Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part 3)

My fiancee and I secured a marriage license, but no marriage ceremony was ever celebrated. I learned, however, that my “wife” is already using my surname in her documents, including her passport. Am I considered as “married”?

No. A marriage license is valid only for 120 days, and any marriage contracted after that period is null and void. A woman cannot use his putative “husband’s” surname in the absence of a valid marriage. [See: Grounds for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage]

Annulment, Divorce and Legal Separation Q&A 3

After a year of marriage, my spouse and I agreed that our marriage is getting nowhere, and that we should go find someone else. We prepared an agreement that we both want an annulment. Would this be of any help in the annulment process?

No. Agreement between the spouses is not a ground for annulment/declaration of nullity. On the contrary, as noted in a previous article, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) or the public prosecutor, as the case may be, is under legal obligation to make sure that there’s no collusion between the parties. In fact, the grounds for annulment or the annulment itself is one of the issues EXPRESSLY removed by law from the matters that could be settled or compromised.

Could I file a petition for annulment if my wife doesn’t agree?

Yes. The petition could still be filed, and the case could still continue, even if the other spouse (husband or wife) does not agree to, or even oppose, the petition. [See Procedure in Annulment of Marriage and Declaration of Nullity of Marriage]

What if I can’t find my spouse?

Under the rules, summons must be served on the other spouse. This is generally done by serving the summons, together with a copy of the petition, on the other spouse. However, in case the other spouse could not be found, resort could be made to service of summons by publication.

My wife (or husband) sent me a letter saying that “wala na akong pag-ibig,” “ginamit lang kita” or “let’s separate.” Are these sufficient grounds for annulment?

No. The law is always in favor of the validity of the marriage. A signed contract by the spouses that they agree to an annulment, as discussed above, is against the law, moral and public policy. Therefore, it is not valid.

My spouse, who is no longer a Filipino citizen, said that he/she will not object to end our marriage. Can I seek an annulment here in the Philippines or, if that’s not possible, a divorce in the United States or anywhere abroad?

Article 26 is clear that only the former Filipino (or the foreigner spouse) may seek a divorce abroad. In other words, even if a spouse is no longer a Filipino, the other spouse who is still a Filipino can’t validly seek a divorce. [See Mixed Marriages and Divorce: When One Spouse is a Foreigner, Divorce is Recognized even if Initiated by the Filipino Spouse]

I am a Filipino citizen, married to a foreigner. I discovered that my foreigner-spouse secured a divorce abroad and is now married to someone else. What should I do to be able to remarry? Is that unfair to the Filipino?

This definitely seems unfair to the Filipino spouse, as the foreigner spouse (or the spouse who is no longer a Filipino) could remarry after securing a divorce. The Filipino spouse, on the other hand, must get hold of the divorce decree and have it recognized in Philippine courts. Dura lex, sed lex. The law may be harsh, but it is the law. [See Process of Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree]

If my spouse is confined to a mental hospital for years now, can I use that as a ground for annulment?

Insanity is a ground for annulment, but it must be shown to be existent at the time of marriage (and, besides, it is subject to ratification by cohabitation). It could also be used to support the ground of psychological incapacity, but such must also be shown to be existent at the time of marriage and must appear to be incurable (among other requirements). Please note, however, that insanity is not synonymous with psychological incapacity.

How much will I spend for a petition for annulment or a petition for declaration of nullity? How long does it take?

These matters are discussed in a previous post. The amount of expenses depends on the grounds relied upon, as some grounds are relatively easier than the rest, like psychological incapacity. It also depends on the acceptance fee of the lawyer. The duration of the entire process also depends on a lot of things, e.g., the grounds relied upon, docket of the court, availability of the judge or the public prosecutor, postponements, etc. In other words, there’s really no fixed cost or duration.

I believe that my marriage is null and void because my spouse had a previous marriage. What should I do to remove my marriage file at the National Statistics Office (NSO)?

Nobody could simply “remove” any official record at the NSO, as this is a criminal offense. A petition for annulment or declaration of nullity must be filed in court and once a favorable decision is issued, the decree is registered with the pertinent civil registries and the NSO.

I’m separated from my wife for years now. I recently learned that she got pregnant by another man. Can this be used as a ground for annulment? Can I have custody over our child?

Infidelity is not a ground for annulment (please see the grounds for annulment in the previous post). At most, it could be a basis for legal separation or filing a case for adultery. As to custody, the Supreme Court already ruled that sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient to grant custody over a child. Please read the previous post on the primary criterion in granting custody.


If you can’t find the answers here, please refer to Part I, Part II, Part IV, Part V, or other related posts. See also Summary on Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decree in the Philippines. You can check the Related Posts at the bottom of each post. You can also use the Search function (also in the right sidebar).


193 thoughts on “Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part 3)

  1. AvatarKakay


    Pa quote lang po from navigee for i am in the same situation and would very much appreciate if the questions stated be given clarity. Best regards

    “I have a question that I would like to raise since it is related to the issue of annulment of marriage.

    In 1995 I had a “secret marriage” with my then girlfriend. She left for the States and after a year we separated since she married another guy in the States. I checked with the Civil Registrar and found out that our marriage was legal. So I filed an annulment case which was granted by the court in 1998.

    In 1998, before the final judgment of my annulment was granted,I re-married and me and my wife with our two kids are living together now for almost 10 years. But every so often, my wife will nag me that our marriage is void since it was done before the final judgement of my annulment case was granted.

    My questions are:
    1. What can I do to make our marriage legal if it is illegal or void since it was done before the annulment judgment was rendered?

    2. Do I need to marry her again and can we be granted marriage licenses if we want to marry again to make it legal?

    I would be very happy to here from you your views on this issue”

  2. Avatardolce_vita

    My bestfriend is in a relationship with this guy whose wife left him and his kids for about seven years already. The guy wanted to file annulment for several years already and although the wife texted the guy several times that she wanted an annulment, she has never really showed up. The guy is having a difficult time looking for the wife so that they could already start working on the annulment process. What are the possible remedies to this? If ever they get to talk and decide to work on the annulment, what are the possible grounds?

  3. Avatarcentrina_vista

    hi atty.,
    i would like to seek some advice from you. i’m married for almost 2 years now and i would like to file for an annulment cause im not happy anymore with my husband and i have found someone who really makes me happy. here is the thing…when i got married at the age of 21 both of our consent was fake.what should i do?

  4. Avatarjustgotdivorced

    Dear Att. Fred,

    I was married to my foreign husband here in Manila, for 3 years, the marriage didn’t worked so we decided to just end it and get divorce. We didn’t had any child or properties, because he was barely in Manila to be with me, and i was busy with work and have been dealing with our incompatibility and other major issues that had me thinking if its worth migrating to the States to make the marriage work.

    To cut the story short, we finally had our divorce final last February 29 , 2008 in Oregon USA.

    My question is since he is a foreign husband and acquired divorce in his country, that means my divorce is legal here in the Philippines?
    As what i have read about divorce law here in the Philippines.

    “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.

    I don’t have plans to re marry sometime soon, but what should be my next step after requiring that divorce?

    How can i go to the Philippine court to get my divorce recognized here in our country. A

    Should I go to the NSO or CENSUS and bring the divorce papers, so that they can do some legal paper work about my marriage certificate here with my ex husband?

    Im hoping you could answer my questions.

    Thank you so much for the help.


  5. Avatarfree2live_26

    i just happen to see this site and so glad that there’s a place where we can get useful info regarding the law. i’m asking on behalf of my cousin who works abroad. here’s his dilemma, he was married 1999 at the age of 17 and the girl was also 17.after the church wedding, they split apart after several weeks of living together, thanks to the girl’s mom. they had a daughter together. to make a long story short..9 years passed and they have no communication eversince. now my cousin is abroad and has finally found the girl of his dreams and wants to marry her. they were asked to provide copies of singleness. how can my cousin get this? will he be able to get one? if not how can he get one or at least how can he fix everything the legal way. what is the exact process? we were told that there is a need to publish something in the newspapers but we opted to research and ask people who best know the law. hope you can enlighten us. and thanks in advance!

  6. Avatartricia_c

    i would like to know if a filipino couple married in the philippines, later both became us citizens and got divorced, is their marriage still valid under philippine laws? can they remarry in the philippines?

  7. Avatarmvpmsp

    Hello atty.
    I am an American and my wife is from the Philippines. We have one child together. We married in a church in the Philippines back in 1997. I would like to annul our marriage. We live in the Middle East right now. Can I file for a divorce in the US and it be recognized in the Philippines or can I also file in the Middle East and it be recognized there. I have no intentions of remarrying and I am not sure whether my wife does or not. If that is not acceptable for a divorce elsewhere outside the Philippines, does either of us have to come to the Philippines to file for an annulment. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  8. Avatarhir2help

    hi atty.
    MY friend got married to his ex-girlfriend because she said that she has cancer and had only a few years to live. despite of not being in love with her anymore, he consented after the woman agreed that their wedding will be just for “show” and the marriage will not be registered. they’re not living together since my friend told the girl that he did it only because of pity. after more than 3 months that the wedding had taken place, their marriage has not yet been registered. the girl is crazy in love with my friend and has begun threatening here that she will register their marriage. a lawyer said that no matter how delayed the marriage can still be registered. is that true? and what do u think can my friend do to ensure that the marriage is nullified?

  9. Avatarember447

    good day…before i ask my questions, let me first present the facts:
    – i was born in the philippines (in 1977, making me 31 now) but my mother [an american citizen] registered me in the US embassy as an american born abroad [officially, they call it a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the USA]; this established my american citizenship.
    – my father was always filipino
    – i grew up in the philippines, as a filipino [i still have a valid philippine passport]; however, i never renounced my US citizenship
    – i am now residing in California, but i never renounced my filipino citizenship
    – i was legally married in 2000 (in the philippines; i was 23 and the wife was 21) to a filipina; the certificate indicated my nationality as Filipino.

    now with my questions:
    – can i file for a divorce here in California to have my marriage in the philippines ended? according to the family code (art.26, para.2), as the alien spouse, i must initiate the divorce, to be able to have it eventually processed and validated thru the philippine courts. my wife, with whom ive been separated 5 years already, and i have agreed that this process will not be contested.

    – i’m not really clear with the intricacies and implications of the dual citizenship law; will it have an effect on the validity of the original certificate, as it was stated there that i was filipino (which is and was true) but at the same time, i was american all along?

    thanks for bearing with me thru this rather long post. i truly appreciate it.

  10. Avatarshyeshye


    I got married at 21 in 1977. My exhusband was 20 then but wrote in the marriage licence he was 23 yr old to appear as legal age for marriage then.

    Can it be used as ground for nullity of marriage?

    We were separated since 1996. I filed for annulment but there is no news yet and I am here abroad.

    Thanks for any advise.


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