Marriage as a Special Contract

Definition of Marriage: 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. [1] Unlike ordinary contracts, the terms of a marriage contract are restricted by its definition under the Family Code as it provides that: 1. It can only be entered by two persons of the opposite sex. 2. It is not subject to stipulation, except to fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by the Family Code. Man and woman living together as husband and wife are presumed to be married: 1. Persons living together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter presumption or evidence special to the case, to be in fact married. The reason is that such is the common order of society, and if the parties were not what they thus hold themselves out as being, they would be living in constant violation of decency and law. The presumption in favor of matrimony is one of the strongest known in law. The law presumes morality, and not immorality; marriage, and not concubinage: legitimacy, and not bastardy. There is the presumption that persons living together as husband and wife are married to each other. [2] 2. It is presumed that a man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. This is a presumption that is satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence. [3] Proof of Marriage: 1. Marriage contract is the best evidence of a marriage. Although a marriage contract is considered primary evidence of marriage, the failure to present it is not proof that no marriage took place. Other evidence may be presented to prove marriage. [4] 2. When the question of whether a marriage has been contracted arises in litigation, said marriage may be proven by relevant evidence. To prove the fact of marriage, the following would constitute competent evidence: the testimony of a witness to the matrimony, the couple's public and open cohabitation as husband and wife after the alleged wedlock, the birth and the baptismal certificates of children born during such union, and the mention of such nuptial in subsequent documents. [5] [1] Article 1 of the Family Code [2] People vs. Borromeo, G.R. No. L-61873 October 3l, 1984 [3] Section 3 (aa) Rule 131 of the New Rules on Evidence [4] Balogbog vs. CA, G.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997 [5] Trinidad vs CA, G.R. No. 118904 April 20, 1998

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