Grounds for Declaration of Nullity, Annulment, and Legal Separation

Grounds for Declaration of Nullity, Annulment, and Legal Separation Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices Image

Court Petitions Affecting Marriage

Have you heard about declaration of nullity of marriage? or annulment of marriage? Or legal separation?

You may have heard about these terms once or often times and you might be wondering what do they really mean in legal parlance.  Basically, these are three Petitions which a spouse can file in court as regards his or her marriage. These remedies are not one and the same, and you cannot pursue any or all of these remedies without satisfying the requisites as provided under the law.

You have to determine the ground why you are availing of the remedy and the ground shall be the basis for filing the proper petition.

Under the Family Code, the three remedies are as follows:

  1. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage;
  2. Annulment of Marriage; and
  3. Legal Separation.

What are the grounds which may be the basis for filing the proper petition?

Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

For Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, Art. 35 of Executive Order No. 209, or otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, enumerates the instances where marriages are void from the beginning, to wit:

1. Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians;

2. Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so;

3. Those solemnized without license;

4. Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not failing under Article 41;

5. Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other;

6. Those subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53;

7. Under Art. 36, psychological incapacity, 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. (As amended by Executive Order 227;

8. Incestuous Marriages under Article 37 of the Family Code, which include those between ascendants and descendants of any degree; and between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half-blood;

9. Marriages which are void for reasons of public policy under Article 38, which include:

  • Between collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree;
  • Between step-parents and step-children;
  • Between parents-in-law and children-in-law;
  • Between the adopting parent and the adopted child;
  • Between the surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child;
  • Between the surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter;
  • Between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter;
  • Between adopted children of the same adopter; and
  • Between parties where one, with the intention to marry the other, killed that other person’s spouse, or his or her own spouse.

Petition for Annulment of Marriage

For Annulment of Marriage, Art. 45 of the Family Code provides that a marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:

1. That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;

2. That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

3. That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

4. That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

5. That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or 6. That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Petition for Legal Separation

Under Art. 55 of the Family Code, a petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:

  1. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
  2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;
  3. Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;
  4. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;
  5. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
  6. Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;
  7. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;
  8. Sexual infidelity or perversion;
  9. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or
  10. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.

Effect on Status of Children

Knowing these grounds will help you determine the proper petition that you can file before the court in the Philippines, particularly the Family Court.

It must be noted that when the petition is granted in Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, the children born during the void marriage are considered illegitimate. However, in case of Annulment and Legal Separation, the children are still legitimate despite the grant of the petition.

Check now if your case falls on one of the grounds enumerated above.

About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices

If you need help regarding annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage, legal separation, or have any questions or concerns regarding family law, we can help you. Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website