Divorce is not honored nor practiced in the Philippines. The only option for Filipino couples to legally separate and regain their freedom to marry another person is to get their marriage annulled. Annulment processes are long and expensive, often ugly and traumatic especially when children are involved. Unlike divorce where the couple need only to agree to end a legally valid marriage, annulment proceeding is done to prove that the marriage never existed at all. And to do that, the reasons for filing an annulment case must be compelling enough to destroy the integrity of the erring couple’s union.
Something, or someone’s, gotta give.
There are two types of annulment in the Philippines:
- Declaration of Nullity of Marriage where the marriage is believed to be null and void from the beginning, and
- Annulment of Marriage is filed for valid marriages (marriage is considered valid until voided).
In case you are thinking of filing an annulment, or are just plain curious how such cases are built, this article is for you.
Valid grounds for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, pursuant to the Family Code of the Philippines:
- Either party is below 18 years of age, even with the consent of parents or guardians.
- Marriage was solemnized by a person not legally authorized to perform marriages, unless it was contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority ot do so.
- Marriage was solemnized without license, except those allowed under the law.
- Bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under Article 41.
- Marriage was contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other.
- Subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.
- Either party was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of the marriage.
- Incestuous marriages.
- Marriages which are void from the beginning for reasons of public policy.
Grounds for filing a petition for annulment of marriage:
- Either party was 18 years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of parents, guardian, or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, he/she freely cohabited with the other party;
- Either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
- Consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other;
- The consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other;
- Either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or
- Either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.
Other important reminders when filing a petition for annulment:
- You may only file a petition to nullify or annul your marriage if any of the above-mentioned grounds actually exist in your marriage.
- Being separated from your husband or wife is not grounds for annulment, not even if you have ceased communicating with each other for considerable length of time.
- Infidelity is not grounds for annulment in the Philippines.
- The petition must be filed before the Regional Trial Court where the petitioner or the respondent resides.
- Upon granting of annulment petition, the absolute community of property or conjugal partnership established between the spouses during the marriage shall be dissolved and liquidated.
- Any property acquired by either party after the annulment has been granted shall be an individual property of the party who purchased it.
- And lastly, the entire annulment procedure is not only physically, emotionally, and psychologically taxing, it can also place a dent in your finances.
We hope you found these information helpful. You can shoot us your questions about marriages and separations and we will do our best to find the answers for you.