ART. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such marriage void.
This was exhaustively discussed in Mercado (G.R. No. 137110, 1 August 2000), where this Court settled the "conflicting" jurisprudence on "the need for a judicial declaration of nullity of the previous marriage." After establishing that Article 40 is a new provision expressly requiring a judicial declaration of nullity of a prior marriage, this Court concluded, in essence, that under the Family Code a subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage is immaterial in a bigamy case because, by then, the crime had already been consummated. Otherwise stated, a person who contracts a subsequent marriage absent a prior judicial declaration of nullity of a previous one, is guilty of bigamy.