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.

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

  1. Claire

    Hi attorney magandang araw/gabi
    Itatanong ko lang po ksi po nong kinasal ako 17 lng ako pero pinike po ng mama ko ginawang 18 ..sa ngaun po ay gusto kong makipag hiwalay sa asawa ko sa ngaun ay almost 20 years na kming mag kasama pwede ko bang i apply sa null and void ang kasal namin? Magkaiba ang date of birth ko sa marrage contract nmin at sa mga documents ko.
    Thank you in advance and God Bless po hope masagot nyo po ako.

    Reply
  2. maria

    Atty. how to cancel a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage due to reconciliation.
    what are the procedures? do you have sample forms?

    thanks.

    Reply
  3. Anna

    A good Day po. Atty.
    Ako po ay 20yrs ng kasal sa Husband ko. Pero sa loob ng mga taon na yan tinitiis ko lang ang ugali nya na Nagger at ugaling makasarili dahil sa 6 na mga anak ko. 3 ang college 2 High school at 1 Elementary Pero hanggang ngayun ay ganun pa rin ang ugali nya at mas lumala pa. Gov. employee ang asawa ko. Meron po akong pinapatakbong maliit na negotio at madalas na din kami magtalo dahil gusto nya sya lahat ang dapat nasusunod. Ang Atm salary nya ay sya ang humahawak pero maliit nalang ang pumapasok dahil marami syang loan. Sa mga nagdaang panahon hinahanapan nya ako ng pera kung saan na daw napunta ang capital ng negotio ko. Duon lahat ako kumukuha ng pang gastos sa mga studiante ko at mga bayaran sa mga hulugan. Nagalit sya sa akin at gusto nya ng bawiin ang pera na pinapaikot ko sa negitio. Dahil sya nalang daw daw ang maghahandle at ihahanap nya ng ibang mapagkakatiwalaan. Hangang sa umalis nalang ako sa bahay namin dahil hindi ko na kaya ang pananalita nya ant panunumbat nya sa akin, ngayun pinag bibintangan naman ako na may kabit ako.
    Marami pa ang mga ginagawa nya saken aside sa mga nasabi ko pati nga asawa ng kapatid ko at kapatid ko pinagbantaan nya na kasi tinutulungan ako at duon ako tumutuloy sa kanila. ang asawa ng kapatid ko din kasi ang katulong ko sa pagdadala ng maliit na negotio ko. Pagpapautang sa mga tindahan at ang bayaw ko babae ang taga singil. Ok naman ang takbo ng negotio wala naman problema para sa akin kaya lang ang husband ko masyado nagdududa kung saan na daw ang pera eh. halos duon ko lahat kinkuha ang mga expenses ng 6 ko anak at mga amortizations. Meron naman syan sariling negtio hinahandle Motorparts and Accesories at sya lang ang humahawak hindi ako nakikialam sa benta nya or sa mga decision nya. Pinag iinitan nya yung hinhandle ko negotio at pinagdududahan na ako na baka daw nilustay ko na sa lalaki ko. Alam ng mga anak ko lahat ng nangyayari sila na nga mismo nagsasabi na layasan ko daw ang ama nila. Nagkasakit na rin rin ako dahil sa konsomisyon ko sa ugali nya napaka strikto. At ang mga pananalita at mga txt nya sa akin na halos natotorture na ang utak ko. Kaya ngayun umabot na sa sukdulan hindi ko na kaya ang mga pinagdaan ko sa kanya kaya gusto ko na mag file ng Petition for Legal Separation. Possible po ba ito?
    I Hope may Laban at Pag Asa ako. Thank you po sa Response.

    Reply
  4. Mafi

    Good pm po. Ask ko po sana ano dapat kong gawin. Na annulled po ako 2009 then umalis po ako pa taiwan hindi ko n po naasikaso dhil ng work n po ako at wala p balak mag asawa. Ngaun po 2017 naisipan ko n po ayusin dhil balak ko n po mag asawa ng dec. Kaso nung ipa file ko n po sa munisipyo eh may correction ung name ng ex ko dun sa papers at desicion..ano po b dapat ko gawin…ok lng po ba mg affidavit? Sa sobrang tgal n po kc eh sumakabilang buhay n pala ung mga lawyer ko..ng ask nman po ako ng help dun need dw 15k process. Ano po b dpat ko gawin ..ang bigat kc ng 15k

    Reply
  5. UG

    Good pm po atty…ask ko lng po ngpaksal po kmi ng asawa ko sa mayor 16years ago at may 1 po kmi anak..at after ng kasal nmin saka lng nya cnbi na ngpakasal sya sa huwes 10 years before at may 2 cla anak…tapos cnbi nya skin na hnd daw valid ung kasal nya sa una dahil peke daw ung papers na pinirmahan nla ng asawa nya..pano ko po mllman na wala bisa kasal nila..at kung may bisa po Un pano ko po mapapawalang bisa ang kasal nmin…10 years na po kmi hiwalay…may kinakasama na po sya at may 1 anak na rin…gusto ko po na maging legal ang paghihiwalay nmin

    Reply
  6. Wilfredo

    Atty. what is the very first steps to file an annullment (like documents).im here in abroad and she is in the Philippines

    Reply
  7. Mary j

    Atty ask ko lang po paano kung fixed marriage lang po ung nangyari dhil gusto ng nanay ko na mgjapan ako…pwede po bang matawag na null or void ung kasal ko?

    Reply
  8. Zoey

    Hi attny, ask ko lang kasi void ang merriage ko. Kahit hindi pa lumalabas ang decision ng court pwede na ako ba mag pakasal ulit?

    Reply
  9. Mhariz

    Need help to answer this….yung brother ko po Nsa abroad ng file ng nullity of marriage ung dati nya asawa.. For 15 yrs wla cla communication. Nrecieve nmin ung summon at petition…pnu po gagawin nmin nsa cebu po nka file ung case sa Manila kmi nkatira. Wala po clang anak at property.. No objection nman po brother ko… Sana po msagot Salazar…

    Reply
  10. epav

    hi po atty, kmusta po?magtatanong lng po sana ako kc po meron po akong ex ,nagkaroon kme ng anak pro may anak n sya s asawa nya. nakapagpadala ako nun nanganak un ex ko at isang beses after nun ay hindi n nasundan dahil mababa ang aking sahod tpos nawalan ako ng trabaho at nagbbyad ako ng utang dat tme.pro ngyon po ay willing n ako magpdla ng sustento sa bata pro nagkaroon kme ng kasunduan nun ex ko na magppdla ako ng sustento kapalit ng pagbura ng mga litrato ko sa lahat (meaning mapa social media or usb etc).pumayag nman po un ex ko ilan beses ko syang kinulit pra burahin dahil nalalapit n aking pagpapadala pro andun p din un mga pics,ano pong dapat kong gwin atty kpag di nya tinupad un agreement nmin ?

    Reply
  11. Teyci

    Gudeve Atty,

    Ask ko lng po kung ilang months po ba mag aantay pra sa decision na galing ng court na anulled na ang marriage?

    Reply
  12. Johnny

    Hello po,

    Kasal po ako.sa isang filipina na naging canadian citizen nag pakasal kami nung 2013 hindi nag work long distance ang relationship namin ever since na naging mag bf/gf kami social media lanh tapos nag file sya ng divorce nung 2015 e gusto ko po sana i file dito sa pinas yung divorce paper na pinile nya para kung sakali makapag pakasal na ulit ako …

    Reply
  13. Allyn Marie

    Hello, good day! Im an OFW, now in Dubai. Saan po kaya ako pwedeng mag file ng Petion for the declaration of Absolute Nullity of Marriage? Thank you

    Reply

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