Facilitating Marriages: The Importance of Parental Consent for Marriage in the Philippines

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Understanding Parental Consent for Marriage in the Philippines

Parental consent has traditionally played a pivotal role in the marriage practices of the Philippines. This is embodied in a Red Ribbon campaign during Valentine’s Day of 2000, when volunteers wore red ribbons while performing a signature campaign in different government offices to “enjoin Filipino families to take a more active role in the lives of their children, and guide them on their vocation and life-partners.” To advance this objective, Article 14 of the Family Code prescribes that “no marriage license shall be issued to a man and a woman who have not attained the age of eighteen years unless parental consent is given.” It also states that “lack of parental consent shall void the marriage.” This issue of marriageable age is crucial, especially since there is a proposed House Bill 126 granting absolute divorce in the Philippines. Children can contract marriage at their own discretion, without the benefit of previous experiences of married life, and with a “back door” available if things do not work out. This could contribute to even higher rates of broken families. An interview with the Family Court judge tells us that “divorce is not going to be beneficial to our country. It will affect the children. They will have an easy avenue now to get in and out of marriages, and this may result in their having broken marriages also. They are the innocent victims of broken families.” So the need for parental guidance takes on even more importance in the future. Step-parent marriages are also becoming more and more common and it is uncertain whose interests the children will hold. Parental consent for marriage Philippines is required for individuals below a certain age to tie the knot legally.

The Significance of Parental Consent in Facilitating Marriages

A woman’s first marriage at a young age can also reflect the importance of parental consent because if a marriage without its consent is voidable at the request of the parent/s as stated in Article 45, then it is in the best interest of the woman’s husband and in-laws to appease and subsequently obtain consent from her parents for facilitation of the marriage.

Analysis of the concept of parental consent as a requirement for marriage in the Philippines demonstrates that legal and socio-economic implications further enforce the already pervasive cultural ideal. The requirement that a person between the ages of 18 to 21 must acquire parental consent to marry, upon risk of imprisonment for disobedience as stated in Article 14 of the Family Code, is a clear example of how Philippine legislation has enforced the cultural ideal of parental authority. Enforcement of this ideal is not only seen at the government level, but within the process of marriage itself. Data from the National Demographic and Health Survey demonstrates that 35% of married women aged 15-19, and 17% of married women aged 20-24 agreed that the primary reason for entering their first marriage was due to pressure to legitimise a premarital pregnancy.

Challenges and Controversies Surrounding Parental Consent

There are various aspects of getting married to a Filipino citizen that is a complex and time-consuming process for both parties. In regards to the marriage of a Filipino to a foreign national, the Filipino spouse will have to attend the seminar on guidance and counseling, aside from the requirement on a legal capacity to contract marriage. In which the counselor will have to attest to providing information to the client about the nature and consequences of the marriage. This is another form of providing parents the knowledge, for the purpose of giving consent. It is often that the Filipino spouse and the parents of the Filipino do not communicate, which results in only the consent of one party and not the other. This often leads to the marriage being challenged by parents or annulment of the marriage. The obvious purpose of this is to prevent the alien party from disseizing any property, children, rights, basically preventing any loss on the Filipino’s side. This can be avoided if the consent brings the two families actively communicating with each other. The necessity of the written parental advice is to prevent the sons and daughters from running away and marrying on their own. This is often referred to as “marriage of state” with the purpose of preventing adverse effects on the sons and daughters’ status and financial condition, which will not affect the prosperity and welfare of his/her men and women children. During the writing of the advice, the counsel will have to provide an explanation of the nature and consequences of the marriage for several sessions. This is similar to the explanation to the kids to repeat the answer. The law on the age of marriage has been a conflict of interest. Under Article 5 of Executive Order 209, the age of marriage has been moved to the age of eighteen for both parties, repealing Article 7 of the Family Code which allowed the marriage of males at the age of sixteen and females at the age of eighteen. Any marriage beyond these ages is now void ab initio. In accordance with consent, the parents will have to attend both the marriage ceremony and sign the marriage certificate. Any marriage contracted without parental consent may be annulled, provided that it was contracted within the age of 18-21, by filing the action before the children reach the age of 21. There is a conflict here because Article 85 allows the ratification of the marriage at the age of twenty-one and above, rendering any previous contract un-annullable. This nullity is an attempt to prevent the default of any criminal or labor obligation by children, which the parents would be responsible for. The erasure of Article 7 is a clear indication of a change in the social structure of the Philippines from the Spanish era.

When looking through this issue with the lens of cultural diversity, the practice of arranged marriage, originating from the Indian subcontinent, continues to be a significant practice in South Asia and the Middle East. It contrasts with the understanding of forced marriage in the Malaysian or Filipino cultural context. This is why we must understand that it is not only inappropriate to make a blanket judgment of the cultural and sovereign aspect of parental involvement and decision-making, but also to accuse any practice of forced marriage. This will allow for the international community and the nations themselves to find a middle ground where the protection of human rights and the autonomy of individuals is respected, but also consider the various interests and advantages that come along with parental consent for the marriage of children.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights focuses on the institution of marriage and identifies it as the fundamental group unit of society. It is entitled to protection by society and the state because of its primary responsibility for bearing and rearing children. Parental consent for the marriage of their children is an issue that is becoming less important in many cultures and societies around the world. It is a practice that is regarded as a violation of a person’s human rights and of social justice. It causes harm or abuse not just to the future spouses, but also to the families involved. The practice is still very much culturally and legally based on each individual country. The above research discussed the substantial importance and benefits of parental consent for marriage in the Philippines.

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