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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bigamous Marriage Is Void- Do You Still Need To File Annulment?



Marriage is a contractual union between a man and a woman. 


However, there are some instances where marriage can be classified as void or not valid from the beginning,  One example is marriage that is bigamous or one of the party has been  previously married and then he or she entered into another marriage even when the first or previous marriage has not been legally dissolved or annuled. 


The drama below is one simple example and portrayal of a bigamous marriage. 






It is important to know that bigamous marriage is rendered void in court . 




 Although this maybe the case, most often, there are still legal records that needed to be cleared so the person could move on with his or her life.


"... your civil status will not automatically be considered as that of “single.” If you found out that your marriage is bigamous, you must still file a petition for declaration of nullity of your marriage before the Regional Trial Court, sitting as a Family Court, of the place where you reside."- Atty. Acosta- based on above case

You might want to check with your divorse lawyers how you should go about the filing of Petition For Declaration of Nullity of Marriage as there are procedures and documents that needed to be prepared before you could file this. Or you may visit the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) for help or assistance on your case. 


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What is the penalty for bigamy?

“Art. 349. Bigamy. — The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings.”




Clearly, a person convicted of the crime of bigamy shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor or imprisonment for six years and one day to twelve years.
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Who may file case for bigamy?


“It is settled that in bigamy, both the first and the second spouses may be the offended parties depending on the circumstances” (Garcia vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119063 January 27, 1997).


According to Atty. Persida Acosta, "It is immaterial therefore that you turned out to be the second wife. What is material in your situation is the existence of the elements of the crime of bigamy and that you as the offended party, did not know that your husband was already married to another person at the time you were married. Therefore, you may file the appropriate criminal complaint for bigamy against your own husband."

Does annulment of first marriage absolves a person who committed bigamy? 


The dissolution of the first marriage—be it through the declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage or even through divorce abroad—does not erase the fact that bigamy was committed. In the case of People of Philippines vs. Edgardo V. Odtuhan (G.R. No. 191566, July 17, 2013), the Supreme Court enunciated the following:


"...Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2013/jul2013/gr_191566_2013.html – fnt40 If we allow respondent’s line of defense and the CA’s ratiocination, a person who commits bigamy can simply evade prosecution by immediately filing a petition for the declaration of nullity of his earlier marriage and hope that a favorable decision is rendered therein before anyone institutes a complaint against him.”
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