Annulment of Marriage

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.


The firm’s practice is divided into the two categories of local and inter-country adoption under the Philippine Domestic Adoption Act ( R.A. 8552 ) and the incorporation of the provisions of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption into the statute books of the Philippines via Republic Act No. 8043.

The Family Law department has been in the forefront of pioneering litigation involving complicated issues on Adoption Law, such as the efforts to convince foreign jurisdictions to recognize the bona fides of local adoptions for purposes of applying for a dependent’s visa for the subject child under the auspices of the Hague Convention, seeking exceptions to such requirements as residency of the adopters, relation, prior criminal record of both the adopter (foreigner or Filipino) and the natural parents (on the issue of whether or not consent would be necessary).

Considering the firm’s presence in the U.S. mainland, it can ably assist in the process of obtaining an intercountry adoption, including the documentation involved, both from the perspectives of the receiving country (the U.S. or any other foreign jurisdiction) and the Philippines as the sending country. This has effectively reduced the costs involved for the client limiting the retention of only one law firm to complete the entire process.

Child Custody and Support

The firm has a wide range of experience in international child custody and support. It has had the fortune of having been engaged in cases involving the selective application of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction in multi state and multi nationality situations, involving either the Philippines as the country of destination or a Filipino national as the abductor or the child involved. These cases have presented complicated conflicts of laws issues which remain to be gray areas in Philippine Family Law, especially considering the abiding refusal of the Philippines to accede to the Hague Convention.

Locally, the firm has seen to trial cases involving very complicated issues of jurisdicition and other substantive matters impinging on the application of R.A. 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children, the principal and anciliary remedies thereof as they interplay with the child custody provisions of the Civil Code and the circulars of the
Supreme Court on child custody, protection orders, and issuance of the writ of habeas corpus.

While the Philippines has not formally ratified the 2007 international protocol on child support or the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance, the U.S. offices of the firm has of late been processing claims for support by Filipino children against U.S. resident parents under an alternative line of remedies developed by the Family Law Department.

Title and Description: “ The International Law practice of De Borja Lamorena and Duano Law Offices is geared towards the needs of Filipinos abroad as they impinge on Philippine Laws, inclusive of U.S. Immigration law issues and Family Law in the Philippines.”