In the Philippines, spouses have the duties to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support and these are embodied under the Family Code of the Philippines. What if these duties are no longer complied with?
Divorce is not an option in the Philippines, in the absence of a divorce law. One way of severing the marital bond is to file for annulment.
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC (“Rules”) provides for the Rules on Annulment of Voidable Marriages, which took effect on March 15, 2003. This Rule shall govern petitions for annulment of voidable marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines.
Who may file for annulment, when to file and on what grounds?
The following persons may file a petition for annulment of voidable marriage based on any of the grounds under article 45 of the Family Code and within the period herein indicated:
- The contracting party whose parent, or guardian, or person exercising substitute parental authority did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of twenty-one unless, after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabitated with the other as husband or wife; or the parent, guardian or person having legal charge of the contracting party, at any time before such party has reached the age of twenty-one;
- The sane spouse who had no knowledge of the other’s insanity; or by any relative, guardian, or person having legal charge of the insane, at any time before the death of either party; or by the insane spouse during the a lucid interval or after regaining sanity, provided that the petitioner, after coming to reason, has not freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
- The injured party whose consent was obtained by fraud, within five years after the discovery of the fraud, provided that said party, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, has not freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
- The injured party whose consent was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence, within five years from the time the force intimidation, or undue influence disappeared or ceased, provided that the force, intimidation, or undue influence having disappeared or ceased, said party has not thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
- The injured party where the other spouse is physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other and such incapability continues and appears to be incurable, within five years after the celebration of marriage; and
- The injured party where the other party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable, within five years after the celebration of marriage.
Where do you to file the Petition for Annulment?
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.
What does the Petition for Annulment contain, and in what form?
The petition for Annulment of Voidable 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 the 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.
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 is the duty of the Public Prosecutor in a Petition for Annulment of Voidable Marriages?
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.
Decision Granting the Petition for Annulment
If the court renders a decision granting the petition, it shall declare therein that the decree of annulment 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 annulment of marriage 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/.