Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part 3)

My fiancee and I secured a marriage license, but no marriage ceremony was ever celebrated. I learned, however, that my “wife” is already using my surname in her documents, including her passport. Am I considered as “married”?

No. A marriage license is valid only for 120 days, and any marriage contracted after that period is null and void. A woman cannot use his putative “husband’s” surname in the absence of a valid marriage.

After a year of marriage, my spouse and I agreed that our marriage is getting nowhere, and that we should go find someone else. We prepared an agreement that we both want an annulment. Would this be of any help in the annulment process?

No. Agreement between the spouses is not a ground for annulment/declaration of nullity. On the contrary, as noted in a previous article, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) or the public prosecutor, as the case may be, is under legal obligation to make sure that there’s no collusion between the parties. In fact, the grounds for annulment or the annulment itself is one of the issues EXPRESSLY removed by law from the matters that could be settled or compromised.

Could I file a petition for annulment if my wife doesn’t agree?

Yes. The petition could still be filed, and the case could still continue, even if the other spouse (husband or wife) does not agree to, or even oppose, the petition.

What if I can’t find my spouse?

Under the rules, summons must be served on the other spouse. This is generally done by serving the summons, together with a copy of the petition, on the other spouse. However, in case the other spouse could not be found, resort could be made to service of summons by publication.

My wife (or husband) sent me a letter saying that “wala na akong pag-ibig,” “ginamit lang kita” or “let’s separate.” Are these sufficient grounds for annulment?

No. The law is always in favor of the validity of the marriage. A signed contract by the spouses that they agree to an annulment, as discussed above, is against the law, moral and public policy. Therefore, it is not valid.

My spouse, who is no longer a Filipino citizen, said that he/she will not object to end our marriage. Can I seek an annulment here in the Philippines or, if that’s not possible, a divorce in the United States or anywhere abroad?

Article 26 is clear that only the former Filipino (or the foreigner spouse) may seek a divorce abroad. In other words, even if a spouse is no longer a Filipino, the other spouse who is still a Filipino can’t validly seek a divorce.

I am a Filipino citizen, married to a foreigner. I discovered that my foreigner-spouse secured a divorce abroad and is now married to someone else. What should I do to be able to remarry? Is that unfair to the Filipino?

This definitely seems unfair to the Filipino spouse, as the foreigner spouse (or the spouse who is no longer a Filipino) could remarry after securing a divorce. The Filipino spouse, on the other hand, must get hold of the divorce decree and have it recognized in Philippine courts. Dura lex, sed lex. The law may be harsh, but it is the law.

If my spouse is confined to a mental hospital for years now, can I use that as a ground for annulment?

Insanity is a ground for annulment, but it must be shown to be existent at the time of marriage (and, besides, it is subject to ratification by cohabitation). It could also be used to support the ground of psychological incapacity, but such must also be shown to be existent at the time of marriage and must appear to be incurable (among other requirements). Please note, however, that insanity is not synonymous with psychological incapacity.

How much will I spend for a petition for annulment or a petition for declaration of nullity? How long does it take?

These matters are discussed in a previous post. The amount of expenses depends on the grounds relied upon, as some grounds are relatively easier than the rest, like psychological incapacity. It also depends on the acceptance fee of the lawyer. The duration of the entire process also depends on a lot of things, e.g., the grounds relied upon, docket of the court, availability of the judge or the public prosecutor, postponements, etc. In other words, there’s really no fixed cost or duration.

I believe that my marriage is null and void because my spouse had a previous marriage. What should I do to remove my marriage file at the National Statistics Office (NSO)?

Nobody could simply “remove” any official record at the NSO, as this is a criminal offense. A petition for annulment or declaration of nullity (see distinction between a petition for annulment and a petition for declaration of nullity) must be filed in court and once a favorable decision is issued, the decree is registered with the pertinent civil registries and the NSO.

I’m separated from my wife for years now. I recently learned that she got pregnant by another man. Can this be used as a ground for annulment? Can I have custody over our child?

Infidelity is not a ground for annulment (please see the grounds for annulment in the previous post). At most, it could be a basis for legal separation or filing a case for adultery. As to custody, the Supreme Court already ruled that sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient to grant custody over a child. Please read the previous post on the primary criterion in granting custody.

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If you can’t find the answers here, please refer to Part I, Part II, Part IV, Part V, or other related posts. You can check the Related Posts at the bottom of each post. You can also use the Search function (also in the right sidebar).

184 thoughts on “Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part 3)

  1. tricia_c

    i would like to know if a filipino couple married in the philippines, later both became us citizens and got divorced, is their marriage still valid under philippine laws? can they remarry in the philippines?

    Reply
  2. mvpmsp

    Hello atty.
    I am an American and my wife is from the Philippines. We have one child together. We married in a church in the Philippines back in 1997. I would like to annul our marriage. We live in the Middle East right now. Can I file for a divorce in the US and it be recognized in the Philippines or can I also file in the Middle East and it be recognized there. I have no intentions of remarrying and I am not sure whether my wife does or not. If that is not acceptable for a divorce elsewhere outside the Philippines, does either of us have to come to the Philippines to file for an annulment. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Reply
  3. hir2help

    hi atty.
    MY friend got married to his ex-girlfriend because she said that she has cancer and had only a few years to live. despite of not being in love with her anymore, he consented after the woman agreed that their wedding will be just for “show” and the marriage will not be registered. they’re not living together since my friend told the girl that he did it only because of pity. after more than 3 months that the wedding had taken place, their marriage has not yet been registered. the girl is crazy in love with my friend and has begun threatening here that she will register their marriage. a lawyer said that no matter how delayed the marriage can still be registered. is that true? and what do u think can my friend do to ensure that the marriage is nullified?

    Reply
  4. ember447

    good day…before i ask my questions, let me first present the facts:
    – i was born in the philippines (in 1977, making me 31 now) but my mother [an american citizen] registered me in the US embassy as an american born abroad [officially, they call it a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the USA]; this established my american citizenship.
    – my father was always filipino
    – i grew up in the philippines, as a filipino [i still have a valid philippine passport]; however, i never renounced my US citizenship
    – i am now residing in California, but i never renounced my filipino citizenship
    – i was legally married in 2000 (in the philippines; i was 23 and the wife was 21) to a filipina; the certificate indicated my nationality as Filipino.

    now with my questions:
    – can i file for a divorce here in California to have my marriage in the philippines ended? according to the family code (art.26, para.2), as the alien spouse, i must initiate the divorce, to be able to have it eventually processed and validated thru the philippine courts. my wife, with whom ive been separated 5 years already, and i have agreed that this process will not be contested.

    – i’m not really clear with the intricacies and implications of the dual citizenship law; will it have an effect on the validity of the original certificate, as it was stated there that i was filipino (which is and was true) but at the same time, i was american all along?

    thanks for bearing with me thru this rather long post. i truly appreciate it.

    Reply
  5. shyeshye

    atty

    I got married at 21 in 1977. My exhusband was 20 then but wrote in the marriage licence he was 23 yr old to appear as legal age for marriage then.

    Can it be used as ground for nullity of marriage?

    We were separated since 1996. I filed for annulment but there is no news yet and I am here abroad.

    Thanks for any advise.

    Reply
  6. g69g

    my foreigner husband and i got married under the muslim rites in Qatar. i never had our marriage registered at our embassy in Qatar so there are no records of it at the NSO. is our marriage legal? am i considered single? my husband a nd i are separated for 3 years now and i have plans of marrying again in the future…please enlighten me about questions. thank you.

    Reply
  7. felinoespeso

    sir,
    i was 18 yo when i got married with consent from my parents. my wife and i lived for almost 2 years together. but we ended up parting ways because of our differences and fights. we got married 2001 and parted mid 2002. we have a daughter, i go to her mother to see her from time to time. but my wife i rarely see and we dont know whats going on with our lives. i communicate with her rarely, once or twice a year just to ask about our daughter. is there any ground so i can file an annulment? and how much would i need roughly? because i want to remarry when the time comes.
    thanks mon

    Reply
  8. lei

    good day.

    i have a cousin, she got married 6 years ago, they lived together but less than a year her husband left her, where in she’s about to give birth to their baby, her husband is denying the baby. After that he never ever seen his husband. And some people telling her that, he has already a family of his own, but of course they cannot marry legally coz my cousin is the legal wife. what is the legal way for us to file a case to his husband? or is there any case also that can be file to his other woman?

    thank you very much! we are hoping that u can help us.. to get through with this.

    Reply
  9. coffeeaddict2k8

    Good day!

    Im married for almost two years now and we decided to be separated due to some personal reasons. Since Im currently employed, i would like to find out if a memorandum of agreement between married couple can be made so that if anything happens to me or to my husband, our sole dependent for all the benefits/claims we have from our employment ex. sss, philhealth will be my daughter with the guidance of my parents who are still living. Because im very much worried that if time comes that something bad happens to me (knock on the wood)he can get all the claims and can be used when he remarried that my daughter might get nothing at all and to the fact that i know that his family are the greedy ones that they even ask where my salary goes which is none of their business anymore.

    Reply
  10. wayt

    im married 2 years ago and she’s in the US right now. we’ve been together for 3 short weeks after our marrige then she decided to fly to the States to live with her parents. after 8 months of our marriage,she decided to file an annulment in the states. is it possible to file in the foreign land even (she) we got married in the Philippines? it is in the legal process? need your answer..thanks

    Reply
  11. jonalyn

    my friend was married last year june 23, 2007.But after few months of living together, they had an arguement which led to separation.The guy found a new girl and he’s living with her. By the time of trying to reconcile, the guy consistenly lied and denied of his relationships (girlfriends).My friend wanted to move on with her life and hopes to find her man in the future but she can’t finance the annulment case. The guy also wanted the annulment. Could he file the annulnment case instead? And if he wins the case, are there any damages that my friend (wife) will pay to her husband?

    Reply
  12. annestar83

    hi atty,

    i am now married for 4 years and have one child. lately i found out that my husband is already married a year before we got married.. he said they didn’t lived together, yet they have one child. he also added that he just get married with that woman because he was just forced to marry because the woman told him that she’s pregnant. he got married at the age of 28 and the woman at 26, yet both of their parents don’t know it.. i really love my husband so much and so he is to me. what can we do to nullify his previous marriage? The woman also told us that he wants to get an annulment of their marriage too. what are the legal actions that we should do? thank you for your reply on this matter.

    Reply
  13. Al

    Salams from the Middle East Atty. Fred,

    Thank you very much for having a much needed forum like this. I hope you can shed some light on my queries.

    I am a Muslim Filipino working here in the Middle east. I want to marry a woman who was previously a Christian but converted to Islam. She was also previously married. There are two points I want to raise.

    First, as you know in Islam, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non Muslim man. Now that she is already a Muslim filipino what would happen to the status of her previous marriage?

    Second, she has been separated from her previous husband for 5 years even before she converted to Islam. He hasn’t been supporting her and her three children but he doesn’t agree for the annulment of their marriage. She has tried several times to convince him to annul the marriage but he refused it while at the same time he is already living and cohabiting with another woman (or women).

    I thank you in advance.

    Mr. Al

    Reply
  14. tikboy

    Hi Atty Fred,

    I entered into marriage in 2001 and have two kids, ages 7 and 4. In 2004, my wife was hospitalized due to abortion. She was then diagnosed with ectopic preganancy which during that time, I knew what she did to the supposed to be 3rd child but i kept secret about it to my family. That’s the start of misunderstanding and irreconcilable differences between the two of us and I was not happy anymore after her hospitalization. In 2006, I left my family and decided to be separated. Could you please advise me on how i should be going through this to settle the issue and make the legalities (that is if i can file a legal separation or annulment) (whichever is as i am currently here in abroad?

    Thank you very much.

    Reply

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