Annulment is a broad term for two types of dissolving a marriage in the Philippines. A marriage in the Philippines can come to an end either by an “annulment” or by a “declaration of nullity of marriage”. Unfortunately, there is no divorce law in the Philippines except among Muslims or when the husband alone is a Muslim and the marriage was done under Muslim rites. Also, a divorce between a Filipino and a foreigner obtained outside the Philippines can be recognized by a Philippine court in a process know as judicial recognition of a foreign divorce. In an annulment, the marriage is valid in the beginning but there is a defect in how the consent to the marriage was obtained (fraud, lack of parental consent if the parties are between 18 and 21 years of age, one party is of unsound mind) or the other party would not have consented to the marriage had he or she known about something which was discovered after the marriage about the other spouse (impotence or failure to consummate the marriage, or an incurable sexually-transmitted disease). However, when the parties in the marriage continue to live together , any of the grounds for annulment cannot be used anymore to dissolve the marriage with the exception of the grounds of impotence and having a sexually transmitted disease. Children of a voidable marriage are legitimate. Generally, a petition for annulment can be filed within five years from discovery of the ground. In a declaration of nullity, on the other hand, the marriage is void from the very beginning either because any one of the parties is not capacitated to even consent to the marriage ( under 18 years of age), a requirement of the law was not followed (lack of a marriage license, lack of authority of the one who officiated the marriage), mistake in the identity of the other party, and psychological incapacity. A void marriage cannot be cured by living together no matter for how long. Children of a void marriage generally are illegitimate except if the ground used is psychological incapacity. Since the marriage is void from the very start, filing a petition for declaration of nullity does not prescribe and can be filed anytime.
What are the Grounds or Valid Reasons for Annulment in the Philippines?
The most common grounds are psychological incapacity, lack of a marriage license, bigamous marriage, and minority (below 18). The other grounds will require more evidence and may be more difficult to prove.
How Much is the Cost of Annulment in the Philippines?
As of 2022, the cost is somewhere between 300 thousand pesos to 600 thousand pesos depending on the lawyer hired to handle the annulment, the location or place of filing, and issues like custody, property, and support. Payment plans may also be available.
How Long Will it Take to Process an Annulment in the Philippines?
The entire time to process an annulment will take between 2 to 4 years if not contested and there are no additional issues like custody, property, or support. With the current procedure in place, estimates for six (6) months or less than one (1) year that are available online are very unrealistic.
What are the Requirements for Annulment in the Philippines?
The court will require proof of your marriage and the birth certificates of children, if any. Evidence of residence for the last 6 months will also be needed like the barangay certificate with a sketch map, a government identification, and other documents indicating the residence.
What are the Steps for the Annulment Process in the Philippines?
The following are the main steps in processing your annulment: 1) Preparation Determine the grounds for your annulment by doing your research on the annulment process and the lawyer you will hire. You can also start putting together the documents. 2) Hire a lawyer and do the psychological evaluation. 3) File the petition and participate in the collusion investigation and court hearings. 4) Get the Decision. 5) Annotate the Decision in your marriage certificate.