Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines
Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines are legal grounds used to end a Philippine marriage and include lack of consent or capacity and lack of a marriage requirements, and Psychological Incapacity Annulment among other lesser-known grounds.
I’ll go in-depth on the following:
- What is Annulment in the Philippines?
- What are the grounds for Annulment in the Philippines?
- Is Bigamy a Ground for Annulment?
- I’ll debunk that a 5 years separation ground for Annulment exists – it’s a common myth
- I’ll also discuss Psychological Incapacity Philippines
Let’s start off with what Annulment in the Philippines is.
What is the Annulment in the Philippines?
Annulment in the Philippines is a court case that is generally the only way to end a marriage and the Conjugal Property Regime between 2 Filipinos.
There is a frequent misconception that Legal Separation vs Annulment is much cheaper, easier and faster to do, but this is not true.
In the majority of cases, Annulment is the only way to end a Philippine marriage.
The success of an Annulment case rests on a few factors, among them the proof for the ground used to file the case.
Understandably, there is a lot of interest in understanding the grounds for Annulment in the Philippines.
What are the Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines?
The Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines are when there was a lack of formal or essential requisites of marriage. It also includes marriages against public policy and Psychological Incapacity.
Annulment is a layman’s term for 2 types of cases:
- Nullity of Marriage
- Annulment itself
Both end a marriage and have the same process and cost generally, but differ in grounds and the status of the children after the case.
The Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines under Nullity of Marriage are:
- one was under 18
- when there was no marriage ceremony, license or officiator
- mistaken identity
- Bigamy (For all those who ask “Is Bigamy a ground for Annulment? Bigamy is absolutely a ground for Annulment and I’ve detailed it below)
- Psychological Incapacity Annulment
- Incest and Marriages against Public Policy
The Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines under Annulment itself are:
- one was from 18 to 21, within 5 years after reaching 21 by the party whose parent did not give consent or before the party reached 21 by the parent who did not give consent.
- one was of unsound mind by the spouses or by a guardian having legal charge of the insane
- consent was obtained by fraud or force within 5 years of the discovery of the fraud or the removal of the threat or force
- one could not consummate the marriage within 5 years of the marriage
- one had a serious and uncurable sexually transmitted disease within 5 years of the marriage
Unless specified otherwise, the only persons who can file are the spouses themselves.
Psychological Incapacity Annulment
Psychological Incapacity Annulment is the most commonly ground to end a marriage which states that “one of the spouses is psychologically incapacitated to perform marital duties to the other spouse”.
That is the technical definition.
However, how does one prove Psychological Incapacity?
An Annulment Lawyer in the Philippines will likely ask you to write down or explain why the marriage failed.
Then, they will go through the reasons the marriage failed and list all manifestations of possibly Psychological Incapacity.
Things as below can help:
- Drug or Substance Abuse
- Physical, Verbal or Sexual Abuse
- Immaturity and frictions with in-laws
Note that these above items are not Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines.
These things help support the ground of Psychological Incapacity
A Psychological Incapacity Annulment is based on the totality of the evidence and so it is these things taken together than can help prove the ground.
In addition, lawyers will still strongly recommend that you use a psychologist.
Since the strength of proof matters in a Psychological Incapacity Annulment case, many lawyers will recommend this so that the case is the strongest it can possibly be.
This will lessen the risk of denial. (About 6% of all Annulment cases are denied.)
And yes, any Annulment Lawyer in the Philippines you choose is aware that a psychologist is not strictly needed but they want to build the strongest Psychological Incapacity Annulment case they can.
(Most couples may end up filing a Psychological Incapacity Annulment case considering that the other grounds do not fit them.)
Is Bigamy a Ground for Annulment?
I often get asked, “Is Bigamy a Ground for Annulment?” from people who married some time ago and the answer is Yes.
Bigamy is a ground for Annulment but the effect of using this ground is that the children of the bigamous marriage become illegitimate.
This has implications for the children’s inheritance because an illegitimate child does not inherit the same amount as a legitimate child.
However, most people who use this ground are spared the complexities of a Psychological Incapacity Annulment case (and also the cost of a psychologist).
A key document that goes to proving this ground would be the bigamous parties is his Advisory on Marriages.
An Advisory on Marriages would be the document that you get when you try to get someone’s Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR (which is the document you get when there is no marriage at all).
There, the marriages are clearly seen, without the annotation stating that one of the marriages was legally ended.
This would be key evidence in the case.
It will certainly be one of the key pieces of evidence your Annulment Lawyer in the Philippines will ask for.
(Now, aside from asking “Is Bigamy a ground for Annulment?” some also ask whether Bigamy is a ground for a criminal case. Yes, it also is but the Bigamy Process Philippines is very different from an Annulment case.)
5 years separation Ground for Annulment?
Another frequent question I’m asked is, “Is a 5 years separation ground for Annulment?”
The answer to this is, “No.”
There is nothing in the law that make a 5 years separation ground for Annulment.
(Or a 7-year separation or a 10-year separation).
Abandonment is NOT one of the grounds for Annulment in the Philippines, nor is a physical separation, no matter how long the duration.
As close as I can determine, it seems that this idea of 5 years separation ground for Annulment came about due to a proposed law that did not pass.
The 5 years separation as ground for Annulment was proposed by Surigao Rep Robert Ace Barbas in HB 1062. It generated some excitement as it is a practical ground but the bill did not pass.
So, a 5-year separation as ground for annulment is more myth than fact.
Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines: What will you likely use?
Psychological Incapacity is one of the most frequently used Grounds for Annulment in the Philippines.
This is usually because no other ground is applicable.
I know that there is often a lot of trepidation about filing a Psychological Incapacity Annulment case, but it is often the only way to end a marriage between 2 Filipinos.
I have come across people who believe that Legal Separation vs Annulment is much easier but it is in fact that opposite.
Legal Separation is more expensive, harder and furthermore it doesn’t end the marriage.
Consider filing for Annulment instead – and look for an Annulment Lawyer in the Philippines that you trust who is diligent and kind. It will make the process much easier.