Q: What is annulment or nullity of marriage?
L&B Law Office: Annulment is when the marriage is valid from the very beginning but can be annulled on various grounds. This is the term commonly used by Filipino layman but it is not commonly used by Filipino lawyers because it is more difficult to prove and in most cases, the circumstance of the married person does not fall in this category. Art. 45, of the Family Code provides the grounds for Annulment of Marriage.
Declaration of Nullity on the other hand, states that the marriage is void or did not even legally exist in the first place. A Filipino or Filipina can marry again once there is a final judgment from the court that declares the marriage as null and void from the very beginning. The case that will be filed is what we call “petition to declare the marriage as null and void” and commonly called as “petition for nullity of marriage”. Hence, for the purposes of remarriage, a void marriage must be declared and there must be a Judicial Declaration of Absolute Nullity of a prior subsisting marriage before contracting another. Otherwise, you commit bigamy.
The marriage is null and void due to the absence of one or more of the essential or formal requisites of marriage as stated in Art. 2 and 3 of the Family Code.
But what is applicable in most cases is Art. 36 of the Family Code which states that “A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”
Most petitions for nullity of marriage are based on psychological incapacity of the other spouse.
Q: What is psychological incapacity?
L&B Law Office: This psychological incapacity is not necessarily insanity but it means that the other spouse has certain dysfunction, or psychological trait or make up which prevents the person to comply the obligations of marriage. It is so encompassing and maybe, general that gives lawyers and litigants a leeway on how to prove the case. But there are already various Supreme Cases that will guide the practicing lawyer and litigants of whether their case will fall in this category.
Q: Can I file a petition for nullity of marriage even while I am abroad?
L&B Law Office: Yes, you can file a petition for nullity of marriage even while you are abroad. What is required is for you to have the verification of your petition and your affidavit notarized before the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are residing or working.
(032) 254-8005; (032) 410-6157
Guzman Tañedo & Acain Law Office
316 Mile Long Building
Telephone: (632) 8941441
TeleFax: (632) 8124296
+63 917 500 28 78
L&B Law Office: Preparation of Annulment
Affidavit of the petitioner
Psychologist Q & A form
Annexes ( Marriage& Birth Certificate etc)
Verification of the petitioner w/ Cedula
Q: How long does it take for the proceedings to be completed?
L&B Law Office: Based on the cases we have handled in Cebu City, if it is an uncontested case, meaning the other party will not oppose your petition for nullity of marriage, it will take an average of a year or more for a decision to be rendered.
This is because the caseload of the courts, the availability of the prosecutor, judge and court personnel as well as the availability of the petitioner and the psychologist have to be considered.
The time frame may vary for other places like Manila or Davao.
The first will be before the city or provincial prosecutor during the investigation for collusion between the parties.
The second will be during the pre-trial stage. If you have executed a special power of attorney in favor of your lawyer authorizing him/her to appear in your behalf for the pre-trial, then you need not attend the pre-trial stage. This is usually allowed if the petitioner is working abroad.
The third time is when you will be presented before the court to give your testimony about your marriage and your relations with your spouse.Q: Can I file the petition for nullity of marriage without the consent of the other spouse?L&B Law Office:Yes, you do not need to get the consent or the signature of the other party. As a rule, parties are not allowed to come to an agreement about the filing of the petition. That is why the Office of the Solicitor General, through the prosecutors, conduct an investigation for collusion, in order to determine whether or not the parties have colluded with each other in filing the petition or are involved in fabricating evidence.
Q: How much is the amount of the whole Annulment process?
L&B Law Office: In Cebu, if not contested, the estimate is around P120,000 to P150,000.