Costs in seeking an annulment

There are a lot of questions posted in this Forum as to the cost or fee for an annulment procedure. The standard reply is: it depends. We could not possibly speak for the standard fees charged by all lawyers and the costs would normally go up if the case drags on as a result of contingencies (as when hearings are postponed for various reasons). It would also depend on the ground or grounds for annulment or declaration of nullity.

I have to write this post because there’s a report that the Supreme Court is considering an accreditation system for psychiatrists and psychologists who examine couples seeking to annul their marriages. The report and testimony of psychiatrists and psychologists are needed should a petitioner seek a declaration of nullity based on Article 36 of the Family Code (Psychological Incapacity).

The Inquirer news report reads in part:

The move, according to lawyer Nimfa Cuesta-Vilches, assistant court administrator, is meant to regulate the fees of doctors and medical experts following complaints from litigants that their services have become costly.

“Before, the fee was around P10,000 to P15,000 per case. Now, the fees ranged from P20,000 to more than P30,000,” she said.


“Psychiatrists appeared to have agreed to charge the uniform rate of P30,000 that many clients could not afford,” a lawyer said.

An accreditation system would prevent them from turning their services into a business that would be detrimental to the cause of poor litigants.

I presume that the need for accreditation will be the subject of a study by the Supreme Court should it pursue this move. In the meantime, let’s hear what you have to say about this move.

Related posts:

Divorce and Annulment in the Philippines
Steps and Procedure in Annulment and Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
Annulment, Divorce and Legal Separation in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part I and Part II)

49 thoughts on “Costs in seeking an annulment

  1. Atty. Fred Post author


    As we know in law, there may be exceptions to a rule. Let’s take this opportunity to further discuss this issue.

    There is indeed a pronouncement by the Supreme Court to the effect that there’s no requirement that the person sought to be declared psychologically incapacitated should be personally examined by the physician or psychologist. In Republic vs. Tanyag-San Jose (February 2007), the SC stated:

    There is of course no requirement that the person sought to be declared psychologically incapacitated should be personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non to arrive at such declaration. If it can be proven by independent means that one is psychologically incapacitated, there is no reason why the same should not be credited.

    It should be noted, however, that a psychologist was presented in Tanyag-San Jose, but his testimony was deemed hearsay. THe psychological Report, on the other hand, does not show that the alleged disorder was already present at the inception of the marriage or that it is incurable or the incapacitating nature of the alleged disorder. The root cause wasn’t also shown.

    The “totality of evidence” doctrine is mentioned in certain cases, like Republic vs. Quintero-Hamano (2004) and Antonio vs. Reyes (2006). There is a qualification to the Antonio vs. Reyes case, as discussed in Herczog vs. Rosacay-Herczog (June 2007). The SC stated:

    Petitioner does rely extensively, on several points, on the more recent ruling in Antonio v. Reyes, a decision which admittedly provided a fresh perspective in the appreciation of petition for annulment of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code. The Court acknowledges the continuing vitality of that precedent and the pronouncements therein, yet it must be stressed that Antonio explicitly stated that “t]here is no cause to disavow Molina at present.” Indeed, it would be error to propose that Antonio overturned or modified Molina and its guidelines. That point is especially material as we resolve this petition.

    Particularly critical is petitioner’s allegation that in Antonio, the Court allowed the annulment of marriage despite the fact that no evidence was presented therein that established the incurability of the psychological incapacity suffered by the respondent therein, and notwithstanding the Molina guidelines as well.

    There is, however, a critical difference in that respect between Antonio and the case at bar. The trial in Antonio was concluded in 1995, or two years before the promulgation of Molina. Thus, Court in Antonio recognized that since it was Molina which first definitively established the necessity of proving the incurability of the psychological incapacity before annulment of marriage can obtain, the parties therein could not “have impelling cause to present evidence to that effect at the time this case was tried by the RTC.”

    In contrast, the subject RTC decision was promulgated in 1999, or two years after Molina was handed own. In fact, the RTC decision expressly referred to Molina and the guidelines it prescribed, even citing the critical rule that such psychological incapacity “is shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable.” Clearly, all the opportunity was present for petitioner to have adduced medical or clinical evidence that would establish the permanence or incurability of private respondent’s alleged psychological incapacity. Petitioner does point out that the psychiatrist and psychologist he presented as witnesses testified before the RTC in 1995, “well before the general guidelines in the Molina case came into existence in 1997.” Yet, that circumstance could not detract from the fact that the petitioner could have offered supplemental or additional evidence after Molina was promulgated in 1997, two years before the RTC rendered its decision. In fact, petitioner submitted his Memorandum before the RTC only in June of 1998, and certainly there was sufficient time for the offer of such pertinent evidence establishing psychological incapacity that would conform to the Molina guidelines.

    So, let the discussion begin.

  2. Joselito Basilio

    Atty Fred,

    You mentioned that “the report and testimony of psychiatrists and psychologists are needed should a petitioner seek a declaration of nullity based on Article 36 of the Family Code”.

    Is this requirement absosulte? When I was in first year I came across a SC decision saying that an examination by a physician or a phychologist is not needed where psychological incapacity is proved by the totality of evidence presented.In other words, the requirement of medical examination is not a conditio sine qua non for the declaration of nullity.

  3. Joselito Basilio

    There are a number of petitions for declaration of nullity granted by RTC in our province.

    In one case, a friend of mine showed me a RTC decision granting annulment of his marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity which, when I read, was not compliant to the guidelines of the SC in Molina case. The plaintiff’s averment was her husband’s religion was different from hers and the typical “leaving-the-house” attitude of her husband (same as Amy Perez allegation in Ferraris case). The State did not appeal.

    By comparison, I have not seen an annulment case granted by a lower court which is affirmed by the Supreme Court, save perhaps in the case of Tsoi vs. CA.

    Based on this premise, is it safe to conclude that one can easily get a marital annulment if and when the case is not elevated to the Supreme Court by the State?

  4. Atty. Fred Post author

    Lito, it’s true that similar situations may get entirely different results, in different jurisdictions. I believe this is one of the focus of the “house cleaning” being implemented by Chief Justice Puno.

  5. lasf

    I’m not sure if im on the right thread but I just want to be clarified on the filing fees of annulment which includes properties. My husband and I both filed for annulment. I, having to file first in the QCtrial court 6 days earlier than when he filed in the Pasig Trial Court. He’s lawyer made him pay a huge amount of filing fee declaring the present value of our properties. According to my lawyer, filing fees for properties are only based on the assessed value and not the present value. Now both our lawyers are asking for motion to dismiss. His lawyer is claiming that we undervalued our properties. While my lawyer is insisting on the fact that we filed ahead of them. Until now our annulment has not moved on because we are stuck in whether his petition will be used in Pasig or mine in QC. Can you please enlighten me on this matter?

  6. Atty. Fred Post author

    lasf, there is a legal concept known as litis pendentia, which is a ground to dismiss a case based on the pendency of a prior case. I can’t expound on this matter because this is already in court and, besides, your lawyers know this concept. Good luck and God bless.

  7. unsure...

    Good day.I am not sure too if i’m also in the right thread but this is for my friends dilemma. My Filipino friend left Philippines 1995 unmarried .She went abroad, got married and she filed for a divorced to a chinese man in Hongkong. Nobody send a copy of marriage certificate or license to Philipinnes.She get her CENOMAR recently and shows that she has no previous marriage. The question is, under Philippine Law,will there be a problem if she get married again in Philippines? Does she need to file annulment to a marriage that was unknown to Philippines?

  8. halfluke

    Good day.
    I’m an Italian guy and I was in the Philippines in the last 6 months.
    I’m not too concerned about the cost, but I would like to find a very reliable lawyer for my girlfriend, for her to file an annulment.
    She is from Leyte but she works in Cebu City now.
    Does she have to file in the province where she is resident or can she file in Cebu?
    In any case, I know you are based in Quezon City, but could you please refer her/us to a reliable colleague in the Visayas area?
    It might not be a very appropriate question, but for us the outcome is more important than the money.
    Please feel free to reply to if you wish.

    Best regards,

  9. arbee

    Hi atty,

    about how much is the cost of filing for an annullment esp. if it is only a secret marriage, it was unconsumated and never live together as husband and wife?

    about how many days/months would the result be expected to the case I mentioned above?

    Thank you so much for your help..

  10. rhodericktagaruma

    Hi atty,

    Can the 1st Asst. City Prosecutor sign and file an Information? The Information was signed as OIC City Prosecutor because the City Prosecutor was absent on that day, allegedly.

    Will the 1st Asst. City Prosecutor immediately become an OIC upon absence for one day of the City Prosecutor to empower him to sign and file an Information.

    Are there guidelines by the DOJ on this situation (absence of City Prosecutor and filing of criminal information).

    Thank you and more power.

  11. curiousmind

    Hi Atty. Fred,

    My friend is undergoing an annulment process. What happens if the respondent received the summon but did not made any response to it? What will happen to the annulment process?Will it expedite the process? or the case will be dismissed? pls help.Thanks!

  12. honboc

    hi atty…your site was really helpful..may gusto lang po akong itanong, my bf is married and he filed an annulment, but her wife doesn’t want to cooperate, what happen to the annulment, does the case will be dismissed?pls help..tnx

  13. crazy_a

    hi atty… my bf is married to a rocky relationship for several years now. and he like to seek annulment for it in a hope we could marry after. is their a chance for annulment? tnx


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