Category Archives: Family Law

Basic Discussion on Last Will and Testament in the Philippines

The settlement of a person’s estate after his/her death, based on our experience, is potentially one of the more bitter litigations. It’s never good to see relatives fighting each other. Some persons, with the intent of controlling the disposition of his/her properties after his/her death (and hopefully prevent fighting among his/her heirs over the properties left), prepare a “last will and testament”. Let’s have a brief discussion on this matter. Continue reading

Gender Reassignment Voids a Marriage?

Someone sent me an email, asking if a marriage is rendered void when the spouse undergoes gender reassignment surgery, also called sex-change operation. The question reads: “If a man and a woman marry in the Philippines and the man later undergoes gender reassignment, is the marriage automatically void? I have been unable to find specific information and would very much appreciate your help.” Continue reading

What is “Premature Marriage” and Is it a Crime?

The death of either spouse dissolves the marital bond (same effect with annulment or declaration of nullity). This simply means that, subject to compliance with certain requirements, the husband or the wife is free to marry again. There is no legal obstacle for remarriage (and we’ve heard of a plot or two involving a spouse who wants to kill the other spouse so he/she can marry another person). Men may remarry right away. Women, on the other hand, must wait for 301 days or, if pregnant at the time of the husband’s death, must wait until childbirth, before they can remarry. Continue reading

“Relaxed” Rules on Psychological Incapacity to Annul Marriages

A recent newspaper article got my attention. “SC relaxes rules on psychological incapacity as ground to annul marriages,” says the news title in a popular newspaper. I traced the case, Valerio E. Kalaw vs. Ma. Elena Fernandez (G.R. No. 166357, 14 January 2015), and proceeded to check if the Supreme Court really “relaxed” the rules in that case. Continue reading

Church Annulment and Court Annulment

Annulment, loosely referring to the processes of declaration of nullity or annulment itself, is complicated, time-consuming and expensive. This is the usual complaint we’ve heard from clients, both existing and prospective, on the only legal process allowed by Philippine law to end marriage for Christians. Of course, we’ve known a lot of cases when people converted to Islam in an attempt to take advantage of the divorce provisions under Sharia law. The other alternative is death, which severs the marital bond (incidentally, any attempt on the life of the other spouse is merely a ground for legal separation). Continue reading

Failure to Have a Child (infertility) is Not a Ground for Annulment; Refusal to Have Sex is Tricky

A warning: this article requires parental guidance. Children and minors, stop reading. The query goes like this: “Atty, kasal po ako pero in 2 months nagpasya kaming maghiwalay kasi di me satisfy sa kanya at dipa sia manganganak.” I really have to retain the gist of that query, even if I have to make slight changes on how it is worded. The issue is this: if the wife cannot conceive (or, conversely, if the husband is infertile) and the spouses cannot have children, is this enough ground for annulment? The related issue: if a spouse is not sexually satisfied with his/her partner, is this a ground for annulment? Continue reading

New Family of Spouse Not a Ground for Annulment

There’s a common issue relating to annulment and whether it’s enough ground when the other spouse has started a new family. It usually runs like this: I am married and we have separated years ago (some say they have no kids, some say with kids) and my spouse has started his/her own family (some say there are kids in the “other” family, some say no kids yet). Is the fact that the spouse has a new family sufficient to support a petition for annulment? Continue reading

Issues on Money, Family, Friends, Marriage and Annulment

Can money, family, friends issues in our marriage be filed for annulment? I’ve been married for 2 years but a lot of issues has completely destroyed our marriage and i want to file an annulment. I am currently living abroad.” (We will feature certain comments so we save time when addressing related concerns. No legal advice, only legal information. See discussion below.) Continue reading

Non-Disclosure of Previous Marriage

My BF contracted into marriage to a girl who did not disclose that she is already married. The documents that the girl filed were all fake when they get married. His problem was that in his NSO it appeared that he is married to the girl. How can he make himself single again in the public documents. Whenever he apply for abroad he found to be married in the legal documents and also, we are planning to marry. Please help us. Thank you and more power to you!” (This query is highlighted so we don’t have to address each and every related question. No legal advice, only general information found below.) Continue reading

Pope Francis + Mothers-in-Law

Pope Francis, in all his holiness, is not immune from the temptation to be funny. Here’s the video of Pope Francis and his mother-in-law jokes.

Incidentally, in a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage which we actively opposed on behalf of the wife, the trial court noted that the problem is not between the husband and the wife, but between the mother-in-law and the wife. The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the petition, stating in its recent resolution that, “Marriage is far too sacred an institution to be set aside merely because one cannot get along with his or her in-laws.” On the other hand, to be fair, a lot of us are truly thankful for our heaven-sent mother-in-law.

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