Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, October 9, 2015

Annulments in the Philippines

From Pacific Daily News:

The Philippines bears the dubious distinction of being the last country in the world outlawing divorce to the majority of its citizens. Unhappy married Catholic couples wishing to live apart from each other only have three options.

Last week we discussed the first two — legal separation and voiding a marriage. With a legal separation, the couple lives apart, divides their property and debts, and determines child custody. However, they remain legally married, preventing both from remarrying. On the other hand, if a marriage is voided, then, in the eyes of the law the marriage never existed. So, the couple may remarry. Today, we discuss the third option, annulment.

As is true in other countries, the Philippines has two different annulment procedures — one religious, the other civil. People often confuse them. In the Catholic faith, a marriage can only be dissolved through an ecclesiastical annulment. This is a declaration that a sacramental marriage was never truly created. In other words, the marriage was fatally flawed from the very beginning and therefore doesn’t exist in the eyes of the Church. If the annulment is granted, either party may then remarry in the Church.

The process is rather complex, often expensive, and can take up to a decade to conclude. On Sept. 8, Pope Francis stated that the Church should take steps to streamline the process and reduce the cost.

Read more here.

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