Grounds for the Annulment of Marriage

It feels weird to be writing in more detail about annulment because, come to think of it, we should be writing more on how to save the marriage. Still, we cannot avoid discussing the matter because we deal with it on a daily basis at work and, besides, this is what the law provides. Spouses who are confronted with this reality should have a basic information on the grounds for annulment.

The grounds for annulment of marriage, as opposed to declaration of nullity (see related discussion), are provided in Article 45 of the Family Code. We shall have a brief discussion of each ground below, just to have a bird’s eye view of the grounds for annulment. Subsequent posts (and I hope we’ll have some spare time for this) will expand the discussion on each ground. Article 45 reads:

Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:

(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;

(2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party, after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or

(6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

1. Absence of Parental Consent

The lack of parental consent is a ground to annul a marriage, stated in sub-paragraph (1) of Article 45 of the Family Code. This ground is applicable only when either party is between the age of 18 and 21 at the time of marriage. While the lack of parental consent is a ground for annulment, the absence of parental advice is not.

Only the following could seek the annulment of marriage based on this ground: (1) The spouse whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of twenty one; OR (2) The parent or guardian or person having legal charge of the minor, at any time before his/her child reaches the age of twenty one.

2. Insanity

Article 45(2) of the Family Code provides that a marriage may be annulled if either party was of unsound mind. This ground may not be invoked, however, if the party of unsound mind, after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife.

Only the following may file the petition: (1) The sane spouse who had no knowledge of the other spouse’s insanity; by any relative, guardian or person having legal charge of the insane, in both cases at any time before the death of either party; OR (2) The insane spouse, during a lucid interval or after regaining sanity.

3. Fraud

Under Article 45(3) of the Family Code, a marriage may be annulled if the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife.

Only the injured party can file a petition, which must be within five (5 )years after the discovery of the fraud.

4. Force, Intimidation, Undue Influence

Article 45(4) of the Family Code provides that a marriage may be annulled  if  the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife.

Only the injured party can file the petition, which must be filed within five (5) years from the disappearance or cessation of the force, intimidation or undue influence.

5. Impotence

Article 45(5) of the Family Code provides that a marriage may be annulled if either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable.

Only the injured party (the one who is not impotent) can file the petition, which must be done within five (5) years after the marriage. [See also How to Prove Impotence]

6. Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)

Article 45(6) of the Family Code provides for annulment when either party was afflicted with a sexually transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Only the injured party may file the petition, which must be done within five (5) years after the marriage.

[As always, do not treat this as legal advice. You must consult a retained counsel to discuss the details of your case. For clients, please use the office contact details. Thank you.]

112 comments

  1. Ask ko lng po sana na pwede po pa na making ground for annulment young abandonment.. dalawa po anak nmin ng asawa ko.nung nanganak ako sa pangalawa mga 4 months pa yung baby pumunta po syang Manila to work.. sad fully nagkataon po sya ng babae doon at me dalawa din silang anak.sa mga panahon po na nasa Manila sya bibihira po sya magpapadala ng Pera.. sguro for 4 years mga 10k or less lang ipadala nya..then Hindi po sya nkita ng Hindi ko since 4 months old pa po nya iniwan.. ngayon po turning 10 years old npo yung bunso nmin.. at me another girlfriend na nman si ex..

  2. Atty. Gud day! I hope you can help me.
    Pde po ba ko mag file ng annulment and the same time file court case para s husband ko. Seaman po ksi sya.. this early 2016 ive found out that i have std.. i saw a picture and conversation with the girl he had relationship s barko.

  3. In my case po sir, we applied for a mass wedding but we diddnt attend the mass ceremony, result was our marriage certificate was blank signature in the LCRO, but when i applied for a certificate of marriage from PSA as advised by the lcr officer, someone signed our name (faked). What can i do to solve this sir? Thanks

    1. Your marriage is void because personal presence in the marriage ceremony is required.

      Art. 3 of the Family Code provides that the formal requisites of marriage are:

      xxx

      (3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.

      The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio (Article 4, Family Code).

      I suggest you file for declaration of nullity of marriage but you will be exposing yourself to criminal liability for falsifying legal documents. Then get married again.

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