Are You Qualified for An Annulment?
Like it or not, the Philippines does not have a divorce law.
What we do have are annulment, nullity of marriage, and legal separation. These may be confusing at first but it is simple as knowing what’s your reason for wanting to leave your spouse.
The most popular way of getting an “annulment” in the Philippines is called psychological incapacity which will be discussed later in this article.
Majority of those wanting to leave their spouse fall within the following situations:
- Your spouse cheated on you.
- Your spouse repeatedly hit you or abused you or your child.
- Your spouse married someone after marrying you.
- Your spouse tried to kill you.
- Your spouse abandoned you for more than a year.
- Your spouse pressured you to change your religion or political affiliation.
- Your spouse was convicted of a crime with penalty of more than 6 years.
- Your spouse is a homosexual.
- Your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
If any of the following apply, you qualify for legal separation. When you are legally separated, you are allowed to live separately and to have separate property. You can discuss who will have custody and visitation rights of any children you may have.
However, you are not allowed to remarry which is where the next 2 sections are important if you do want to be able to remarry.
ANNULMENT AND NULLITY OF MARRIAGE
Annulment and Nullity of Marriage apply in more uncommon and special circumstances. I won’t discuss in this article the differences between the two or each of the grounds under them.
For the sake of simplicity, if your case involves incest, insanity, an underaged spouse, or there was some form of deceit or coercion involved in your marriage, your case may qualify and you may eligible to remarry.
It is defined as being “psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage.”
It was never intended but psychological incapacity has become the most popular option for those who want to eventually remarry. When clients ask for an annulment, lawyers will often recommend psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code as an option.
It matters greatly that you or the other party get a psychological assessment from a clinical psychiatrist to help prove psychological incapacity.
Two caveats here:
- Being psychologically incapacitated does NOT mean you or your spouse are crazy. Being psychologically incapacitated in one marriage will not disqualify you from entering into another marriage or getting a job or materially affect your life in any other way.
- Having a psychological assessment does not guarantee that you will succeed. As an expert witness, the Court will give the testimony of the psychologist great weight but in the end, they will consider all the evidence before deciding.
The Supreme Court has not given what exactly you must show as evidence but it has given 3 criteria that must be present.
The psychological incapacity must be incurable. It must have existed before you got married. It must be so serious that you cannot carry out your ordinary marriage duties.
If you can show enough evidence to support effect, the Court may declare psychological incapacity and allow you to remarry.
Be forewarned though that this process is not cheap or fast. The professional fees for the lawyer and the psychiatrist can easily go from P100,000 to P300,000 with the entire process taking years.
Waiting for the divorce bill to pass into law or settling for legal separation are other alternatives you may consider.
But if you believe you have enough evidence to prove psychological incapacity, this may be your best bet at being able to remarry in the future.
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