I frequently read your articles and I noticed that the common reason of the letter senders in seeking to have their marriage be declared null and void is psychological incapacity. I am just wondering if this is the only basis or are there other grounds in order to have a marriage be declared null and void? Thank you and more power.
Dear Ms. London,
Psychological incapacity of one of the parties to a contract of marriage is merely one of the legal bases for filing a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage before the courts. There are other legal grounds set under the law for filing the said petition. For instance, Article 35 of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, enumerates six causes for having a marriage be declared void from the beginning, to wit: (1) when a marriage is contracted by any party below eighteen (18) years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians; (2) when a marriage is solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages, unless such marriage was contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so; (3) when a marriage is solemnized without license, except those covered under Title I, Chapter 2 of the Family Code; (4) when a marriage is bigamous or polygamous and not falling under Article 41; (5) when a marriage is contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other; and (6) a subsequent marriage which is void under Article 53.
A marriage between the following persons may also be declared null and void, whether their relationship be legitimate or illegitimate: (1) between ascendants and descendants of any degree; and (2) between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood (Article 37, Family Code of the Philippines).
Apart from the foregoing, a marriage may be declared absolutely null and void for reasons of public policy when it is contracted between the following persons: (1) collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree; (2) step-parents and step-children; (3) parents-in-law and children-in-law; (4) adopting parent and the adopted child; (5) surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child; (6) surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter; (7) an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter; (8) adopted children of the same adopter; and (9) parties where one, with the intention to marry the other, killed that other person’s spouse, or his or her own spouse (Article 38, Family Code of the Philippines).
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.