Can Someone Remarry Without Going to Court due to Absence or Separation?

Can someone automatically remarry after being separated, or when the other spouse had been “absent”, for several years? There are a number of questions along this line that were posted in the Forum. While there’s already an initial discussion on this, the question keeps cropping up, so let’s put this issue to rest once and for all.

Remarriage in the Philippines by reason of Absence or Separation

The confusion appears to be based on Article 83 of the Civil Code, which reads:

Art. 83. Any marriage subsequently contracted by any person during the lifetime of the first spouse of such person with any other person other than such first spouse shall be illegal and void from its performance, unless:

(2) The first spouse had been absent for seven consecutive years at the time of the second marriage without the spouse present having news of the absentee being alive, or if the absentee, though he has been absent for less than seven years, is generally considered as dead and believed to be so by the spouse present at the time of the contracting such subsequent marriage, or if the absentee is presumed dead according to articles 390 and 391. The marriage so contracted shall be valid in any of the three cases until declared null and void by a competent court.

If you stumbled on this provision, you may have this idea that a spouse can remarry even without securing a judicial declaration of presumptive death. In other words, there is NO need to go to court and it’s enough that any of the following circumstances is present: (a) there be no news that such absentee is still alive; (b) the absentee is generally considered to be dead and believed to be so by the spouse present; and (c) the absentee is presumed dead under Article 390 and 391 of the Civil Code.

This understanding would have been correct, except that Article 83 of the Civil Code was superseded by the Family Code, which now provides:

Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provision of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient.

For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.

[For a discussion on whether a court-approved legal separation entitles the spouses to remarry, refer to: Can a Legally Separated Person Remarry.]

As the law now stands, a married person must, for purposes of remarriage, file the necessary action in court and ask for a declaration of presumptive death of the “absent” spouse. The crucial differences under the Civil Code and Family Code provisions are:

  • 1. Under the Family Code, the time required for the presumption to arise has been shortened to 4 years.
  • 2. Under the Family Code, there is need for a judicial declaration of presumptive death to enable the spouse present to remarry.
  • 3. Under the Family Code, a stricter standard is imposed: there must be a “well founded belief” that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declaration of presumptive death can be granted. A married person must conduct a search for his missing spouse with such diligence as to give rise to a “well-founded belief” that he/she is dead.

For an extended discussion on declaration of presumptive death, please click here to read the previous article entitled: “Presumptive death of a spouse for subsequent marriage.” Just to be clear: no matter how long a spouse is “absent”, the present spouse CANNOT remarry unless there is a judicial declaration of presumptive death. [See also How Many Years Before a Marriage Becomes Void in the Philippines; Reference: Republic vs. Nolasco, G.R. No. 94053, 17 March 1993]


310 thoughts on “Can Someone Remarry Without Going to Court due to Absence or Separation?

  1. simple mae

    Dear Sir,

    i’m 4 years separated with my husband, with no support and all. i want to file an annullment but he is not here on the Philippines. last time I’ve heard nasa Greece nakadaong ung barkong sinasakyan niya. He is a seaman.. by the way. tanga siguro ako or ma-pride lang pero hindi ako naghabol ng allotment. Its either mother nia or yung mistress nia ang tumatanggap. I don’t care anyway. all i want is to get an annulment and i’m gonna use his inability to give us support kahit may trabaho siya as a ground.

    But how will i do it if he is not here???

    Please advice…. thanks..

    1. Lisa

      Atty Fred
      I have a situation were I was married to a man whose married before. I found a new romance and we decided to get married since my first marriage was null and void. On getting our requirements I’ll try to check my ex’s cenomar ’cause my cenomar indicates that im not single anymore according to NSO… Can I directly marry a person without filing case,is there legal process for me to re marry again since my previous marriage is void and null?

    2. Biberlyn

      Same situation po tayo!!!but I still filling a annulment …and need pa din mg hearing…para maikasal po ako ulit.

    3. celeste

      This is a problem of my friend. How can he secure for the cancellation of his record from the National Statistics Office from a previous marriage which is separated for almost 53 years and he wants to remarry. Both of them married abroad for another partner, his wife divorced now from his partner & he has been widowed for almost a year. How can he remarry because before he can acquire for a marriage license one of the requirement is the Cenomar and after securing from the NSO his marriage has not been cancelled. What advise could you give. What he should do to cancel his marriage? Thank you.

    4. Divine

      Ask ko lang po kasal ako sa Danish citizen kaso nga po ginawa syang Filipino nag hiwalay kami marshal anu po pwede kong gawin

    5. Mark

      Hi Lisa,

      Ask ko lang po pano kayo naikasal ng first husband mo na married na before? want to do the same thing what you did. please advice. thanks.

    6. Vhiel

      Good day!
      I just want to ask if someone who is married in civil wedding can marry again after 10 years of their separation ? They have 3 sons and their sons is in the father custody. His wife have already a family.Is the man need to undergo a process of filing a annulment even he has only CIVIL WEDDING and 10 years separated from her wife .?
      I hope for your answers .Thank you! God bless.

    7. Ep if Ania

      Please tulungan nyo po ako Sa problema ko 23years na po kmi hiwalay ng asawa ko …natuklasam ko po may mas nauna cya kinasal Sa akin ..pwede po ba ako mag pa kasal kahit hindi dadaan Sa courte?

    8. Chay

      I marry the first man then he go abroad.after 4 years i meet another man and i marry him secretly.does my marriage for 2nd man is legal?

    9. Jacqueline

      hello po,isa po akong pilipina at divorce po ako sa isang Japanese national,pero didto kc sa atin walang divorce only annulment,,,tsaka ok naman po ung dati Kung asawa kc maganda nman ung paghhiwalay nmen,at hangang ngaun wala na din akong balita sa kanya may 5years na po,,,at ang problema ko po kc naikasal po ako sa isang Australian na Hindi pa tapos ung annulment ko didto sa pinas,at un po kaya po Hindi pa po ako nakkuha ng asawa ko sa australia kc Hindi pa ako annul,,,ang tanong ko po Kung pwede ba ako maka pag lodge nang Visa kahit po Temporary partner Visa po?kc sa ngaun lage Lang po Tourist Visa ang pina file ng asawa ko,naka pang apat na tourist visa na po ako papuntang Australia at pabalik balik na po ako doon,kaya gustong gusto npo ng asawa ko na sana mag stay na ako doon,,,kya po Sana ma advice nman ninyo ako sa problema ko,,,Kung pwede ba ako makapag apply ng Tempoarary Partner Visa,,salamat po

    10. Laarni

      Good day po!ask ko lang po kung ano gagawin ko para macancel yung kasal namin nung dati kong kinakasama kasi pangatlo po ako sa pinakasalan..yung una alam ko po yun pro yung sa pangalawa di po talaga..matagal na dn kmi d nagsasama anim na taon na..and now plan po namin ng boyfriend ko magpakasal tulungan nyo pi ako ano yung hakbang na gagawin ko..kung gagasto pa po ba ako ng malaki ukol dito,ang alam ko dn po null and void marriage namin sa madaling salita ala bisa pro gusto ko po malinis name ko,,thanks po ng marami…God bless

    11. Claire

      No you cannot just remarry even if you discover that your husband is previously married. You have to file for a nullity of your marriage.

    12. Flora

      you cant go abroad and remarry their bcoz there still looking for cenomar from nso i think

    13. BHABZ


    14. Conor

      What do you need the annulment for???
      He is living the life he wants and not this stupid law is stoping him.
      Get a life!! Life is too short to care this fucking law! Do not let this stupid stop you from living the life you want!!
      This stupid law is just made by stupid humans anyway. They made it imposssible to get annuled even both parties agreed. Gusto nila isa dapat sa inyo mamatay!!!

    15. Khiang

      after 7 years nyo na hiwalay mag ask kayo sa simbahan if ano mganda gawin kc friend ko kinasal ulit nag tanong lang sila.. no need to annul ang mahal kaya..tgal pa ng processssssss..

    16. Jackie

      Hi I got married 2005 pero 2009 DNA kmi ngsama ng asawa KO dahil Hindi kmi ngkasundo pero pinapkita nmin sa mga anak nmin na ok parin kmi..but now gsto kona po mgpakasal sa iba pwede po ba un or kailangan pang mag paanull ang mahal kasi..plz advise me po

    17. alu ben

      totoo po ba? pumayag ang church na ikasal sila ulet kahit hindi pa annulled ang kasal nila??

    18. Mark

      gusto ko na rin ikasal uli. separated nako 8 years ago. mag anak na ako sa pangalawa ang naisip ko nalang na paraan is go for civil wedd para ikasala na.


      Nakaka lungkot na ikaw na ginago my buong familia pa nila.. kinamkam na pundar at masayang masaya sila na Labas masok ng Bansa na Sila ang totoong mag asawa.. diyos nalang ang bahala sakanila.. pero sana eto ang Bigyan pansin ng bagong presidente ng pilipinas.. Ang maging patas ang Batas as manloloko, at as nagpaloko..

    20. Ting

      Totally, agree. Go spend that money elsewhere. Enjoy with your partner, without being married. I checked the cost of annulment and even legal separation, and it is too costly. Not to mention the hassle of the entire process.

    21. dolly2016

      hi i am a widow and i have a boyfriend but he is still married – verbally separated for 5 years. my bf is a seaman and that he has no communication to his wife except that he was still sending his allotment for his kids.
      can we get marry after 2 years because he has not appeared and communicate with his wife for 5 years.. what can he file – is it legal separation? how much will he spend for this course?
      please advise me sir.
      thank u and more power.

    22. jessie ann

      HI good afternoon . I just found out about this article cause Im seeking a answer to my questions. sir can I get an advise from you. my grandfather was married before but suddenly his wife had a affair to a other man and left leyte to be together. so my grand father never knew that his wife was doing such thing. after several years my grand father heard a news from his sister in law that his wife had a children from other man. so my gran father continue his life and meet my grand mother who`s been single that time. now they are been together for 35 years. QUESTION: can my grand father marry other woman even if his first wife is still alive until now and left him for so long??

      please help me ! coz im planning to set a civil wedding for them.
      thank you

    23. Rebecca

      Dear Attorney,
      I am confused with the first paragraph that said, one can remarry even without going to court for judicial process when the marriage had been inactive for at least 7 years. I had been separated for more than 13 years now or since January 4, 2004 to be exact. During our marriage or living together in 10 years I had never got a support from my husband and had been suffering his being vicious (gambling, drugs and women). In 2012, I met a man who helped me in sending my 2 kids to school and let them finished college. He is older than me and he wanted me to marry him in order for me to get the benefits in case he will leave this world ahead of me. I cannot afford those expensive annulment fees that lawyers are charging. My only question because I don’t fully understand the provision of this Family Code…can I marry again without going to court and file annulment?

    24. Marvin

      First of all mae.. u can file an annullment even he is not here.. what you should do is to get a lawyer.. so that you will know the grounds for annulment.. because even if you have a money to file the petition(expensive) there is specific grounds to grant ur annulment so better consult a lawyer for that.

    25. Kareen

      Gud pm po ask q lng po kung sa loob po ng 10yrs n hiwalay po aq sa aking dting asawa at ngaun po ay may kinakasama n kming iba pwede npo b kming magpakasal sa iba khit walang annulment?

    26. Editha

      Hiwalay npo kami ng ex husband ko almost 20years.pde npo b ako magpakasal ulit na dna dadaan sa annulment o dissolution?abg mahal po kc ng me po please..God Bless

  2. elle_beauty

    Good day! My situation is I got civilly married last april 10, 2008. He is married before but he told me that they already filed annulment. then just recently I secured his CENOMAR to check if our marriage already registered in census and I found out his first marriage april of 1995 still not nullified. Which means he entered into two marriages.. and our marriage is void.. what should we do to make it valid? should we annul both marriages and get married again or just nullify the first marriage? I want to clear out everything before we got church marriage.

    1. Marvin

      Clearly ur marriage is null and void.. annul the first marriage..if it is annuled already..then thats the time you can go for a new ceremony..

  3. e_gmel

    A woman has been married for 12 years in the Philippines and her marriage was never a happy one because for many times her husband has been unfaithful to her. Now she went abroad in Saudi Arabia and after 2 years, she met a man she loves more than her husband who forgotten even to text her. Later, she and her boyfriend converted and embraces Islam and decided to get married under Islamic Law. Now, the question is, Is the second marriage committed any violations as far as the Philippines law is concerned? Is there any provision under the Philippines law with regard to marriages such as this one? Thanks!

  4. blace

    hi, how about if i’m married but not lving together for 10yrs. now? is it considered if my husband get marry again? i don’t care anyway.

    please help.

  5. dess_09

    hi.. i just want to ask this, i have a boyfriend but he was married before, year 2002, on that the same year, his wife left him, he was in saudi arabia on that time, he is working there up to now! they have one child, but when the baby was 2-day old, his wife left the baby to his mother’s custody, my boyfriend didnt know why his wife left him, he didnt even had a chance to ask her… we’re planning to settle down someday, is it possible for us to get married considering his status? or he should go on annulment process?

    please help me… thank you…

    1. Mary Jane

      Good day Attorney, I jut wanted to ask an advise regarding my relationship. I was married since 2010 in civil wedding, me and my spouse are both working abroad and as years goes by, are relationship was turned on rocks then and we have decided to separate in our own ways. Last July 2014, unfortunately he had a serious accident and made him paralyzed. I am willing to file an annulment and i just what to know on which ground of annulment will be.



  6. jedidiah667

    to : dess_09,

    Friend, first and foremost, you ought not to have a relationship with someone who is already married. Wait for the right person in and get married at the right time. At your case now, you dont have the right person because he is already married. Keep away from him. If he is not able to make good of his relationship with his present wife, how can you be sure that he can make a relationship with you. Friend, it is better to stay single than marry the wrong person. Friend, get a good and clear conscience. Let us do unto others what we want others to do unto us. We are going to stand before God and He will account how we handled the life HE has given us. HE will judge us.

    Lawyers are here to help people understand and help people obey the laws of the land. Lawyers can be tempted to get your case and they can file for annulment but remember that

    1. Lee

      With all due respect Sir. You have a logical fallacy in the advise you give. If you are going to quote the bible then you must remain consistent in your arguments or you will have no validity with those whom you give advise too. God gave all power and authority to Christ Jesus. Jesus Stated clearly in Matthew 5:32. Jesus stated it is wrong to divorce except for the reason of adultery. I didn’t mean divorce had to happen however, with unrepentant adultery or “pornia” (sexual sin). The Innocent party was free to move on and remarry. This was a worse case scenario. The these laws that you defend are unjust and immoral. They are not Gods complete commandment on the issue. These marriage laws do not protect the innocent in a marriage (those who haven’t committed adultery). These laws are oppressive. They do not allow for freedom of association. Which is a right in any free society. Most of all they are immoral. The laws adulterate Gods complete revelation on the matter. If you are a consistent and free man I don’t know how you can tolerate this in your country.

  7. jedidiah667

    to dess_09
    they already have a child. Please think of their child. People do not know it, but a child having parents who are separated are emotionally affected.

    God Bless You!


    A friend is married in Phil. thru civil wedding and the marriage lasted only for 8 months. They have a love child which carries the surname of the father. The girl left the man since he is a drug addict. She left and went to Dubai and found a divorced arab muslim man and got married in shariah court. They are still in marriage for 6 years now. Which marriage is valid? How to make the 1st marriage void? What are the remedy to make the 2nd marriage valid in Phil.? Can the new husband adopt the child of the Filipina wife? How?

    Please advice. Thank you in advance for your response.

  9. donnalyn24

    Hi, I am currently living now here in Dubai. Me and my boyfriend wants to get married and have requested for a Certificate of Singleness. Upon receiving the CENOMAR it shows that he is still a certified single and there is no record of marriage in his name.

    Two days ago I accidently search one of his mail and there was one message with attachment that surprised me. I found a document which is a marriage contract with his name and a gurl’s name on it, stating that they was once married. I am really confused and ask the guy. He told me that the marriage took place a long time ago (i dont know the exact date) in the municipality office in Quezon City which appears to be a Civil wedding. But now, they were separated with each other and living separate lives.

    My question is, is there any possibility that their marriage is not legal? Because it was not forwarded in the NSO office, and NSO doesn’t have any record of their wedding? I am really confused now. Can I still marry him? is it not against our Philippine law?

    Kindly advice and i will really appreciate your help in this. Thank you.

  10. girlcomplicated

    dear sir,

    i would just like to know if i can remarry again. my bf and i are both married though we are both seperated (not legally) from our respective partners. he has one child with his (ex) wife and they filed na for an anulment, on my part, i have a child too with my (ex) husband and i have filed for an anulment myself. i havent seen and spoke to him since january 08. can i remarry anytime soon? i dont even know where he lives and if he is still alive. what should i do?


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