For some, marriage just doesn’t work. There are several reasons why marriage falls apart—either one of the parties committed grave misconduct, and the other is subject to abuse, a third party may be involved, or the couples simply fall out of love.
As we all may know, the Philippines’ family code rules prohibit divorce, unlike the case with western countries. The Philippines is only one of two countries that forbids divorce, with 80% of its population being devoutly Roman Catholic.
But let’s face it: separation of marriage is inevitable despite the marriage sacrament’s religious binds. Then how do Filipinos dissolve the marriage in the Philippines?
Let’s find out more details on annulment from a family law attorney’s perspective in the Philippines.
Divorce Inside and Outside of the Philippines
Article 15 of the Current Civil Code forbids Filipinos from marrying in their home country from divorcing, regardless of whether they are residing in the Philippines or overseas.
This law has a few variations. For instance, if one partner is from another country or the native Filipino spouse has been nationalized in a foreign country, a couple might get divorced. In this situation, a non-national partner, or a Filipino nationalized in a foreign country, is forced to apply for divorce, not in the Philippines, but their home country.
Annulment in the Philippines
To facilitate legal divorce, the Filipino Congress has made strides. Senate Bill No. 2134, otherwise called the Divorce Act of 2018, was presented in the Filipino Senate in January 2018. In this bill, under certain conditions, an absolute divorce is permissible, such as:
- The occurrence of physical exploitation
- “The “grossly abusive conduct” exhibition
- Emotional incapacity
- Matrimonial rape
- Despite attempts at mediation, irreconcilable gaps
- Separation for five years at least
In March 2018, following more than a decade of prior legislative efforts to do so, the Filipino House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 7303, which aims to legalize absolute divorce. This bill, with no further action, was submitted to the Senate.
Separation under some conditions may extend
Couples may ask a court for civil separation under Filipino law, but only under particular conditions. In the Philippines, the termination of marital commitments, including any existing relationships between the pair over land, is a civil separation.
However, the pair must create grounds for the court to deny their appeal to file for a civil separation. These causes, or reasons, include, among others, frequent physical violence, neglect, drug use, or incarceration for more than six years. When the judge issues a civil separation, the pair cannot remarry, while the marriage legal partnership persists.
Annulment Is the Best Option
As of now, the only way for Filipinos to end their relationships is an annulment. Owing to deception, impotence, mistaken identity, or being under the lawful age to marry, an annulment invalidates a contract.
While annulments are allowed by Filipino law, the laws are lengthy, expensive, and repetitive. If a judge grants an annulment, all parties can go on as if they were never married, leaving each party free to remarry. In essence, the marriage never occurred under an annulment. This is why you’ll need a family law attorney in the Philippines to guide you through the process.
In a divorce, voided marriage happens, unlike in an annulment wherein, the contract has been invalid from the outset. For instance, whether, while married, one partner was under 18 years of age, the marriage is invalid by statute. Additionally, if an unlicensed person did the marriage ceremony, then the marriage is invalid.
Dissolving a marriage in the Philippines legally is not a simple task. Although the divorce-supporting movement has grown, it could take years for the Philippines to approve absolute divorces. If you want to sever a marital relationship in the Philippines, consider finding a qualified lawyer who knows the local rules.
It should be stressed that the decision relating to the annulment of the marriage, the separation and allocation of the partners’ property, and the transmission of the presumptive validity of the child shall be reported in the relevant civil register and property registry.
Do you have more questions about the annulment of anything relating to family law in the Philippines? YKC Law in Makati offers top-tier legal consultation for Filipinos who need guidance through the ins and outs of the law code in the country.
For more information on annulment, contact your family law attorney in the Philippines!