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Pope Francis’ historic announcement that the annulment process will be simplified and made available for free, leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines feel that there will be an upsurge in the number of annulment cases in the country.

In a recent interview, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that they are welcoming the news with gladness.

According to Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, “I agree with the Holy Father that the process for marriage nullity declaration can be shortened” describing the current process as “quite complicated.”

In the past, an annulment has always been very expensive plus the process usually took a long time. With the changes announced by Vatican, the new requirements will shorten the process because annulment cases approved by the church court will no longer have to be reviewed by another tribunal. Also, it will only take about 2 months or less for an annulment to be granted.

An annulment typically  where the local leaders will make the decision whether a marriage can be considered null and void. After that, the decision will be forwarded to the Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal so they can review it. In case the case meets disagreement at a Court of Appeals, the case will be sent to Rome.

In Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz viewpoint, the easier annulment is an advantage because “The more cases will be resolved, the more should be able to go back into the fold” since they will no longer be considered “living in sin.”

Despite these changes, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)  was quick to emphasize that “The teaching about the indissolubility and unity of marriage remains. The doctrine about the sacredness of marriage and family life is unchanged. The declaration of nullity of marriage is not divorce.”

Since we still do not have the divorce law in the country, annulment remains to be the only viable option for couples who want to terminate their marriage in a legal way.

according to definition made by Guzman Tañedo & Acain Law Firm, marriage annulment is “a Court process in order to annul the marital union between a husband and wife. Annulment of marriage presupposes that the marriage was valid from the beginning and remains valid until annulled by the Court.”

To be able to file for an annulment, it is important to make sure that you have legal grounds to file a petition in the first place.

Some of the legal reasons for annulment are mentioned under Article 45 of the Family Code for annulment. Nullity of void marriages, on the other hand, are under Article 35 (absence of formal and essential requisites of marriage), Article 36 (psychological incapacity), Article 37 (incestuous marriage) as well as Article 38 (marriages that are void by reason of public policy).

the concerned individual should file a Petition for Annulment of Marriage at the Regional Court’s Office of the Executive Clerk of Court. The office will then raffle a schedule for the case and eventually, they will issue a Summon to the respondent spouse so that he or she can file an answer to the petition.

Next, the Court sets a pre-trial conference where the attendance of involved parties is required. This will later lead to the actual trial proceedings.

In any case, it is crucial that you work with a competent lawyer who will provide you with legal guidance every step of the way. Hope this post will enlighten you regarding on how to file annulment here in the Philippines.


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