Legal Basis for a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
The Supreme Court has promulgated A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC (“Rules”) which provides for the Rules on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages, which took effect on March 15, 2003. This Rule shall govern petitions for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines.
An action for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages is initiated by filing a Petition for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages.
Who may file a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage?
A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife.
Where do you file the Petition?
The Petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the case of non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner.
When can you file the Petition?
The petition may be filed at any time. An action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage does not lapse or prescribe.
What are the grounds which may be the basis for filing the Petition?
For Declaration of Nullity of Void Marriage, Article 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 falling 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.
What does the Petition contain, and in what form?
The petition for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages shall allege the complete facts constituting the cause of action and state the names and ages of the common children of the parties, specify the regime governing their property relations, the properties involved, and creditors, if any.
If there is no adequate provision in a written agreement between the parties, the petitioner may apply for a provisional order for spousal support, custody and support of common children, visitation rights, administration of community or conjugal property, and other similar matters requiring urgent action.
The petition must contain the complete address of the parties, with the following attachments:
- Sworn certification of residency (with house location sketch) issued by the barangay;
- Sworn statement of counsel of record that he/she has personally verified [petitioner’s residency and that the petitioner had been residing thereat for at least 6 months prior to the filing of petition; and
- Any but not limited to the following supporting documents:
- Utility bills in the name of the petitioner for at least 6 months prior to the filing of petition;
- Government-issued ID or company ID bearing the photograph and address of the petitioner and issued at least 6 months prior to the filing of petition;
- Notarized lease contract, if available, and/or receipts for rental payments (bearing the address of the petitioner) for at least 6 months prior to the filing of petition;
- Transfer Certificate of Title, or Tax Declaration, or Deed of Sale and the like, in the name of the petitioner where he/she resides.
The petition must be verified and accompanied by a certification against forum shopping and filed in six copies.
Moreover, a petition under Article 36 of Family Code shall specially allege the complete facts showing the either or both parties were psychologically incapacitated from complying with the essential marital obligations of marriages at the time of the celebration of marriage even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its celebration.
The complete facts should allege the physical manifestations, if any, as are indicative of psychological incapacity at the time of the celebration of the marriage but expert opinion need not be alleged.
Can a party file a Motion to Dismiss?
No. Under the Rules, no motion to dismiss the petition shall be allowed except on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the parties. Any other ground that might warrant a dismissal of the case may be raised as an affirmative defense in an answer.
What happens next after filing the Petition?
The respondent shall be served with summons and he shall file his answer within fifteen (15) days from receipt of summons, or within thirty days from the last issue of publication in case of service of summons by publication.
What does the Public Prosecutor do if a Petition for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriage is filed?
The public prosecutor shall submit an investigation report to the court on whether the parties are in collusion. If there is collusion, the court shall dismiss the petition. If no collusion exists, the court shall set the case for pre-trial. It shall be the duty of the public prosecutor to appear for the State at the pre-trial.
What can you expect in a Decision of on the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
If the court renders a decision granting the petition, it shall declare therein that the Decree of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages shall be issued by the court only after compliance with Article 50 and 51 of the Family Code as implemented under the Rule on Liquidation, Partition and Distribution of Properties.
The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be served with copies of the decision personally or by registered mail.
The decision becomes final upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice to the parties. Entry of judgment shall be made if no motion for reconsideration or new trial, or appeal Is filed by any of the parties the public prosecutor, or the Solicitor General.
The entry of judgment shall be registered in the Civil Registry where the marriage was recorded and in the Civil Registry where the Family Court granting the petition for declaration of absolute nullity is located.
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 https://ndvlaw.com/.