It used to be that Filipino couples were trapped legally in marriages that have gone wrong . 350  years of the Spanish Civil Code and the theocracy of the Catholic Church made abundantly clear the message of “till death do us part”.

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In a recent visit by Pope Francis, annulment in the Philippines was at the forefront of the issues that the Catholic pontiff chose to meet head on. A declaration was swiftly made not only  to simplify the annulment process in the Philippines but, in fact, to make it cost-free.

For most Filipinos rejoicing over the Pope’s announcement was short-lived as legal experts in the Philippines were quick to point out that a Catholic church annulment will not legally dissolve the marriage and allow both parties therein to remarry in the eyes of the law. The constitutional doctrine of separation between the church and state was cited for the anomaly.

It was also pointed out, however, that the Pope’s declaration indicated a softening in the stance of the Catholic Church with respect to divorce in the Philippines, raising hopes that divorce will be allowed in the foreseeable future. Annulment lawyers in the Philippines noted that Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines which allowed for the declaration of nullity of a marriage based on psychological incapacity was a compromise with the then hard position of the Catholic church against divorce. It was argued that if the Pope is somehow giving way on the issue that the civil law can allow some relaxation as well. Recently, the Philippine House of Representatives passed on third reading HB 6779 entitled “AN ACT RECOGNIZING THE CIVIL EFFECT OF CHURCH ANNULMENT DECREE” which aims to have a church  or religious annulment automatically recognized by law and allows for its registration. This has been criticized as violating the constitutional principle of separation of church and state . Please CLICK HERE for our detailed discussion of the proposed legislation. 


It is not completely true to say that there is no divorce in the Philippines. The Muslim Personal Code, in fact, allows for divorce under Sharia law between two Muslims, or when the husband is a Muslim.

There is even opinion to the effect that Art. 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines effectively operates as a divorce statute because it completely dissolves the marital union  allowing the parties to remarry on the  ground of psychological incapacity to annul the marriage “which may manifest itself during the marriage”.



What complicates the  annulment process in the Philippines is the legal requirement of psychological incapacity as a ground to sever the marital ties.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has given psychological incapacity a very wide meaning. Since the law was based on Catholic Canon Law, annulment lawyers in the Philippines often cite the following illustrative instances of psychological incapacity, such as drug addiction, lesbianism, homosexuality, habitual intoxication, absence, failure to support, among others.

The Supreme Court has often required that the above instances are not exclusive and must be taken together in the determination of psychological incapacity, which has been defined generally as the failure of one spouse to comply with his or her  marital obligations . The 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.



When one considers the cost of obtaining an annulment in the Philippines,  the first thing to contend with is the attorney’s fees. Billing schemes vary widely among lawyers in the Philippines. Solo practitioners would often bill on a fixed basis while big law firms often charge on an hourly rate. Attorney’s fees taken by itself could range from 100 thousand Philippine pesos (app USD2,000) to 500 thosuand pesos (appUSD10,000). The average attorney’s fee as a component of the cost of an annulment  in the Philippines hovers between 150  to 300 thousand pesos (app3,000 to 6,000 usd) . Some firms even offer payment plans to complete the process of annulment .

The second cost component is the psychological evaluation . There is the report and the appearance fee of the psychologist or psychiatrist when he appears in court to testify. The fee could range between 20 thousand pesos to 40 thousand pesos. Some rates expressed online point to fees as high as 100 thousand pesos.

The median total cost of annulment in the Philippine is about 200  to 250 thousand pesos (appUSD 4 to 5 thousand).



The single most important factor in determining the time to complete the process of annulment in the Philippines is  congested court dockets. There are simply too many cases for very few judges to handle. Factor in prosecutors (who are required to handle hearings to determine if the parties are colluding with each other to obtain an annulment) who are themselves overly burdened with criminal cases, and you have the recipe for a process that can take about a year or two to complete.

 (updated on 09 February 2018)



This Post Has 41 Comments

    1. Ito ang madalas maling akala ng marami na kailangang ang partisipasyon ng asawa sa pag proseso ng annulment. Para sa kaalaman ng mga readers, note na hindi kailangan ng pirma, pagsangayon, or partisipasyon ng inyong asawa para makakuha kayo ng annulment. Hindi ito kailangan sa batas. Ito pa nga ay maaring maging dahilan ng dismissal ng annulment kung mapatunayan na ito ay “collusion” o conchabahan ng mag asawa sa pag file ng annulment.

  1. Hi Admin,
    I was married to a foreigner in the Philippines and was already separated for almost 7 years and no contact anymore. During the marriage we have a property.
    My question is: Can i file an annulment ? How that works as i do not have any contact with him anymore after the separation? And what happen to the property?
    Thank you so much

    1. Hello Irene…we will be sending you an email shortly in answer to your questions. Thank you for commenting here.

  2. Pano po dapat kung gawin..iniwanan po ako at anak ko ng asawa ko 2009 at nakabuntis sya at may dalawa na silang anak…hindi po nag susuporta ang asawa ko sa anak ko..kaya ako na ang tumaguyod sa anak ko hanggang ngayun..ano po ba dapat kong gawin? Kasi gusto ko na po ma annulled kasal namin.ano po dapat kung gawin..sana po mabigyan nyo ako ng kung magkano po magagastos.salamat po

  3. If my ex husband will agree in annulment does it makes the process of annulment faster? And the case about custody of my children were being evaluated in DSWD.. I also have a SPA Which states that the custody is mine

    1. Do not mention that your husband agrees to the annulment to anyone, it is specifically prohibited that there be collusion between the parties in an annulment proceeding. If the court finds out there is collusion, the petition for annulment will be dismissed.

      That being said, it might take between a year and a year and a half to finish the proceeding.

      It is best to consult a lawyer for your specific annulment proceeding.

  4. In my case my ex husband is already married before he get marry with me,so it will take a year to finish the case..? Why it takes long time specially I have the them marriage contract to proof,and is it same cost..?

  5. I was married there in the Philippines but it didnt last so we ‘ve got divorced here in Belgium .Now i am married again with kids already.Here,is there no problem but there i’m still married from my ex that’s why i want to ask what can i do to annulled my marriage there in Philippines?how much will it cost me and what requirements for processing annulment?pls help me?thanks

  6. We r currntly on a prcess of anulment. Prior to that weve alredy had a signed agrement 4 d suport of our dghter ( scul and alowances) But suddenly, she is askng me to pay the downpaymnt coz she wantd to have a house as usual 4 what she said is 4 the kid. And if i did not comply on what she asks me she’ll stop the anulment case. She ws using the anulment case to blakmail me. Is ther any legal actions that i can make to put this thing to an end and at least 2 protect my right. Ive nvr failed to comply wen it comes 2 childs welfare. Or shud i w8 til d case be finalized b4 doing legal action like filing 4 extrtion or blckmail. Wud it stil b valid 4 such claim.

  7. I have a question. I am married to a foreigner. We have been separated for more 10 years now. I lost contact with him. How can i file an annulment? How can he get an appearance if we dont have communication anymore? Please answer all this.

  8. Is there anything possible that i can file annulment if i have been separated for 2 years? My ex husband and i decided to be separate because of always fight and argued about everything specifically about money and our kids. He can’t handle the situation to take good care of my kids. He lacks of support and money. Thank you.

  9. Dear sirs,
    I am looking to get my marriage in the philippines annulled. My marriage brokedown in 2005 and i have not lived in the philippines since 2007.
    Can i get the marriage annulled competed without coming to the Philippines? If yes what is the cost for this?

  10. hi. i would like to ask po, what if a girl has children already to his new partner whose age of their eldest is 8 yrs old and their youngest is about 5 yrs old but then the boy has a partner and children as well, the age of the eldest is 3 yrs it still base of psychological grounds? and how can this case be annulled? or is this possible to be annulled and how?

  11. I am planning to file an annulment there in the Philippines.
    My question is, if approved. Do I still need to file a divorce here in Canada? Or is our Annulment is recognized In Canada.
    Please advice. THANK you.

    1. I think you don’t have to . You are not legally married in Canada. And there is no chance for your. ex husband to live and marry in Canada as well.

  12. separated n ko s asawa ko for halos 7years n.paano ano ang step natgagawin ko para mag file ng annulment. at magkano ang cost. at ano po b ung plan payment?

  13. Hi, Can I use annulment as strategy to get a US visa? From F3 to F2B.
    How fast the annulment be if both parties agree?
    Can you revoke annulment?

  14. Hi. Im married to a foreigner but unfortunately he disappear and leave me broke. I dont have contact with him about 4years ago.thanks admin

  15. may I ask if what will be the possible outcomes if I plan to loan a house and lot in PAG IBIG. my records there is single I didnt update may status since I was married year 2015 but me and my husband was not in good terms. can I proceed to the loan or file for annulment first?
    thank you admin.hope you can answer my inquiry.

  16. Hello,

    I am very worried with my lawyer. I have already paid him half of his required fee and ive already had psychological evaluation as well as my husband whom i have been filing an annulment case againts. The evaluation was finished last january 2017 but as of now, my lawyer hasnt filed the case yet. I have paid him last february 2016 pa. Pls help.

  17. i am also an ofw. i have previous marriage to my egyptian ex husband but we are separated for almost 6 years now and no contact at all. marriage was solemnized in Muslim way. for the record, i made myself a Muslin in religion but actually living my life as Christian catholic. and now i am seeking to get a divorce because i would like to marry my fiance. can anyone advice what is the best thing for me to do. Thanks

  18. How soon can I file for an annulment? We got separated January 2017, but the marital problems started 3 years ago.

  19. We separated about 15 years since we got civil married in 2000…is these can be a ground to apply for annulment?thanks

  20. Ako po ay taga Batangas, isa pong maliit na manggagawa. Nais ko po sana malaman kung paano maavail yong free annulment sa Pilipinas kasi po ako’y niloko at iniwan ng aking asawa at ngayon ay nasa akin ang aking anak. Gusto ko po sanang magpakasal na sa pinakauna kong naging nobya subalit ayaw ko po makuha sa akin aking anak ng ina nito at ng tomboy niyang kinakasama. Ano po ang dapat kong gawin?

  21. Hello,,,how can i start the first step of annulment.,if my spouse is still living with me,,,,do I have to leave the house so that I can file my annulment?

  22. How I can apply annulment ? I am ofw ? Is it possible like me to annul even I’m not in the Philippines ? Especially my ex husband I van say physiological incapacity and we ate separated since 2011? Is there a chance for me to annul ?

    1. Yes, you can start the process even while you are abroad. The Petition which will be drafted by a lawyer will be sent to you for notarization at the Philippine embassy nearest to you then sent back to the Philippines for filing with the court.

      1. Tanong kulang po Kong sakaling nasa I bang bansa young x husband ko pwede po ba ko mag filed ng annul. At may possibilities bang ma grant young annulment kapg baguhan lang magkahiwalay like 1 year or so.. Hindi ko po kasi
        Mahal yung x ko. Kahit sinubukan ko at Osaka young marriage namin ay lahat kagustuhan lang ng mama ko. Kaya bitter pagsasama naming.

      2. i want an annulment for my husband now…2012 pa po kmi mgksama and my dlawang anak n po kmi…kasal po sya nung2010 ..and 2011 nghwalay po cla kc ngkaanak ung ex wyf nya sa iba…paano po aq mkakapgfile ng annulment gntong isang maybahay lng po ako…txbk po asap…

        1. 2012 po kmi ngsama nd 5yrs na po kmi ngaun…ano po mga hakbang pwde kong gawin…kasal po cla sa huwes lang…need feedback po

      3. hello po good evening..paano po yun 8 yrs ng hiwalay friend ko sa asawa niya then gusto ng lalaki ma annulment kasal nila..paano po gagawin ng babae?..yung girl ayaw niya maannulment kasal nila ng ex niya po..ano po dpat gawin ng friend ko admin..

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