Marriage & Annulment

Divorce Obtained Abroad- Effects

posted Oct 15, 2011, 9:04 PM by Admin ---   [ updated Oct 20, 2011, 8:56 AM ]

Generally, divorce obtained abroad shall not affect the validity of marraige. Such divorce decree, as far as the Philippine law is concern is void it being against public policy. As provided under Article 15 of the New Civil Code, Philippine laws on family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity shall govern Filipinos even though living abroad. That being the case, even if a Filipino is out of the country the laws of the Philippines would still apply to him, as regards his family rights and duties, status, conditions and legal capacity. Since Divorce involves status, family rights and duties but not, however, recognized under Philippine jurisdiction, such would be void and shall have no legal effect.

However, Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. In this case, it should be the FOREIGN SPOUSE who shall obtain the divorce abroad and NOT the FILIPINO SPOUSE, so that the divorce decree will be recognized under the Philippine law. After the foreign spouse secure the divorce decree from abroad with a provisions with it that such foreign spouse may re-marry, then the filipino spouse, would also be allowed to re-marry.

Steps in Annulment

posted Oct 11, 2011, 9:05 PM by Admin ---   [ updated Oct 15, 2011, 9:10 PM ]

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. 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, where 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. It is the manner of how the court can acquire jurisdiction over the person. 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. The court cannot render valid decision if the service of summon was validly been served.

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).

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.

Annulment vs. Legal Separation

posted Oct 11, 2011, 9:04 PM by Admin ---   [ updated Oct 15, 2011, 9:48 PM ]

The main difference between Annulment and Legal Separation can be determine from the grounds that will be use in filing each case and the effects after deciding the same.

 Grounds for AnnulmentGround for Legal Separation 

Once the court issued the Decree of Annulment based on any of the above-mentioned valid grounds, the parties may choose to remarry. Legal separation on the other hand, would only allow the spouses to live separately but does not sever the bonds of marriage, thus parties in legal separation, in any case, would not be allowed to remarry.

Grounds for Annulment

posted Oct 11, 2011, 9:00 PM by Admin ---   [ updated Oct 15, 2011, 10:14 PM ]

A marriage may be annulled for any of the following cause existing at the time of the marraige:
  • Lack of Parental Consent
When either of the parties is eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order. However, if the parties freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife after having reached the age of twenty-one (21) a Petition of Annulment can no longer be filed.

  •  Either Party was of Unsound Mind
Either party can file an Annulment of Marriage if one of the parties was of unsound mind at the time of their marriage, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife.

  • Consent Obtained by Fraud
Annulment can be filed if consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife. 

Fraud may include any of the following circumstances:
  • Non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude;
  • Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband;
  • Concealment of sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the time of the marriage; or
  • Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage.
No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage.

  • Consent Obtained by Force, Intimidation or Undue Influence
If at the time of the marriage consent by either party was obtained thru force, intimidation or undue influence,  Petition for Annulment  can be filed, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife.

  • Either Party was Physically Incapable of Consummating the Marriage (Impotence) 
At the time of marriage, either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable. 

  • Either Party was afflicted with a Sexually-Transmissible Disease (STD)
Either party was at the time of marriage afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be be serious and appears to be incurable.  

Take note that IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES and INFIDELITY are not grounds for annulment.

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