It is widely believed that there is no divorce law in the Philippines. It is also erroneously assumed necessary that a previously married Filipino woman or man, whose spouse is still alive, must get a legal civil annulment in order to marry again. This is not strictly correct and there are exceptions which we will briefly describe at the end of this article.
Our divorce solution has been the answer to many Filipina’s problems and some of them are now living in foreign countries with their caring husbands.
But first we will initially present an outline of the procedure to apply to the Court for an Annulment. The key features are described.
The first step is to hire an attorney. An attorney’s acceptance fee, typically ranges from 120,000 pesos to 200,000,000 pesos.
But be cautious, in the Philippines, there are some people who might promise, and offer attractive and imaginary services, such as a quick annulment of marriage, for an even larger amount. However, taking such a huge financial risk is ill advised and may result in a loss of the entire sum with little or no actual progress on the legal case.
The time necessary for an annulment depends on the skills, connections, and application of the attorney. An uncontested annulment case (in which the spouse does not show up at all in court) may take 2 to 4 years to complete, depending on the calendar of the court, the availability of witnesses and other issues such as child custody or property partitioning.
Cases where the spouse does appear or deliberately causes delays can take even longer. As well, NSO (PSA) annotation delays add to the time it takes.
Your lawyer must manage the process carefully and diligently to again minimise delays.
The second step is writing the required marital history. This is a detailed narrative of the marriage from the time the two first met through the present. It also includes the reason for the separation focused on the personality of the couples and detailing the end the relationship.
The most common grounds for Traditional Annulment and Declaration of Nullity of Marriage are as follows, but not all grounds are discussed.
- Minority (those contracted by any party below 18 years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians).
- Lack of authority of solemnizing officer (those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages, unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so).
- Absence of marriage license (except in certain cases).
- Bigamous or polygamous marriages.
- Incestuous marriages (between ascendants and descendants of any degree, between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood).
- Void by reason of public policy. Marriages between (i) collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree; (ii) step-parents and step-children; (iii) parents-in-law and children-in-law; (iv) adopting parent and the adopted child; (v) surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child; (vi) surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter; (vii) an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter; (viii) adopted children of the same adopter; and (ix) parties where one, with the intention to marry the other, killed that other person’s spouse, or his or her own spouse.
- 8. Psychological Incapacity. Psychological incapacity contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations; not a mere refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse.
Irreconcilable differences, conflicting personalities, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, physical abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment, by themselves, also do not justify a finding of psychological incapacity.
Most annulment lawyers in the Philippines commonly use Psychological Incapacity as the main ground on which to base and file a case.
In Western countries all of the categories mentioned in 8 would be sufficient grounds for divorce.
The third step is the psychological evaluation process. This varies from one psychologist to the next although there are standard elements. The lawyer normally would recommend a psychologist/psychiatrist who will do the evaluation and be a witness in court. The evaluation may cost from 40,000 pesos to as high as 60,000 pesos per session. Often multiple sessions will be required.
Some psychologists charge additional fees for testifying in court.
The spouse will be asked to join in the evaluation, but in most instances they do not participate in the evaluation process. The psychologist will then proceed to do the evaluation based on the tests and the interviews with the party or parties as well as other relevant witnesses.
The fourth step is the drafting, then filing, of the petition itself. This is the lawyer’s job. After the filing of the petition, which must be signed by the requesting party (husband or wife), the case will be assigned to a branch of the Regional Trial Court. The spouse will now be notified by sending papers, called summons, requiring the spouse to answer the petition within a number of days from receipt of the notice.
Collusion of marriage (both parties agreed to file an annulment) will also be investigated, a process wherein, a public prosecutor will be assigned to a court and will be asked to determine if the parties involved are conspiring to file a case. Collusion – mutually agreed-upon separation – is not an acceptable condition and would result in a dismissal of the annulment petition. Proving collusion is almost impossible to determine.
After the investigation, a report is prepared by the public prosecutor on the findings of his investigation. If no collusion is found which again is difficult to prove, the case proceeds to a pre-trial and the spouse will be notified again.
If the spouse fails to appear, the court will proceed with the marking of the documents, the determination of the number of witnesses, and the schedule of the trial. During the trial stage, witnesses will be called. Normally, the witnesses would be the petitioning party, a corroborating witness (who knew the parties involved and what happened to the marriage), and the psychologist who will testify on the evaluation made. The public prosecutor representing the government will be allowed to question the witnesses as well.
After the trial and the offer of evidence, the case is then submitted for decision. Waiting for the decision may take 90 days and often very much longer. An adverse decision may be a reflection of the Judges personal feelings about annulling a marriage. So there are no guarantees!
As can be imagined an annulment can be a long drawn out procedure and might use up years of potentially happy times with a new partner.
We have managed divorces for over 30 Filipinas who found men who love them and treat them with the respect they deserve.
Several of them had already experienced the disappointment of going through a failed annulment before coming to us. Several clients came to us after spending 500,000 pesos and lost. They had lost their money and were beginning to lose hope! We successfully assisted them to a divorce. We have never lost a case!
So what is the alternative solution for dissolving an unworkable marriage?
It is very simple just Google www.divorceinthephilippines.info and talk to us. You will be pleased you did. We offer a no obligation advice and a guarantee of success!