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Judges in Cebu City not accepting American "Affidavit in Lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity"


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We spent months during the pandemic jumping through all the hoops. Pre-marriage seminar, getting her parent's consent from another province (she's 23), getting multiple CENOMARs, going to the American consulate in Cebu to get my Affidavit in Lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity to get married, filling out tons of paperwork. The LCR reviewed and accepted everything, after being turned away like 10 times because they kept moving the goalposts, and we finally got our marriage license only to be blocked yet again at the final step. Several judges in Cebu City and Mandaue now refuse to officiate our wedding because the Affidavit In Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage is a "self-serving document" (their words).

For reference, the US government doesn't maintain a national marriage registry, so they can't provide a certificate saying you are definitely not married in the US. The best they provide is essentially a notary service: you go in and swear an oath in front of a consular officer that you aren't married (or that you are legally divorced if you were married) and that there's no legal impediment to your being married. They sign it, you sign it in front of them, and they stamp it with a consulate seal. You pay $50 and you're done. See: Getting Married | U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

From what I understand, in like 99% of cases this affidavit is accepted in lieu of having a certificate of legal capacity. Even the LCR officer, who I swear actually enjoys coming up with reasons to make us jump through more hoops, actually accepted it.

I just wanted to let folks know that Cebu City is being a pain about this document and to go into it expecting problems. If at all possible, get married somewhere else. If we could freely travel, we'd just go to her hometown in Leyte and get married and it's unlikely we'd have these issues, but COVID continues to take a big dump on everything.

Also worth noting, the packet of documents the LCR gave us only had copies of all of our documents (CENOMARs, the affidavit, her birth certificate, etc.) and the judges at the Hall of Justice all required that we go back to the LCR to get a certification that all the copies they provided us were "certified true copies" of the originals. Even the LCR was confused why this was the case, they asked us several times exactly who at the Hall of Justice was making us do this, but they did at least provide us with the certifications. There's clearly not very good communication happening between the Hall of Justice judges and the LCR on what is expected. In my mind, the LCR should be aware of this and providing you everything a judge would require to solemnize the marriage. It shouldn't be possible to get a marriage license from the LCR that no judge will accept.

It's blowing my mind that we have an official marriage license from the LCR, yet still the judges are going back over all of our documentary evidence that the LCR already processed and then giving us a hard time about this. Literally every American who has married a Filipino in the Philippines has only had this same document. It's super demoralizing to spend months on this process only to be stopped, hard, so close to the finish line, with no way to appeal to anyone. The only option is to keep trying judges until we find one to accept our documents.

If anyone has any personal experience with a specific judge or solemnizing officer performing their marriage with this American document without any problems, I'd be happy to get their contact information from you. Right now we're just continuing to go through other judges, and judges in other Cebu municipalities, trying to find one that will not take issue with this affidavit. We're also looking around on Facebook and other places for a solemnizing officer that will perform the marriage without doing a big church ceremony or subjecting us to all the additional church marriage requirements.

Edited by dephekt
Clarifications, typos
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This is very unfortunate it must be very frustrating. 

Seems like a petty bureaucrat has it out for you guys for some reason. Can you postpone your marriage for awhile until it's safe to travel to Leyte? 

Edited by Old55
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Have your fiancé explain exactly what the problem is to a few of her friends and supply them with a cut/paste and the URL of the above.  One or more of them will locate a judge willing to do the service.  Expect to supply a "gift of appreciation" to both finder and judge.  And make sure the judge is really a judge.  :whistling:

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4 hours ago, dephekt said:

The best they provide is essentially a notary service: you go in and swear an oath in front of a consular officer that you aren't married (or that you are legally divorced if you were married) and that there's no legal impediment to your being married. They sign it, you sign it in front of them, and they stamp it with a consulate seal. You pay $50 and you're done.

Exactly as done by the British Embassy (in Manila) now.... and certainly accepted for my provincial marriage in Pangasinan...by the local town Mayor, in 2015.

Sounds like typical Philippines 'official idiocy' to me.

Get married somewhere else away from such pompous fools, would be my advice (bearing in mind that people other than judges can legally perform the  marriage ceremony in the Philippines. 

Yes, it may take longer, cost more, etc, but what else can you do ? 

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We are living in a country where small people, as in government functionaries, suddenly have big power and seem to be enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. President says do one thing, the LGU says something else and the local barangay captain says the complete opposite of the President.

The time will come when order is re-established and these petty tyrants will lose whatever powers they believe they currently have. 

As often happens here, if you find one person who says NO, there's another person nearby who will say Yes.

See if you can get to another jurisdiction and find a more friendly more proactive and definitely more professional functionary.

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23 hours ago, dephekt said:

we have an official marriage license from the LCR, yet still the judges are going back over all of our documentary evidence

Are you talking about judges in the Hall of Justice at the Qimonda Bldg?  Generally there's a worker outside the building you give your license and fee and number to, and then you'll get a text in a few days by someone who works for a judge who can perform the marriage.

If that doesn't work, just bring your license to the Hall of Justice in Lapu Lapu, or anywhere else in the Philippines.

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I have a friend whom went through this also and gave up.

They went to Hong Kong and married there, had to have it authenticated I think by the Philippine embassy, said whole process was cheap and efficient,  Not sure at this time if able travel but should not be long.

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On 12/6/2020 at 10:36 AM, graham59 said:

Exactly as done by the British Embassy (in Manila) now.... and certainly accepted for my provincial marriage in Pangasinan...by the local town Mayor, in 2015.

Sounds like typical Philippines 'official idiocy' to me.

Get married somewhere else away from such pompous fools, would be my advice (bearing in mind that people other than judges can legally perform the  marriage ceremony in the Philippines. 

Yes, it may take longer, cost more, etc, but what else can you do ? 

We had the same issue with judges at the local Hall of Justice in Cagayan de Oro. They would not accept the affidavit from the British Embassy in Manila. It went all the way up to the senior judge who upheld the more junior judges decision. This despite having all other documents and the marriage licence. We got the city mayor to perform the ceremony. 

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Likewise.  :thumbsup:

 

My first marriage was officiated by a judge... in his golfing picture-lined plush office in Pasay City Hall, Manila.(His pretty, young, manicurist took a 5 minute break, but continued to sit next to him though :biggrin:).

He'd asked for around 10 times the official...(and correct) fee for joining us in matrimony . I managed to get him down to a more reasonable amount. :rolleyes:

 

Edited by graham59
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