How Long Does an Annulment in the Philippines Take?
Why Does a Philippine Annulment Take So Much Time to Process?
- The Psychological Evaluation
The psychological evaluation is not mandatory in an annulment case ( Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library, Marcos vs. Marcos, G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000); Rosanna L. Tan-Andal Vs. Mario Victor M. Andal, G.R. No. 196359. May 11, 2021). However, it may be helpful since it provides the judge a basis to grant the petition. It starts with an interview by a licensed psychologist, followed by the completion of a series of psychological tests. Witnesses who can confirm the statements of the Petitioner may also be interviewed by the psychologist. The psychologist will usually invite the other party to give a statement. But this rarely happens because he or she may also want to have the marriage annulled. The psychological evaluation will only take a day or two. But coordinating the interview with the witnesses and the other party could take several weeks. A report will then be submitted by the psychologist which will include the findings on the psychological incapacity of the Petitioner, the other spouse, or even both of them.
- Drafting and Finalizing the Petition
The psychological report, the marital history, the affidavits of the witnesses and the psychologist , and the documents required by law to prove the residence of the parties for the last six (6) months ( Supreme Court of the Philippines, OCA-Circular No. 63-2019) will have to be provided to the lawyer. It usually takes about 2 to 3 months for all of these to be completed. The petition itself can be drafted in 5 to 10 working days. It will then be reviewed by the client, finalized, and filed in court.
- The Summons
The petition will be assigned to a family court which will then ask the sheriff to serve the summons or the notice to the other party. It takes between 1 month to 6 months to serve the summons depending on the caseload of the sheriff . If the other party is no longer residing at his last known address, the summons may be published in a newspaper to be determined by the court.
- Other Factors
Other factors that affect the timeframe for an annulment case include retirements or promotion of judges, difficulties in scheduling the hearings because of the unavailability of the witnesses, opposition by the other party, issues such as custody, support, or property, and court inventory months in January and July.
A recent development which may impact the time to process an annulment in the Philippines is Senate Bill No. 2443 which seeks to expand the grounds to dissolve a marriage to include “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses, but requiring a 60- day cooling off period before the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This ground effectively institutes divorce in the Philippines
See the full text of the proposed law by CLICKING HERE.
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