Annulment in the Philippines

Generally grounded on “psychological incapacity” , this is the Philippine version of divorce in the West. While a legal misnomer in that it may involve the incapacity of one or both spouses which may have existed and became manifest after the celebration of the marriage unlike the usual legal notion of annulment the grounds for which must have been already in existence only at the time of the taking of the marital vows, the legal procedure for obtaining an annulment of marriage has been streamlined in recent years to now allow for the nullity of the marriage even if the respondent spouse is out of the country or could not otherwise be found by effecting jurisdiction over the latter’s person through publication of the appropriate court order. Judicial affidavits in place of the traditional direct testimony are also now widely-used, thus expediting the process. Jurisprudence has even removed the former requirements that the psychological incapacity be “clinical” in nature and that there be an endorsement of the Office of the Solicitor General before the family court can render a decision declaring a marriage null and void.

The partners of the firm engaged in litigation practice, have been trying annulment cases since this was allowed in 1988 and have seen the law and the practice evolve to now include issues on custody (local and under the Hague Convention), support even if the non-supportive spouse is already a resident of another country, division of property, determination of the presumptive legitimes of the children under very complicated marital property regimes, recognition of a foreign divorce, and the application of principles of private international law in cases involving dissolution of marriages.