What are the Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines?
The grounds for annulment in the Philippines will be discussed here in connection with the validity of the marriage.
A. Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines when the Marriage is Valid But Legally Defective:
1) Lack of parental consent ( one or both of the parties are between 18 and 21 years of age)
2) Either party is of unsound mind
3) Fraud in obtaining the consent of either party
4) Force and intimidation in obtaining the consent of either party
5) Impotence or failure to consummate the marriage
6) Sexually-transmitted disease which is incurable; ( Article 35, Family Code of the Philippines)
B. Gounds for Annulment in the Philippines when the Marriage is Void from the Beginning:
1) Minority or under 18 years of age
2) Lack of authority of the solemnizing officer
3) No marriage license
4) Bigamous or polygamous marriages
5) Mistake as to the identity of one of the parties
6) Subsequent marriages where the declaration of nullity of a previous marriage was not recorded in the partition or liquidation of the properties of the spouses
7) When there was no distribution of the presumptive legitime of the children with the proper government registry
8) Psychological incapacity under Art. 36 of the Family Code.
What are the more Common Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines?
The more common grounds for annulment in the Philippines are psychological incapacity, minority (under 18) , lack of a marriage license, bigamous, and polygamous marriages.
The other grounds may be difficult to prove in an actual case, requiring more witnesses and documentary evidence.
To illustrate, one of the more common grounds for annulment in the Philippines is the lack of a marriage license because of cohabitation for five years prior to the marriage. One party may invoke the fact that they did not even live together before the marriage but there is usually an affidavit of cohabitation attached to the marriage certificate. To prove that the marriage is void because the cohabitation was not true will require a number of witnesses to prove and may take even longer than the more common ground of psychological incapacity.
What is Psychological Incapacity as a Ground for Annulment in the Philippines?
What complicates the annulment process is the legal requirement of psychological incapacity as one of the grounds for annulment in the Philippines to sever the marital ties.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines has given psychological incapacity a very wide meaning.
Also, since the law was based on Catholic Canon Law, the following have been cited as illustrative instances of psychological incapacity, such as drug addiction, lesbianism, homosexuality, habitual intoxication, absence, failure to support, among others.
But the totality of the relationship must be taken into consideration in determining the existence of psychological incapacity.
Also, the Supreme Court has also required that the psychological incapacity must be based on antecedent facts, meaning that it must have existed prior to the celebration of the marriage, must be serious although not necessarily clinical, and must be incurable.
In one case which departed from its more hawkish approach to annulments, the Philippine Supreme Court reconsidered its earlier decision in the same case to deny an annulment and eventually granted the Petition for Nullity filed by the husband against the wife for playing too much mahjong and inordinately vising the beauty parlor. (Kalaw vs. Fernandez, GR No 166357 ,14 January 2015, 745 SCRA 512, 554; See entire text of the official Decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines by CLICKING HERE). There is an opinion that this case constitutes a de facto divorce in the Philippines.
What are Recent 2024 Developments on the Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines?
In a very interesting development insofar as the grounds for annulment in the Philippines, a committee of the Senate of the Philippines passed Senate Bill No. 2443 which, among others, sought to expand the grounds for dissolving a marriage, to include: 1) 5 years of separation whether continuous or broken; 2) rape committed by the respondent against the petitioner; 3) the grounds for legal separation, physical violence, homosexuality if there is infidelity;4) divorce obtained from a foreign jurisdiction; 5) irreconcilable differences; and 6) dissolution from a church or indigenous cultural community.
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