Venue of Petitions for Annulment or Declaration of Nullity

Here’s something that should keep everyone busy over the long weekend. One of the recurring issues in this forum, perhaps primarily because of the apparent increase in interest of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in annulment, is the proper venue of petitions for annulment or declaration of nullity. To address this issue, let’s consider the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages

Sec. 4. Venue.– The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner.

Sec. 5. Contents and form of petition. – xxx

If the petitioner is in a foreign country, the verification and certification against forum shopping shall be authenticated by the duly authorized officer of the Philippine embassy or legation, consul general, consul or vice-consul or consular agent in said country.

Residence connotes “actual residence” as distinguished from “legal residence or domicile.” It is the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person, actual residence or place of abode that signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. In other words, the possible venues for filing the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity are the following, at the option of the petitioner:

1. The province or city where the PETITIONER has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing.

2. The province or city where the RESPONDENT has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing.

3. In the case of a non-resident RESPONDENT, the province or city where he may be found in the Philippines.

Now, here’s the fun part — since this is a forum and discussions are most welcome in order to dissect points of law, let’s tackle the venue in the case of a Filipino staying abroad, even if on a non-permanent basis. Would that Filipino be considered as a non-resident, and, if so, is he/she left with the sole option of filing the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity at the province or city where the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing? Let’s complicate matters — what if the spouses have long been separated and each has no idea as to the actual residence of his/her spouse? Where, then, should the OFW file the petition? Let’s hear what students of law (and I use this term loosely to refer to law students and lawyers) have to say.

9 comments

  1. Opinion:

    On the 1st query: my answer would be on the affirmative. The Filipino is considered a non-resident Petitioner, The Law is very clear where….xxx…The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner…..xxx…has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing…xxx…. at the option of the petitioner (sec 4)., with his duly authenticated verification of certificate of Non Forum shopping from the duly authorized officer of the Philippine embassy…(sec
    5, requirement on non-resident petitioner)

    On the 2nd query:

    In case where petitioner is in a foreign country (be it be of permanent or temporary in character), the verification and certification against forum shopping shall be authenticated by the duly authorized officer of the Philippine embassy or legation, consul general, consul or vice-consul or consular agent in said country, so long that such petitioner file such petition in the Phillipine Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, at petitioners option.

    as quoted from you:

    In other words, the possible venues for filing the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity are the following, at the option of the petitioner:

    1. The province or city where the PETITIONER has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing.

    2. The province or city where the RESPONDENT has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing.

    3. In the case of a non-resident RESPONDENT, the province or city where he may be found in the Philippines.

    1. Your answer is not responsive to the question. The question assumes that the residence of the respondent cannot be determined since the spouses have been under a de facto separation for a long time.

      If the residence of the respondent for the last six months before the filing cannot be determined, then where do you file the petition?

      Moreover, if the petitioner have been residing abroad e.g. for two years, there is no way of determining his residence in the Philippines six months before the filing since he was out of the country six months prior.

      That is the big quandary, my friend.

  2. Hope it would be possible to inquire in this section….. Kindly advice the nearest location of the Family Court in Pasig or Cainta,

    Thank you

  3. pls help,

    WHAT IS THE VENUE IN FILING IN COURT A DECLARATION OF THE PRESUMPTIVE DEATH OF A SPOUSE? IS IT:

    A) THE LAST KNOWN ADDRESS OF THE PRIOR SPOUSE?
    B) ADDRESS OF THE PETITIONER?
    C) COUPLES RESIDENCE?
    D) OTHERS

    PLS INCLUDE LEGAL BASIS AND JURISPRUDENCE/ DECIDED CASES.

    THANKS

  4. Please do some research. You can find the answers in your civil procedure book and on the net. It’s a good training for your legal research knowledge. Good luck!!!

  5. Hi,

    Could you pleas let me know where and how can I apply for Declaration of Nulity, I am OFW for 6 years now. MY marriage is void because I was married for 2nd. I got the marriage contract from first wife. 2005 is the last year we are together. I don’t know where he lives now is there any possibility to have a case even though I don’t know where he is?

  6. can you consider the ancestral house as residence of a petitioner in an action for nullity of marriage?

  7. Atty direct to the point na po ako, hindi ko alam saan ang address ng asawa ko hiwalay kami may isang anak. Dahil sa wala akong trabaho at magulo ang utak noong maghiwalay kami way back 2007 binigay ko sa kanya ang pangangalaga ng bata. Lahat ng meron kami binigay ko sa kanya, tapos dinala nya ang bata sa mga magulang nya noon may work na ako support ako sa bata kahit bawal sa akin ang makita sya which is hindi namin pinag usapan dati.

    Ngayong wala na ang nanay pati pag uusapin namin inalis nya, tapos nakita na maayos na ang buhay ko at ang dating bahay na sira sira, pinaayos ko na sa tulong mga sponsors, panay na tawag uli sa support ko, tapos ayaw ko kase decide na din ako na work muna abroad para, gusto na din nya dalhin sa akin ang bata, honestly atty, networking ako which is bf ko ang maari wala sana akong balak mag file nang annulment kase maliit pa ipon ko pero dahil panay masakit na salita na gamit ng x husband ko, naiisip na ng bf ko tulungan akong mag file nito at mag inquire ako magkano para mapaghandaan namin, hindi po ako mayaman kaya gusto kong malaman kung magkano para mapunuan namin ang ko lang. Saka nalang seguro labas ng bansa pag ok na annulment ko. Hindi alam saan exaclt sya sa bicol, pero doon kami kinasal. Valid ang kasal namin kahit mga relatives nya nagpakilala na gaurdian ko kase ayaw ng mother ko magsign sa parent consent, hindi rin kami ng seminar kase ayaw ko pa sana pakasal during that time, 19 yrs lang kase ako. Wala ni isa sa aking family ang dumating, tanging ako lang. Dahil sa buntis na ako, kaya pumayag na din ako, pero hindi kami dumaan sa counselling o kahit anong seminar kung paano inaayos ng parent nya ang lahat wala akong idea, pero legal ang kasal kase nasa NSO napo.

    Tanong ko po;
    Gaano katagal ang process para na annul kami? How much po ang package nito? Gusto ko po package na sya para alam kona mgakano. At mai provide narin namin ang lahat ng dapat. Hindi ko po alam ang case na dapat i file. My karapatan bang mag claim ang asawa ko sa bahay nato knowing lahat ng officers alam na ako lahat nagbabayad, kung magsalita sya masakit, ako natong nawalan pati makita ang bata ayaw nya, ako patong ginaganito nya, actually wala akong balak maghabol sa bahay ang akin lang mag bahay akong maiibigay sa bata someday, na walang habol ang maging anak nya sa second family. Atty need ko ng answer nyo asap po if ok lang, kahit alam kung busy kayo need ko kase malaman magkano, nang mahanda ko ng dapat. salamat po

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