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Annulment vs divorce what is the difference?

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Annulment vs divorce: What is the difference?

The divorce bill is already in congress, the possibility of divorce in the Philippines is getting closer. But, what exactly is the difference between annulment vs divorce?

image from Google

Now that the divorce bill has been officially introduced in the Philippine congress, people have many questions (and opinions). What is the difference between annulment vs divorce in the Philippines? And why is this necessary if the law can be separated no matter what?

Let's discuss divorce first

Divorce is a legal order that ends in marriage before the death of anyone in the couple. In the divorce court proceeding, the court addresses the following issues:

Child custody

Dividing properties

Providing alimony

After the divorce is effective, both parties are no longer legally bound to each other. They are free to remarry or start a domestic partnership with others.

Annulment vs divorce | Image from iStock

Difference between annulment vs divorce in the Philippines

Divorce recognizes and terminates a legal and valid marriage. Meanwhile, the annulment, once granted, no longer recognizes the former marriage because the court found that it was invalid from the outset.

For those considering annulment, we will repeat: A marriage annulment is a legal decree declaring a marriage to be void. The court gives the annulment to the spouses if their marriage has not been valid since the beginning.

The result is the same for both: the separation of the spouses. Both parties will be single and can participate in domestic partnership with any person.

In both cases, the court will be able to address issues related to custody of the child, child support, alimony, and the division of property.

Get to know divorce better

Assuming that divorce and annulment are legal options in the Philippines, it is important to know why divorce is considered instead of annulment. Specifically, divorce can be beneficial if:

There are children. Annulment means no merger took place. As such, issues such as custody and allowances are not included in the annulment proceedings. The law's view that no marriage occurred after the annulment was implemented can affect child custody and support proceedings.

There are proprietary divisions. Similarly, the division of ownership is not an issue in the annulment. But the fact that the marriage did not take place in the eyes of the law will affect the division of property in legal proceedings.

You do not qualify for annulment. In this case, the annulment process can be more expensive than divorce.

Annulment vs divorce | Image from Unsplash

Financial differences between divorce and annulment in the Philippines

When it comes to finances, the difference between the two is huge.

Marital property is usually divided equally according to the judge when it comes to divorce (if there is no proper prenuptial agreement). Any assets or debts acquired while married are recognized as marital property, but the law on how to divide them varies depending on where to divorce in the world.

Once the marriage is annulled, the court will usually return both parties to their original financial status before they get married. This means that what you give to the marriage will be lost when the marriage is annulled.


Best interests

If the ex-spouse acquired shared assets prior to the annulment, the situation can be complicated. The division of ownership is arranged as if two strangers buy it. If children are included, child support and custody agreements are arranged as in divorce.

If you are less financially capable than your spouse, it may be best to file for divorce. And if you have more property and can prove that the marriage should not have happened, filing for annulment will help reduce spending (especially on spouse support).

An annulment can also help a partner avoid liability for the partner's debt. Talk to the divorce attorney about the specific circumstances of your marriage to find out which of the two will be best for you.

The grounds for achieving annulment

The grounds for annulment vary depending on the area, but the separation of the spouses is usually achieved from one of the following reasons:

And the combination is…




occurred when one or both spouses were under the age of majority (parental consent in some cases)

occurred when one or both spouses were married or in a registered domestic partnership

result of coercion (intimidation, inappropriate influence), fraud, or physical or mental incapacity (madness)

occurred when one or both spouses were under the influence of alcohol or drugs

occurred when one or both spouses had STDs or, in the case of the man, impotent

Details of divorce and annulment in the Philippines

Although divorce is not yet permitted in the Philippines, there are some cases where a couple who divorces abroad (from a foreign spouse or former Filipino citizens) is recognized by Philippine law. You can read about divorce abroad here.

If abroad, you can file a petition for annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage. This is recognized by law.

However, marriage in the country where divorce is allowed is no different. Filipinos are subject to the prohibition of divorce based on the "nationality principle," even if they are married. There are divorce discussions related to Overseas Filipino Workers here.

Annulment vs divorce | Image from Freepik

Write on paper

For others, even if the marriage is invalid from the outset, it is still necessary for the court order to prove it in order to remarry. Why? Because entering into subsequent marriage without a court declaration means

(a) subsequent marriage is void / illegal and that

(b) both parties are likely to be charged with bigamy.

Some may think that they can get away with marriage because they do not have a marriage certificate. However, Justice Sempio-Dy said something about this in the Family Code of the Philippines.

“A marriage certificate is not an important or formal marriage requirement that without it the marriage is void.

The marriage in question is valid, and the failure to sign the marriage certificate or the solemnizing officer's omission to send a copy of the marriage certificate to the proper local civil registrar, does not invalidate the marriage.

"Also, the fact that there is no record of marriage, does not invalidate the marriage even if the requirements for its current validity are complete."

Divorce and annulment are better recognized in the Philippines

If you are still thinking about divorce and annulment in the Philippines, you can look at the basics of the law by going to the link: Divorce and Annulment in the Philippines (Laws).

If you have any questions when it comes to legal separation, divorce and annulment in the Philippines, you can read the question of others and the answer of the law professional in the following threads:

Frequently asked questions about Divorce, Annulment, and Legal Separation in the Philippines.

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