Tag Archive: Reformed Annulment Process


Apr 03 (2)

There are four additional grounds that the divorce bill will include in the list of reasons why a person may seek to dissolve his or her marriage.  Bear in mind that the grounds listed for legal separation and annulment remain in effect and are carried into the divorce bill.

 Below are the grounds under Article 55 of the Family Code, and Annulment under Article 55 of the same code:

  1. Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner.
  2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation.
  3. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6 years, even if pardoned.
  4. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling of the respondent.
  5. Homosexuality of the respondent.
  6. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad.
  7. Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when the spouses have agreed to have a child through in vitro or a similar procedure, or when the wife bears a child as a result of being a rape victim.
  8. Attempt against the life of the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner.
  9. Abandonment without justifiable cause for more than a year.
  10. Those legally separated by judicial decree for more than two years can also avail of divorce.
  11. One of the spouses was older than 18 but younger than 21 at the time of marriage without the consent of a parent, guardian, or substitute parental authority unless, after the age of 21, the pair freely cohabitated and lived together.
  12. Either party was of unsound mind, unless such party, after coming to reason, freely cohabitated with the other.
  13. The consent of one party was obtained through fraud unless, despite after knowing the fraud, continued to cohabit as husband and wife.
  14. That the consent of one party was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence unless, despite the cessation of such, the pair continued to cohabit.
  15. That either party was incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and the incapacity continues or appears to be incurable.
  16. That either party is afflicted with a sexually transmissible infection that is serious or appears to be incurable.

The bill introduces four additional bases for divorce:

  1. Separation for at least five years at the time the petition is filed, with reconciliation highly improbable, except if the separation is due to the overseas employment of one or both spouses in different countries, or due to the employment of one of the spouses in another province or region distant from the conjugal home.
  2. Psychological incapacity of the other spouse as defined in Article 36 of the Family Code, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of marriage or later.
  3. When one of the spouses undergoes gender reassignment surgery or transition from one sex to another.
  4. Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts resulting in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair despite the efforts of both spouses.

What do you think of the listed grounds for divorce?  Do you think these aptly cover all possible situations that an unhappily married couple may face?

We’d love to hear from you!

Reference: https://www.rappler.com/nation/196612-explainer-house-divorce-bill

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Apr 02

On February 21, 2018, the House Committee on Population and Family Relations gave its thumbs up to the bill that will introduce divorce as a means to dissolve marriages in the Philippines.  As of the moment, the only way you can get out of a dysfunctional marriage is through annulment, which costs a fortune and will seek to prove that your marriage is invalid.  This means that if the court fails to find substantial grounds to prove that your union is null then your petition for annulment will not be granted and you remain married to your spouse.  Divorce, on the other hand, will end a legal marriage and make both parties free to marry other people.

There are only two countries in the world that do not recognize divorce in its territories: the Philippines and the Vatican.  Ours is a predominantly Christian nation and it is for this reason that the proposal to legalize divorce has always been shelved.  In the Philippines, married couples may dissolve their union through an annulment petition that is both tedious and costly.  Divorce seeks to address both issues.

To help us understand what’s inside the divorce bill, we summarized five important key points in the law.

  1. Divorce only seeks to terminate a continuing dysfunction of a long broken marriage.

Since annulment does not recognize infidelity as grounds for separation, couples seem trapped in this situation until the parties decide to just take matters into their own hands – amicably go their separate ways and pursue relationships with other people.  In the end, they remain married and all things related to their marriage (conjugal properties, child custody and support, etc.) continue to be part of their lives as husband and wife and parents to their children.

Divorce will help such couples obtain their legal rights to marry other people.

A dysfunctional marriage is not necessarily the result of one or both party’s infidelity.  Some couples simply fall out of love and no longer wish to be part of the union.  Again, these types of reasons for separation do not hold water in an annulment petition.  Only divorce can make it possible for couples, who no longer love each other, to dissolve their marriage and find marital bliss elsewhere.

  1. Divorce will be a more affordable means for the common Pinoy to end a marriage.

Women who cannot afford the costs of an annulment are literally left with no choice but to remain married forever.  These women could be physically, emotionally, psychologically, or economically abused by their husbands – or the other way around (wives abusing their husband’s rights and privileges).  Divorce gives them the opportunity to seek freedom from abusive partners, even if they could not afford the costs of an annulment.

Indigent divorce applicants can enjoy free litigation fees and will be afforded with competent public lawyers to represent them in court.

  1. Divorce will not abolish legal separation and annulment.

Couples still have the option to go for either, even while divorce is already made available for them.

  1. The Cooling Off Period

Those who think that divorce is the fast and easy way out of a legal marriage are in for a surprise.  Divorce applicants will be required to undergo a 6-month cooling off period as a means to try and reconcile the couple.  This, however, is waived when the petition is filed due to domestic abuse or if staying in the marriage poses danger to the life of the spouse or any of his or her children.

  1. The divorce decree will include custody of children, protection of the children’s inheritance, liquidation of conjugal partnerships or gains or absolute community, and alimony for the innocent spouse.

Foremost in the bill’s agenda is, of course, the welfare of the children that will be involved in the couple’s separation.  Each party’s right over custody of their children will also be taken up and finalized while the divorce application is being heard in court.

 

Visit us again tomorrow as we will be featuring the grounds for divorce and how these differ from the existing provisions under the Annulment and Legal Separation laws.

Reference: https://www.rappler.com/nation/196612-explainer-house-divorce-bill

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Feb 26

In the Philippines, if you would like to regain your capacity to marry, you need to file a case for annulment and pray that you win the battle against your spouse.  It is a long and tedious process of mainly destroying the character of the person you married to prove that the marriage was either: not valid from the beginning or was acquired by force, intimidation, or undue influence.  It is an expensive and traumatic process for the couple and their children.

Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations submitted a divorce bill for plenary deliberations and approved a substitute bill that consolidated all proposals to legalize divorce and dissolution of marriage.  Various questions arose from this news: how is divorce different from annulment?  Is it going to be an easier and shorter process than annulment?  Is it going to be cheaper?

These are interesting questions that led us to dig deeper into this topic.  We found remarkable information that can help us better understand and appreciate the proposal.  We hope you find these useful too.

Annulment vs. Divorce

What is the difference between annulment and divorce?

According to www.justia.com, an annulment of marriage is a legal decree that a marriage is null and void.  Annulments are granted when a court makes a finding that a marriage is invalid.  While divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

Annulment vs. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

Annulment applies to a marriage that is considered valid, but there are grounds to nullify it.  While a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage applies to marriages that are void or invalid from the very beginning.

Both annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage need to undergo the necessary court proceeding in order for the separation to be legalized.  Also, for purposes of remarriage, a court order must be released.  Without a court declaration, any subsequent marriages may be voided and the parties involved may be charged with bigamy.

Will legalizing Divorce in the Philippines make the process of separating from one’s spouse simpler?  Will there still be a need for a court proceeding?

Yes, there will still be a court proceeding in order for the divorce to be declared legal.  The committee that approved the bill refers to this as Summary Judicial Proceeding; this means that the legal processes involved in obtaining a divorce have been simplified and essentially, shortened, as compared to the processes observed in annulment.

What are the grounds for Summary Judicial Proceedings of Divorce?

  1. If the couple have been separated for no less than 5 years;
  2. If one of the spouses has remarried;
  3. If the spouses are legally separated for two years or more by virtue of a judicial decree;
  4. If one of the spouses have been sentenced to prison for six years, even if he or she is granted pardon by the courts;
  5. If one of the spouses has undergone surgery to alter his gender.

The summary proceeding (which short-cuts the entire judicial process in getting a divorce) is only applicable to the above situations.  Any other case that does not fall within the above scenarios shall still go through the longer and stricter court proceeding.

Will divorcing one’s spouse be the cheaper alternative to annulment?

Abot-kaya is how the news described divorce in terms of fees and expenses.  This is because the services of a lawyer is optional in divorce.

How will I know if I should divorce or annul my marriage to my spouse?  Am I free to decide which course to take?

This is a topic that is still being discussed by the technical working group that transmitted the bill.  According to their lead, divorce can be likened to a “merciful interment for irremediably dead marriage”.  Meaning, the marriage must have already disintegrated and that there is nothing left to save anymore.  “Only spouses in totally broken marriages and those void from the start are entitled to a grant of absolute divorce.”

Who decides when a marriage can be considered dead is still unclear.

Are you for or against legalizing divorce in our country?  Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic as we keep a close watch on the divorce bill’s progress in Congress and the Senate.

Thank you for dropping by!

 

References:

www.justia.com

http://news.abs-cbn.com

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Feb 05 (2)

“Ang mahal nang magpakasal ngayon! Kulang ang P200,000 na budget,” says the groom-to-be to his brother who will be standing as the Best Man in his wedding.

“Mas mahal ang annulment.  Ang habang proseso pa.” Quips the brother who, incidentally, just got the court’s decision on the annulment he filed several years back against his now ex-wife.

Last week, the House of Representatives approved a proposed law that will supposedly cut down the costs of a marriage annulment by simply acknowledging the Catholic Church’s decision on the annulment.  Meaning, if your marriage was annulled by the Church, the State will recognize the decision and you no longer need to undergo a judicial process.  Court hearings and attorney’s fees make up the cost of an annulment and by eliminating both, you are able to save hundreds of thousands of hard-earned money – money you will need when you and your spouse go your separate ways.

At the moment, an annulment may cost you between P200,000 to roughly less than half a million, depending on your lawyer’s fees and other expenses during the trial.  That is why it is best that you are fully aware of the entire process of undergoing an annulment before making the decision to dive in and go the whole nine yards.

Today we will share the step-by-step process of a marriage annulment in the Philippines and how it has become such an expensive (not to mention sad and painful) method of ending a relationship.  Take note though that the following should not be taken as legal advice; we researched this information online and are sharing it for information and guidance.

The Annulment Process in the Philippines:

Step 1: READ UP ON THE PROCESS OF ANNULMENT

There are a lot of annulment materials available online that you can freely access.  You may talk to friends and families who went through an annulment; they can give you first-hand information on attorney’s fees, processes, and other information that may not be available online.

Step 2: CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY

When you are 100% sure that you would like to continue with the annulment, you need to choose an attorney who will handle the case for you.  If this is your first time to ever need the services of a lawyer, the following pointers may help:

  • Find a lawyer you can trust.
  • If you should search online, be wary of lawyers and legal websites that promise to get you an annulment in a few months’ time.  There are some who will even tell you-you do not need to appear in court.  These may be signs that the people behind these sites or legal offices are scammers and fixers who are only after the money they could get from you.
  • Consider the cost of hiring a lawyer.  This may vary depending on his experience and track record of handling annulment cases.  Of course, the more popular and successful the lawyer, the higher his charges would be.
  • Narrow your options to 3 or 4 lawyers then schedule your appointments with them before you make your final choice.
  • The lawyer you choose should be able to execute a written contract detailing the terms and conditions of handling your case.  Ask questions and clarify anything that is unclear to you.  It would help to have someone with you who can interpret legal jargons and is used to reading lengthy contracts and agreements.  Remember, you can walk away anytime you feel that your clarifications are not fully satisfied.

STEP 3: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION

Now that you have a lawyer, you will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine your personality and how this translates to the case you are about to file.  Remember, in the Philippines, most annulments are grounded on psychological incapacity, for lack of something worse you can charge your legal spouse.

It is also during the psychological evaluation when you will be asked to narrate your marital history and effectively, draft the basis of the petition and psychological evaluation.

In short, your petition will be drafted in the presence of your lawyer and a psychologist.  So effectively, you will be paying for two professionals right at the onset of the annulment process.

STEP 4: FILING THE PETITION

Your annulment petition will be drafted by your lawyer after the psychologist has released his evaluation.  Your lawyer should send the draft to you for your review and approval before he submits it to court.  You would need to sign the affidavit of non-forum shopping and this will be attached to the petition.  Check that all documents are duly notarized before submission to court.

Once submitted, your case will be assigned to a judge by public raffle.

STEP 5: PRE-TRIAL AND COLLUSION INVESTIGATION

When a judge has been identified to handle your case, it will be scheduled for pre-trial.

An annulment must not be a conspiracy between the spouses involved; meaning, the court needs to prove that only one of the two parties is voluntarily filing the annulment.  The court will need to establish this through a collusion investigation.

Meanwhile, the judge will limit the issues involved in the case and require the parties involved to submit to a mediation.  This is where child support, custody, and visitorial privileges are discussed.

STEP 6: TRIAL

The three witnesses involved in an annulment trial are:

  1. The Petitioner
  2. The Psychologist
  3. A corroborating witness (this could be a friend or relative who knows the couple personally and is aware of the petitioner’s desire to break up the marriage).

The Respondent (or the ex-wife or husband) shall receive a notification of the annulment process.  Respondents seldom appear to contest the petition.

STEP 7: THE DECISION

After all witnesses have taken the stand, the case is submitted for the decision of the court.

There will be a 15-day period for a motion for reconsideration to be filed; this shall begin from the time the decision is rendered and is received by either party.

If the annulment is granted, the Office of the Solicitor General can file a motion for reconsideration and appeal the case to the Court of Appeals.  An annulment is not final until the decision of the Court of Appeals is released.

STEP 8: ANNOTATION WITH THE CIVIL REGISTRAR’S OFFICE

The LCR where the marriage took place has to apply the necessary annotations on the ex-couple’s marriage certificate.  When any of the parties request for a copy of their old marriage certificate, the decision of the court should be clearly printed on the document, as proof that the marriage has been rendered null and void.

Both parties will need the annotated copy of the marriage certificate as proof that they are now free from the bounds of their marriage and may choose to re-marry or, in the case of the ex-wife, revert to her maiden last name in all of her IDs and other documents.

It is a long and painful process, as evidenced by the above narration.  And so it is true that getting an annulment is much more expensive than getting married.

Think first before taking the plunge.

Reference: www.hg.org

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Philandering Husband

Have these things been happening in your home lately?

  • Husband taking his mobile phone everywhere he goes, even in the shower.
  • Credit card charges made at restaurants you know you’ve never visited with your spouse ever.
  • Frequent “company trips” to romantic places like Tagaytay, Baguio, and Palawan.  And no, wives and kids are not invited.
  • A new perfume, watch, or expensive shirt you know your husband won’t buy for himself even if his life depended on it.

Different people may have different means to crack a ‘philandering husband’ or ‘cheating wife’ code, but all would probably have the same agenda: to snatch the unfaithful partner away from the interloper and save the marriage.  In extreme cases though, the discovery of a spouse’s unfaithfulness often result to separation.  And since the cost of annulment in the Philippines is prohibitive, the ex-couple would resort to living apart while they try to ‘move on’ and make sense of their complicated situation.

Philippine laws do not simply shrug off infidelity.  The aggrieved wife may file criminal charges against a philandering husband and his mistress.  In the same manner, a husband whose wife has had extramarital affairs with another man can slap her with adultery, also a criminal offense.

To help you understand how grave a transgression it is to cheat on your spouse or be the ‘third party’ in an otherwise blissful marriage, read the following:

  1. A man and his mistress can be charged with concubinage under any of the following circumstances:
    • The husband allows the mistress to live in the house he shares with his legal wife;
    • The husband buys or rents a house for him and his mistress;
    • Practices scandalous intimate acts with the mistress.
  2. A wife and her lover may be charged with adultery.
  3. Any person proven to have committed concubinage or adultery is criminally liable and may be imprisoned.  If the cheating spouse and his/her lover get married while one or both of them are still legally married to their rightful partners, they can be charged with bigamy, also a criminal offense.
  4. The charges shall be applied to both the cheating spouse and the mistress or lover; the law does not select only one of the two (as you cannot be adulterous all on your own and a woman becomes a concubine only when a married man woos her to be one).
  5. In the legal proceedings, the aggrieved party must not be proven to have consented the ‘affair’ or have forgiven or condoned the cheating spouse and the ‘third party’.  An example of ‘consent’ is if the legal (aggrieved) spouse agrees to share the marital bed with the cheating spouse even after he/she has proven that the other is already having extramarital affairs.

The Philippines, being a predominantly Christian nation, does not support divorce.  The society frowns upon infidelity and illicit relationships especially when children get dragged into the ugly picture of scandal and separation.  The law protects the victims of such scandalous affairs and upholds the rights of the aggrieved parties.  If you feel you need to take the high road to secure your family’s rights against the indiscretion of brazen individuals, seek the assistance of a lawyer.

Source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/520678/opinion/commentary-can-a-mistress-be-held-liable-under-the-law

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MARRIAGE ANNULMENT - MASTER CTIZEN

Bonjour!  Mabuhay!

The internet is abuzz with a recent announcement from the Vatican: Church annulment is now simplified, with bishops now empowered to judge the annulment cases themselves.  What’s more, the process is made more affordable, if not for free, addressing the prohibitive costs of an annulment and therefore, making it available to anyone seeking to nullify his or her marriage.

Does this mean we no longer need costly lawyers and lengthy court hearings to annul a marriage?  Let’s take a look at what family lawyer, Atty. Lorna Kapunan, has to say about this topic.

In her interview with DZMM, Atty. Kapunan emphasized on the difference between Church Annulment and Civil Annulment.  The facts below were lifted from her interview and can be read in full here: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/09/13/15/how-much-does-annulment-cost

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“Ang may legal consequence, ang may epekto, ay civil annulment.  Kung nagpa-church annulment ka without a civil annulment, before the eyes of the law, may asawa ka pa rin.”

What does this mean?

According to Atty. Kapunan, a church annulment does not have the same effect as a civil annulment because of the principle of the separation of the Church and the State.

Therefore, kung gusto mong magpa-annul, you still have to undergo the civil processes.  Unlike the church annulment, a civil annulment costs money.  Lots of it.

On Cost

Dahil sa term na “declaration of nullity of marriage”, an annulment is not just a legal conclusion.  Kailangang ito ay conclusion ng isang eksperto.  At dahil dito, kailangan mo din ng licensed psychologist o psychiatrist, bukod sa abogado mo.  A psychologist or psychiatrist charges between P100,000 to P150,000 para sa annulment cases.  Ang mga abogado naman ay maaaring mag charge ng at least P100,000 plus appearance fees.

On Speed

Since there are few family courts, couples seeking annulment need to “wait in line”.  Case hearing can only be as frequent as once every three or six months.

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Based on my own research, speed on resolution is one of the Church’s main agenda in creating the reformed annulment processes.  Especially for cases of spousal abuse and extramarital affairs, bishops are given the ability to fast-track the annulments.  The entire process should be completed in 45 days after nominal and administrative fees have been settled.  We all know na hindi ganito ang case sa civil annulment.

May mga pagkakaiba din sa listahan ng grounds for civil annulment at ng church annulment.  It is interesting to explore this topic para makita kung gaano kalayo o kalapit ang ideas ng church at ng state pagdating sa kasal at paghihiwalay ng mag-asawa.  I will blog about this soon, watch out for that.

Sa usaping kasal at annulment, hindi nawawala ang mga documents.  At isa sa mga pinaka importanteng document na kailangang meron ka para ma-prove na ikaw ay single, hindi pa nakasal, or nakasal noon pero annulled na ngayon, ay ang CENOMAR.  It pays to have a ready copy of this important document.  My friend had hers delivered by ordering online at www.nsohelpline.com.  Kung hindi ka naman comfortable sa online ordering, pwede mo din silang tawagan sa (02) 737-1111.

Thanks for dropping by.  Sharing is caring!

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