Legally annuling a marriage beyond the ‘barangay’


Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My husband and I agreed to live our lives separately. We didn’t have any children during our short time together as a married couple. We had an agreement in the barangay (village) that we mutually agree to formally annul our marriage on that day, and to let each other go already. I am in a new relationship now, and my current boyfriend and I are planning to get married. We applied for a marriage license in our town, but we were refused since I was still married according to them despite the fact that I provided them with the copy of my agreement with my ex-husband from our barangay about our annulment years ago. Why don’t they allow us to marry again despite the consent of my ex-husband on our annulment? I need your advice.

Dear Romancita,
The law characterizes marriage as an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences and incidents are governed by law, not subject to stipulations (Article 1, Title 1, Family Code of the Philippines). As such, procedure in both allowing and dissolving a marriage is based on provisions of the law, not on mere agreement of the parties.

Thus, it takes more than just an agreement in the barangay to legally annul a marriage. The annulment of a marriage requires filing of an appropriate petition before the court and the conduct of a formal hearing therein to prove that the specific legal grounds to annul a marriage is present in a case. The court will then ascertain and decide if the requirements of law have been satisfied, and only then can there be a legal annulment of marriage.

On your intention to remarry and your attempt to apply for a marriage license, it is only right for the civil registrar of your locality to disapprove your application since applicants who were previously married are required by law to furnish their office the judicial decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of a previous marriage. (Article 13, Id.) Since there is no judicial declaration of annulment or nullity of your previous marriage, the local civil registrar cannot allow your application for a marriage license.

Should you insist on marrying your current partner despite having a legally existing marriage, the law provides that any subsequent marriage despite an existing prior marriage will make the subsequent marriage void from the beginning. (Article 35(4), Id.) Thus, should you really desire to marry your current partner, we advise you to file the necessary legal action to judicially annul or nullify your current and existing marriage. Should you obtain a judicial decree annulling or nullifying your existing marriage, then you may legally remarry.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to



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