Filipinos, known for its strong love for family, see marriage as a seal of lifetime togetherness. It is more than a mere contract, but a lasting commitment to love one’s spouse and children. That’s why it is quite important for couples to be well-prepared spiritually, emotionally, financially, and even physically before tying the knot. They have to be mature enough in all aspects of their lives to enable them to carry the big responsibility of building a family.
Even the Family Code of the Philippines impliedly advocates maturity when it included in its provisions “legal capacity” as one of the essential requisites of marriage. Before delving further on the definition of said legal capacity, the following are the two (2) essential requisites of marriage as stated in Article 2 of the Family Code:
Art.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
Legal capacity here refers to the fitness to be the subject of legal relations which is dictated by the age of majority. Eighteen (18) years of age is the age of majority in the country since it is an age perceived to be the beginning of maturity. Individuals belonging to this age are capable among others, to validly enter into contracts such as marriage and can be held accountable for doing so.
As regards consent, such is valid if marriage is entered into based on the couple’s own decision and commitment. Extraneous circumstances such as force, intimidation, strategy, or stealth must be absent.
Absence of any of the above essential requisites renders the marriage null and void. The effect will be as if no marriage was celebrated. Note must be taken though that nullity of the marriage on this ground still requires a court declaration before the couple can remarry. Simply stated, if the couple discovers that any of those essential requisites are absent thus making their marriage null and void, they cannot simply remarry without a court declaration of such nullity. They cannot declare the nullity of their marriage by themselves alone.