Marriage is an inviolable social institution and a permanent union between spouses – Art. 1 of EO 209
The Philippine law prefers to keep the marriage intact rather than terminate it. The Philippines do not have a Divorce Law, but we have other legal means to terminate or end a marriage. Ending (Terminating) marriage in the Philippines is not easy because married couples need to go to court, attend hearings, and wait for years before they can receive a decision. Agencies that tell couples that they do not have to go through it are scams. Most of the time, petitions to terminate a marriage are denied.
There are, however, a lot of Petitions approved by the Court as long as the reason for the termination of the marriage is supported by law and sufficient evidence.
There are three ways to legally end a marriage in the Philippines, and they are:
(a) Declaration of Nullity;
(c) Legal Separation – It does not really terminate the marriage, but it is a means to cease marital obligations.
Major Differences: Three ways to legally end a marriage in the Philippines
Note: These are just an overview of the differences, you must consult a lawyer for a more detailed discussion on how to legally end your marriage.
Can you Remarry after your marriage is terminated?
We believe that people can find love again and want to be with that person legally. The question is, can you remarry after your marriage was declared void/ annulled, or when you are already legally separated from your former spouse?
You can legally remarry if your marriage is terminated through (a) Declaration of Nullity and (b) Annulment. You cannot remarry when your Petition for Legal Separation is granted. In Legal Separation, you are still considered married, except that you are no longer obligated to perform your marital duties.
Effect on your Property
Many spouses collect properties during their marriage, such as real estate, cash, and vehicles. You may want to know how your property will be divided when your marriage ends. In this discussion, we will assume that both of the spouses are in good faith – it means that they did not intentionally cause the termination of the marriage.
In (a) Declaration of Nullity, the division of your property is governed by Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code (EO 209). It means that if your marriage ended, the property will be divided equally. However, if your marriage is terminated because any of the spouses is still previously and legally married, the property will be divided based on the ACTUAL CONTRIBUTION of the Spouses.
In (b) Annulment of marriage and (c) Legal Separation, the property will be divided based on the existing property regime during the existence of the marriage. The property will be divided based on the Prenuptial Agreement or Partnership of Gains Agreement. If there was no agreement, the properties will be divided equally.
If any of the spouses is in bad faith, his or her share will be given to the common children. If there is no common child, it will be given to the descendants. If there is no descendant, it will be given to the innocent spouse.
What is the Status of Children if the Marriage is Terminated?
During the marriage, the couples may have children. What will happen to their legitimacy when the marriage ends? Legitimacy is important, especially in succession.
In (a) Declaration of Nullity, the children born out of voided marriage are illegitimate. However, if the reason for ending the marriage is psychological incapacity or bigamous marriage, children born during the marriage are legitimate.
In (a) Annulment, children born during the existence of the marriage are legitimate.
In (c ) Legal Separation all children born by the wife are considered as the legitimate children of the husband, even if the biological father is not the husband.
Who can file for the termination of the marriage?
In (a) Declaration of Nullity, common children and those who are affected by the marriage because of succession can question the validity of the marriage.
In (b) Annulment and (c) Legal Separation, only those provided for in the Family Code are allowed to file a direct action to end the marriage.
End of Part 1
We will discuss the basic grounds or legal reasons for the termination of marriage in the next Article (Part 2). The three ways to legally end a marriage in the Philippines have unique grounds, you might want to know what Petition you can file to end a marriage.