I want to file for the annulment of my marriage. I no longer want to live with my husband but I just don’t want legal separation. I want our marriage to be annulled. I was advised before by my friend that I cannot file for declaration of nullity of marriage, so I might as well file for the annulment of my marriage. I have been wanting to do this ever since our son was born. He is now 8 years old. Please advise me on this matter.
You mentioned in your letter that you want to file a petition for the annulment of your marriage. You, however, did not mention on what ground/s you are basing the petition. It is essential to determine first the basis for your petition as only grounds mentioned under the law can be recognized. Pursuant to Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines, only the following causes that are existing at the time of the marriage may serve as bases for seeking the annulment of a marriage:
“(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;
(2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
(3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterward, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or
(6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.”
If any of the foregoing is applicable to your case, then you may utilize the same as your cause for your petition. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the petition may only be filed within the prescriptive period and by the specific persons mentioned under the law, for even if you have a lawful basis to seek such annulment, it may be rendered naught if it is filed beyond the prescriptive period or by a person not authorized by law. It is explicitly stated under Article 47 of the code:
“Art. 47. The action for annulment of marriage must be filed by the following persons and within the periods indicated herein:
(1) For causes mentioned in number 1 of Article 45 by the party whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of twenty-one, or by the parent or guardian or person having legal charge of the minor, at any time before such party has reached the age of twenty-one;
(2) For causes mentioned in number 2 of Article 45, by the same spouse, who had no knowledge of the other’s insanity; or by any relative or guardian or person having legal charge of the insane, at any time before the death of either party, or by the insane spouse during a lucid interval or after regaining sanity;
(3) For causes mentioned in number 3 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years after the discovery of the fraud;
(4) For causes mentioned in number 4 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years from the time the force, intimidation or undue influence disappeared or ceased;
(5) For causes mentioned in numbers 5 and 6 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years after the marriage.”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com.