Steps and Procedure in Annulment and Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

You thought you’ve found your perfect match. You thought your marriage is bound to last forever, or, at the very least, until the last breath. You’ve thought wrong, you say, and you now think of seeking legal remedy to end your marriage. Here are “steps” or suggestions in deciding whether to step out of the ring or not:

1. Make sure it is the last resort. As stated in a previous post, love and marriage are supposed to be forever. Try all options, like counseling, to make it work. If there’s no progress, weigh your options. On the other side of the scale is the reality that getting into another relationship or marriage, while the first marital bond is still existing, is a sure way of courting criminal liability (adultery, concubinage, bigamy). A subsequent petition for declaration of nullity/annulment of marriage is not a defense in the criminal action.

2. Realize that it will cost you. Getting out of marriage is sometimes more expensive than getting into one. Expenses include the fees for your lawyer or counsel, filing fees, professional fees for the psychiatrist or psychologist (if the ground is psychological incapacity), etc.

3. Discuss the custody of children, visitation rights, property arrangements and support. Custody over children and separation of properties in annulment are among the most bitter issues in annulment. As much as possible, discuss and agree on these matters beforehand.

4. Make sure to invoke a valid ground. Marriage is an inviolable social institution and any doubt is resolved in its favor. Hence, make sure there’s sufficient basis to go through the procedure discussed below.

The procedure provided under the Rules on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages is discussed below. Please note that a petition for “annulment” refers to voidable marriages, which are valid until annulled by the court, while a petition for “declaration of nullity” refers to marriages that are considered void or inexistent from the very beginning. There are other differences (e.g., legitimate status of children, property relations between the spouses, prescription and ratification), but let’s leave those for another day. For convenience, we shall refer to both petitions as “annulment”.

1. Preparation and filing of the petition. The petition may be filed, at the option of the spouse who filed it (called the “petitioner”), in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the other spouse (called the “respondent”) resides for the last 6 months prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent, 7where he/she may be found in the Philippines. An Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) may file the petition even while abroad. Incidentally, upon filing of the petition or anytime thereafter, the court may issue provisional and protective orders.

2. Service of Summons. In simplest terms, this is giving notice to the respondent. Where the respondent cannot be located at the given address or the whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry, service of summons may be done by publication. This is crucial because the court cannot validly proceed without service of summons.

3. Answer. The respondent must answer within 15 days from service of summons (or within 30 days from the last issue of publication in case of service of summons by publication). Unlike in civil cases, the respondent in annulment proceedings is not declared in default if no answer is filed, but the public prosecutor shall be ordered to investigate whether collusion exists between the parties.

4. Investigation report of public prosecutor. The public prosecutor prepares a report on whether there is collusion between the parties. If the court is convinced that collusion exists, it shall dismiss the petition; otherwise, the court shall set the case for pre-trial conference. The Rules dispensed with the requirement, as provided in Molina, that the Solicitor General issue a certification stating his reasons for his agreement or opposition to the petition.

5. Pre-trial conference. During the mandatory pre-trial conference, the court and the parties deal with certain matters, such as stipulation of facts, for the purpose of expediting the proceedings. The petition may be dismissed if the petitioner fails to appear during pre-trial. At this stage, the court may also refer the issues to a mediator who shall assist the parties in reaching an agreement on matters not prohibited by law (no compromise allowed in civil status of persons, validity of marriage or of legal separation, grounds for legal separation, jurisdiction of courts, and future support and legitime). The court may also require a social worker to conduct a case study and submit a report at least 3 days before the pre-trial conference, or at any stage of the case whenever necessary.

6. Trial. This is the stage where the ground for annulment is proved and opposed. The court may order the exclusion from the courtroom of all persons, including members of the press, who do not have a direct interest in the case.

7. Decision. After the trial proper, the court renders its decision, which is different from the Decree of annulment. A decision, whether granting or dismissing the petition, becomes final upon the expiration of 15 days from notice to the parties.

8. Appeal. The aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may appeal from the decision within 15 days from notice of denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial.

9. Liquidation, partition and distribution, custody, support of common children and delivery of their presumptive legitimes. These are done upon entry of the judgment granting the petition.

10. Issuance of Decree of annulment. The court issues the Decree after: (i) registration of the entry of judgment granting the annulment in the Civil Registry where the marriage was celebrated and in the Civil Registry of the place where the court is located; (ii) registration of the approved partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses in the proper Register of Deeds where the real properties are located; and (iii) delivery of the children’s presumptive legitimes in cash, property, or sound securities.

11. Registration of the Decree. The Decree must be registered in the Civil Registry where the marriage was registered, the Civil Registry of the place where the court is situated, and in the National Census and Statistics Office.

252 thoughts on “Steps and Procedure in Annulment and Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

  1. donna

    Hello po atty, ako po ay nagpakasal sa taong kasal na pala sa una,,, pero yung kasal po namin ay naka registered sa NSO. Ngayon po ay hiwalay napo kami, plano ko po sana mag file ng nullity of marriage. Pero sabi po ng atty na pinuntahan ko anullment daw po ang i file ko… tama po bang anullment ang i file ko o may ibang process sakaso ko. Salamat po ng marami

  2. Joan


    I am a Filipina living here in the US. I just recently married my boyfriend here in the US and we are planning on getting married there in the Philippines next year or 2018. However, upon trying to register my marriage here in the US with the Philippine embassy, I was required to get a CENOMAR from NSO. I received my CENOMAR but it says there that I am married. I have never gotten married my entire life (except for my now husband here in the US) and was shocked to see my ex-boyfriends name listed as my spouse in the documents. How can I remedy this? Is there a way to void this? I don’t have any contact with my ex anymore and is not planning on looking or contacting him. What are the ways in how I can declare this marriage void? Also, what documents do I need to provide as proof? All my legal documents says I am single. I never cohabitated with my ex and have no idea how this record came up as I have never signed any marriage document? How long will correcting this record take? Thank you.

  3. Arcanine

    Hi Atty.,

    I would like to thank you for having this forum and I have read some articles already which are definitely enlightening.

    Anyway, I have some questions which I hope you won’t mind answering as I already tried a “search” but could not find the related articles…

    I was married (church) in 1996, had a son but separated from my 1st wife in 1998.

    My ex-wife was able to secure a “church annulment” but was not able to “finalize everything” due to lack of funds.

    I re-married (civil) in 2003 and currently have kids with my 2nd wife.

    My ex-wife and I decided and about to start the process to finalize our annulment now that we have the funds. My questions are:

    1. What happens to my 2nd marriage once my annulment is granted/finalized? I know it is not valid anyway because I know my annulment wasn’t finalized then but is there any repercussion if we just get married (legally) again after my annulment is finalized? Do we just proceed normally as per process like 2 people getting married for the first time or will the process be different?

    2. What happens to my son with my ex-wife once the annulment is finalized? How does this affect him? He is already 22 years old now and I am still financially supporting him as he does not have a job.

    3. What happens to my kids with my 2nd wife? How does this affect them once my annulment is finalized? And if ever, is there anything I have to do?

    4. My ex-wife and I have not bought any property so technically speaking, we do not have any “conjugal properties” to speak of. BUT, my 2nd wife and I have bought some properties for ourselves, under our names of course. How does this affect these properties? Are these still considered conjugal? Is there anything I should do once my annulment is finalized?

    Many thanks in advanced for your advise.


  4. nice

    Hello po Atty.
    Tungkol po ito sa bestfriend ko na nag pakasal siya sa lalaking ang alam niya po ay Single pero my una po palang asawa at my anak po sila isang batang lalaki. Nalaman nalang ng bestfriend ko ng kumuha siya ng cenomar at my una nga siyang asawa napakasalan. Yung kasal po ng bestfriend ko ay sa huwis lang po sa probinsya namin. Tapos ngayun my dalawa po siyang anak na lalaki. At hiwalay narin po sila noong nalaman niya na my unang asawa ang kanyang Husband. Ang problima po niya Atty. ay paano niya mapawalang bisa yung kasal po nila. Gusto po niyang malaman kung anong kailangan niya na mga papelis para ma umpisahan po niya. Maraming salamat po.

  5. Richie

    Please me on how and where can I file n annulment while overseas. Can I approach the Philippine Embassy here in Australia to file an annulment? If so, please advise me on where I can obtain an application form to file.

  6. Beth

    Hi po atty, gud eve, gusto ko lng po itanong kong paano e process ang annulment ko po, overseas po aq at magkano po ang magastos q? Salamat po

  7. Gerard

    hi good day,tanong ko lg po..san po pwedengmagfile ng annulment?
    7 years na pong hiwalay ang brother q sa xwife nya..nsa ibang bansa yong girl at nag asawa na at my isang anak..ano po magandang ikaso sa knya para mas madaling maannul yong ksal nila..
    thank u for ur immediate response…

  8. Andrew

    tanung ko lng po kung ano amg meron sa annulment pra ito ay sobrang mahal??? anu po b ang special dto??? we are living in a crook world and pati b nmn ang nghihirap maslalo png pinahihirapan,,,

  9. Melchor

    good evening po
    tanong ko lng po pwede po ba aqng mag file
    Ng annulment lban s asawa ko na nsa pinas kc bnblockmail nya aq n pg d ko binigay ang sustentong gusto nya pauuwiin nya aq khit alm nmn nya n kulang ang sinasahod q d2 at ilang buwan nlng aq d2 57k p ang utang ko d2
    At un ay dhil s kanya din sobra nya n kc aqng pnphirpan kya gusto ko ng mkpg hiwalay s kNya..gusto ko lng po mlaman kubg my karaptan bq kc bnblockmail nya aq at sobrng pnapahirapan ..nsa abroad aq n ndisgrasya n din ng dhil s gngwa nya sakin..ano po kya ang pwede qng gawin pra mkawala s pgpapahirap ng asawa q kasal kc kmi..sna ay mabigyn nyo po aq ng advice salmat po

  10. Maritess

    I would like to seek an advise on how to file my marriage annulment, I’m currently living here in Canada, way back 2001, I went here as caregiver, and having my authenticated papers of legal separation statement that recognized by the Canadian Government and considered my status as single mother on 2006, I were able to petition my 3 children, aged 11, 17 & 20, in the same approved by Canada. When my children travel my ex-husband sign the consent that he allows my children to join me here, the reason why I filed a legal separation statement because my ex-husband was with another woman and up this year they live together and I also heard that they got a civil marriage, now I want to file an annulment so that I can freely back as single status, what is the best ground I can file to void my marriage, and its been 16 years now that I was not in contact with him. I do have my full legal custody of my youngest child filed in the court of Canada when she was still underage, I did serve the summons to him via registered mail, and approved by Canadian Court way back 2010. Can you please help me if I can start filling my annulment while here in Canada.

  11. Mariciel

    Pano po BA mg file Ng annulment ?
    Puwedi po BA dto mg apply Sa embassy?
    dto po ako Sa Russia.
    My husband my kinakasama na pong iba matagal na
    Skin ok n po un KC wala n love Sa Aming mg asawa.
    Ako LNG po sumusuporta Sa 2 daughters Ko.
    Hindi nman po ako puweding umuwi KC need work work Para Sa pg aaral Ng collage Ko.

  12. alian

    I am Indian and want to get married in Philippine. Please inform me what are requirements for Indian to get married in Philippine? Thanks

  13. Nerissa M.

    Hello sir,
    What if the couple has been estranged for more than ten years and the womas was the one who cohabitated with two more partners and had two kids with different partners, what are the chances that if the husband files for the nullity of marriage he will be grabte the annulment?

  14. ENIAL

    Dear Attorney,

    Gusto ko po mag file ng annulment, Hiwalay na po kami ng asawa ko since 2008 , our marriage was on 2005. May isang anak po kami. Since nung nag hiwalay po kami, di na po kami nag uusap at nagkikita. Currently, may dalawang anak na po sya sa ibang babae. Since po nung nagsasama kami minsan lang po sya mag bigay ng budget para sa amin at ako lahat ang gumagawa ng work sa bahay at the same time nag tratrabaho po ako sa labas. Hindi sya nag aalaga ng anak namin before, it was my mother who will come to our house para kunin at alagaan ang anak nami kasi di nya kayang alagaan at di sya nag eefort na alagaan ito. Palagi syang umuwi ng bahay ng late na at if ever may mga ayaw kami, di sya umuuwi ng house namin. Wala syang matino na trabaho at kung may pera man sya ginagamit nya ito para sa mga outing at camping nila ng barkada nya. One time, may nag tell sa akin (sister in law nya) na mayhinahatid sya na babae na wowork sa call center ng madaling araw. When I confronted him sabi nya sa nagseselos daw ako ng walang prove at walang dahilan. Nung nag start palang yung marriage namin, gusto ko mag karoon ng dagdag na anak pero ayaw nya, kaya napilitan ako umunum ng gamot everytime na ginagamit nya ako. Pero nakikipag sex sya akin kung gusto nya lang kahit ayaw ko dahil pagod ako sa work. Kahit na may sakit ako at naka admit sa hospital na gawa pa rin nya na makipag sex sa akin. Kahit nung nagbubuntis ako at after manganak paligi parin syang nakikipag sex sa akin kahit na ayaw ko, WALA AKO MAGAWA KASI NGA ASAWA KO SYA. I feel degraded, na wala na ang pag kababae ko. Wala syang respeto sa akin bilang TAO at ASAWA nya.
    Nung mag BF-GF pa kami,, may na buntis na sya na kasamahan nya sa work dati pero nagawa ko syang patawarin kc nga sya ang naka una sa akin at mahal ko sya. Pero nag iba sya nung mag asawa na kami, Tamad sya, umuwi lang sya ng bahay kung matutulog na sya, Di ako pwede kami celebrate sa family ko kc dahil daw sa relihiyon nila. Ni hindi sya maka bantay sa isang anak namin. As In Irrresponsable syang tao.
    Simula nung naghiwalay kami , wala syang binigay na supporta sa anak namin.
    Ang isa pa sa ikinagagalit ko ngayon, yung isang anak nya, ginamit pa ang apelyedo nya dun sa isang bata without my permission.
    At yung anak ko ayaw nya makipag kita sa tatay nya kc daw may iba na daw na anak ang tatay nya. Masakit sa aking kaluuban na HE hurt na feelings of our SON. Nakakahiya sya.

    Attorney, Please help me ano po process ng annulment para matrabaho ko sya sa lalong madaling panahon.

    Hope to hear from you after reading this email of mine.


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