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How to file annulment in the Philippines

There are only two countries in the world that do not have laws on divorce, the Vatican and the Philippines.

And because of this, if in any case a married Filipino man or Filipino woman, who has a living spouse, who wishes to legally and formally end their marriage, it is necessary for them to undergo the tedious process of annulment. Married couples must make a petition for annulment.

Through extensive and thorough research, this article was created so that it can guide those of you who wish and are undeniably sure of filing for an annulment. It will take you step by step and as well as give you tips on how to file for an annulment in the Philippines in order to give you a preview of how everything goes once you do bring this up to lawyers or to court.

Firstly, Annulment is generally understood as the term used referring to all cases for annulment accounts. But, in legal terms, annulment cases are only acknowledged if the petition falls under the grounds for annulment found in the Family Code, Article 45.

 

Let us go through the step-by-step process of annulment here in the Philippines.

How to file for an annulment in the Philippines?

1. Check if there are any legal grounds.

Before hiring a lawyer or attorney, it necessary that you first analyze and check if there are any legal grounds that you can use in order to file for a Petition for Annulment of Marriage.

  • What are the grounds for annulment in the Philippines?

    • If either party was 18 years old but below 21 when the marriage happened, and without the approval of the parents or guardians of either parties.
      • Petition for this ground can only push through if it is within 5 years after the reaching the age of 21. But if the married couple has already cohabited after reaching 21 years of age, then this ground is no longer valid for petition.
      • Parent/s or guardians also have the right to file the petition before the parties reach 21 years of age.
    • If either party was in an unstable state of mind during the time of marriage itself.
      • Petition can be filed any time before death of either party.
      • But in the case that the married couple has cohabited in a stable state of mind, then this ground will cease to be valid.
    • Consent of either party was acquired through fraud.
      • Petition can be filed within 5 years after the uncovering the act of fraud, given that you did not cohabit with mutual consent after the discovery of the full facts of the fraud.
    • Consent of either party was acquired through the use of force ( intimidation or under influence ).
      • Petition can be filed within 5 years from the ceasing of intimidation, unless you have cohabited with mutual consent after the ceasing of intimidation.
    • If either party is sexually inadequate or physically unable to engage in sexual intercourse for a long duration of times and is deemed to be incurable.
      • Petition can be filed within 5 years after the marriage.
    • If either parties have been afflicted with a severe and incurable sexually-transmissible disease.
      • Petition can be filed within 5 years after
  • What kinds of fraud are compromised on the ground of annulment?
      • Non-disclosure of former conviction by final judgement of other party in a crime that concerns moral turpitude.
      • Secrecy of the wife regarding her pregnancy, at the time of marriage, of a man other than her husband.
      • Secrecy of sexually-transmissible disease, disregarding the nature, at the time of marriage.
      • Secrecy of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality, at the time of marriage.

2. Hire a lawyer

Once you have confirmed that your petition falls under the grounds of petition for annulment, you may now get a lawyer that is an expert on family law that is able to guide you through the process of petition of annulment of marriage.

3. Court procedure

The processes in this step are quite long but we will take you through it to help you get ready for it once you’re there.

Your lawyer will hear out your complaint and from here on your lawyer will.

3.1 file a Petition for Annulment of Marriage before the Office of the Executive Clerk of Court of the Regional Court.

The petition will be filed and the petitioner would then need to pay for the corresponding fees.

A new rule regarding the Annulment of Marriage states that the said petition be filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the city or province of either the one of the two parties resides for the duration of time of 6 months or more, before the filing of the petition.

3.2 The scheduling of the raffle of the petition for the assignment of the case to the family court of RTC by the office of Executive Clerk of Court

Monday, Tuesday, or Friday are the common days the raffling is held.

3.3 The assigned Clerk of Court of the RTC summons the respondent.

If the petition is valid, the court will summon the respondent. The respondent then has 15 days to respond.

In the case that the respondent spouse resides outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the court, summons will be sent to the Office of the Executive Sheriff of RTC where respondent is residing.

In the case that the respondent cannot be located or contacted,  by the consent of court, two publication in a newspaper for two weeks will be released in the stated places that the court orders.

3.4 Respondent sends back reply to the Petition

The respondent must be the one to answer, not a counsel, lawyer or attorney. If there is no answer filed, this does not declare it default.

In the case that the respondent replies with the admission of his/her psychological incapacity in the answer, a public prosecutor is sent by the court to investigate this.

The court will require the public prosecutor to research and investigate the status of the parties, if whether or not the status is collusion or agreement.

If there is collusion present between the parties, the petition is dismissed.

3.5 Pre-Trial Conference

When no collusion is present, a pre-trial is set. And this requires the parties to give pre-trial briefs 3 days before the actual pre-trial.

And if the petitioner does not submit his/her pre-trial brief, the case is dismissed. But if given a justifiable reason by the counsel, the case goes on.

Attendance is crucial and required in this process for both parties.

In the case that the respondent does not attend, the pre-trial will still push through and the court would then have to investigate the failure of appearance of the respondent.

3.6 End of Pre-Trial Conference

The court then issues an order that states all points and agreements discussed, and what needs to be done after. This also includes any orders that are required of them to be done.

3.7 Trial Proper

In cases that any of the two parties would feel as though having other people present during the trial proper would cause them the difficulty of expressing the truth due to embarrassment or fear; psychological harm; no benefit in the trial; endanger the privacy of either one or both parties; the court may then create an order to exclude people from entering the trial proper, unless that person has a direct interest in the case.

Even in the case of failure of appearance of the respondent, the trial will still push through. This is if the public prosecutor concludes that no collusion is present between the two parties. The public prosecutor will then need to intervene to avoid any tampering of evidences.

The whole trial will run smoother and faster if the respondent does not contest.

After, IF mandated by the court, the parties will have to submit respective memoranda to support their own claim. But if the memoranda is failed to be delivered, a decision will still be created.

3.8 Final Decision

If granted, decree of annulment is circulated. Unless in the case properties are involved, the court then will for these properties to be partitioned before circulating the decree.

In cases that the petitioner or respondents disagrees with the final decision, may it be granted or denied, the party can file Motion for Reconsideration within 15 days from the circulation of decision.

In the case that an appeal may want to be raised, filing the Notice of Appeal must be within 15 days of the denial for the motion for reconsideration. And the one appealing must also notify the affected parties.

If no party disagrees, the decision then becomes final after 15 days. The file for the judgement will be registered to the Civil Registry of the place of marriage and also in the Civil Registry of the Family Court which grants the petition of annulment.

Once registered, the decree of annulment will be finally circulated to the parties.

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