The Philippines does not have a divorce, unlike most countries in the world. If you want to break ties with your spouse, there are three choices; doing nothing, filing for a legal separation, or filing for an annulment. If you want to remarry or be single, the best thing to do is to file a petition for annulment in the Philippines, here’s our guide.
Warning – an annulment is long and would cost you a lot. However, this would declare your previous marriage to be null and void. In the CENOMAR, you are considered single. If you get a legal separation, you are still married in papers but separated in bed and board. Please take note though that the Catholic Church does not recognize an annulment, you can get married civilly but not in the church.
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Grounds for Annulment of Marriage in the Philippines
As per Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines, here are the cases where you can annul the marriage:
1. The party who wants to annul (petitioner) was 18 – 21 without consent of parents or guardian unless at the age of 21; petitioner is cohabitating as husband and wife
This must be filed by the parent or guardian who did not consent within five years before the party is 21/26
2. Husband or Wife of unsound mind at the time of marriage, unless after coming to reason – you are cohabitating freely
- The spouse who does not know the insanity of partner
- Guardian or Relative of insane spouse
- Insane partner during the lucid interval or when regaining sanity
3. Consent was obtained through fraud unless the after the other party has known was still cohabitating freely together (here are the circumstances)
- Non-disclosure of conviction of a crime
- Wife’s concealment of being pregnant with another man’s baby
- Concealment of STD
- Concealment of drug addiction, chronic alcoholism, homosexuality, or lesbianism at the time of marriage
This must be filed by the injured party 5 years after the fraud was discovered
4. Consent was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence unless after it has disappeared is freely cohabitating
The injured party must file this within 5 years after the act has disappeared or ceased
5. Incapable of consummating the marriage and is incurable
This must be filed within 5 years after marriage.
6. Either party was afflicted with serious STD that is incurable
Steps on how to File for a Petition for Annulment of Marriage in the Philippines
STEP 1: Look for a lawyer.
Someone who you could trust and not only want money from you. You can consult with a person who has experience going through an annulment. Talk to the lawyer about your circumstances and that you wish to file for an annulment. It’s recommended to have a contract with the lawyer, especially when it comes to service fees and terms.
P.S. There are also scam artists and fixers on annulment, so beware.
STEP 2: File the petition.
File your petition in the Family court where the petitioner or respondent has been living for at least 6 months before filing. The contents and form of the petition will be done by the lawyer. However, for the filing, the petitioner needs to be filed by them. It can’t be presented solely by your lawyer or representative. For those out of the country, verification and certification shall be done at the Philippine Embassy.
STEP 3: Summons
The respondent will be given a summons and file his/her answer 15 days after service of summons or within 30 days from the last issue of the publication.
STEP 4: Pre-Trial
There will be a mandatory pre-trial conference. Before this, there may be investigations from social workers, prosecutors, etc. In the case of connivance between the couple, your case could be dismissed.
STEP 5: Trial
A judge will preside a trial of the case; here, the grounds of annulment must be proved. Your witnesses must be present, and so is your counsel. Sometimes, this would take a long time, so you have to be patient. The other party is not required to be on trial.
STEP 6: Decision
The court will give a decision that grants the petition and makes your marriage null. You may be given a copy of the decision personally or by mail. You will have 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration. Make sure to keep your decree as it is the evidence that you are annulled.
You can also check at the Civil Registrar’s office if your marriage has become null and void. Your CENOMAR could also state that you are already single and not anymore married. Though it’s a short read, Annulment in the Philippines is a lengthy process that could take more than 2 years and at least PHP 150,000. If you want to know more about how to file for a petition for annulment of marriage in the Philippines, it’s better to consult a lawyer.
About the Writer
Hey, I’m Lyza! I once was a person who just imagined going to places “one day” but decided to pursue my dreams. My first travel abroad was in Japan, solo, last 2018, and fell in love with the journey since. I’m aiming to visit 10 countries before turning 30 and 2 new places in the Philippines every year. Besides traveling, I love organizing trips, photography, reading, and making new friends. Follow my adventures through my Instagram.
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