Marriage is a commitment that requires hard work, dedication, and love to last. Unfortunately, there are some that come to an end for various reasons.
Yap, Kung, Ching & Associates Law Office offers a range of legal services under family law. Before we go in-depth about how we can assist you, however, our team is also dedicated to helping you learn more about the grounds for annulment in the Philippines.
Annulment and Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
More than a sacred vow, marriage is a permanent union in the Philippines between a man and a woman. This contract is considered valid so long as both parties have the legal capacity to do so and their consent is freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.
Now, annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage are two important legal processes that can be used to dissolve a marriage. The former is the process by which the bond is declared void from the beginning, while the declaration of nullity of marriage proclaims the union invalid after it has been established.
Both processes require ample evidence to prove that the marriage was not valid in the eyes of the law. Since the parties need to collect ample proof to build a solid case, although people may want fast annulment processes in the Philippines, these procedures can take up to four years, depending on the court’s calendar.
What Are the Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines?
The grounds for annulment are stated in Article 45 of The Family Code of the Philippines. According to Executive Order No. 209, s. 1987, the following points can possibly make your marriage null if you decide to pursue this legal process:
Absence of Parental Consent
There are some marriages where either or both the bride and groom are 18 years old or over but below 21 during their wedding day. In these cases, the union must be solemnized with the consent of the parents, guardian, or substitute parental authority. This means they must make a personal appearance in the local civil registrar where the couple is applying for a marriage license. They may also execute an affidavit in the presence of two witnesses and attested before an official authorized by law to administer oaths (e.g., notary public).
However, it is important to note that you cannot file the petition if you have cohabitated with your spouse after reaching 21 years old. Aside from those involved in the actual marriage, the bride or groom’s parents may file for annulment any time before their child reaches this legal age.
Annulment processing in the Philippines can be initiated if it has been found that the consent of either party was obtained by fraud. This means that misrepresentation or deceit regarding an individual’s character, health, rank, fortune, or chastity allows an individual to file for such a petition. If it is found that both parties freely cohabitated with the other with full knowledge of the facts constituting as fraud, then the annulment may be denied.
Another factor that is grounds for annulment in the Philippines is if either party was of unsound mind during the contract signing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to have a mental or personality disorder that is permanent and incurable. In fact, the Supreme Court noted that psychological incapacity refers to a personal condition that prevents an individual from complying with fundamental marital obligations.
While the person to be diagnosed is ideally interviewed, it is now accepted practice in psychiatry to base an individual’s mental well-being on collateral information. This is usually practiced if the patient is unavailable, has been declared incapable, or refuses to cooperate.
However, keep in mind that the bride or groom cannot file for this petition anymore if they have cohabitated with their partner after coming to reason.
If either party is physically incapable of consummating the marriage due to an incurable medical condition, their partner would be eligible to file for annulment. Additionally, although the word “impotent” is often associated with men, it is also applicable to women. Keep in mind, however, that this term should not be interchanged with “sterility,” which is the inability to produce a live child.
Incurable Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Another ground for annulment in the Philippines is if either party was afflicted with a sexually transmissible disease (STD) during the time of marriage and did not divulge it to their partner. These infections can be passed from one person to another through vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
The law also states that if the individual’s condition is later found to be curable or not as severe, this may still constitute as fraud. As a result, either party would still be well within their rights to file for an annulment.
Lack of Consent
Lastly, if one’s consent was obtained through force, intimidation, or undue influence, they may file for an annulment in the Philippines. Similar to some of the other grounds for annulment in the Philippines, remember that you can only file for the petition referencing this criterion only within five years of your marriage. Once it is past this period, you are barred from doing so if you have freely cohabitated with your spouse.
Annulment allows individuals to void their marriage contract and have their union legally declared invalid. It is crucial for those who wish to move on from a failed unification and start anew. By understanding the intricacies of annulment, individuals can make informed decisions about their future and ensure they are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families.
At Yap, Kung, Ching & Associates Law Office, we can help you determine if your marriage has grounds for annulment. Get in touch with us today for more information.