Considering the mental distress and even psychological trauma that lead one to call it quits with a loved one, to say that the emotional cost of annulment in the Philippines is heartbreaking is an understatement. The long and painful road process of nullifying one’s marriage also ends with significant monetary cost.
The dissolution of marriage, in a nutshell, is a court process that nullifies a marital union between a husband and wife. As per the data gathered by the Office of the Solicitor General, there were 11,135 annulment cases filed in 2014 alone.
What are the legal grounds to file for nullity of marriage?
Marriages do not work out for a myriad of reasons. However, not all conjugal relationships that turn sour are automatically qualified to be nullified via an annulment. Even if you look at the cheapest annulment package in the Philippines, you will find that it’s not as simple as filing, paying, and walking away. There are certain reasons that the law validates an appeal for such.
The most common reason is in the case of bigamous or polygamous marriages. Another common reason is psychological incapacity to comply with marital obligations. Physically incapacity of consummating the marriage, being afflicted with a grave sexually-transmissible disease, and being in an incestuous relationship are also valid grounds for annulment.
According to the Manila Times, other legal grounds include: either party being below 18 years of age even with parental consent; marriages solemnized by a person not legally authorized and without a license; marriage contracted through a mistake made by one contracting party as to the identity of the other.
What are the steps of an annulment process?
The preliminary step is to file a Petition for Annulment of Marriage at the Regional Court’s Office of the Executive Clerk of Court to raffle a case schedule. The office will issue a Summon to the other party to file a response to the petition.
Then, a pre-trial conference will be set which requires the appearance of both parties, and a schedule of actual trial proceedings will follow.
What is the cost breakdown of an annulment in the Philippines?
According to an interview attorney Raymund Fortun gave on an episode of Bawal Ang Pasaway Kay Mareng Winnie, the average cost of annulment is P450,000 if the case is uncontested by the other party. But the prices can go up to seven figures if the other party acts to contest.
What are you paying for?
Why are you paying?
How much are you paying?
This is the cost of a law firm will collect for taking on your case. The bigger the firm, the heftier the payment.
P80,000 and up
This covers the documents to be submitted such as affidavits, petitions, briefing etc. Conservatively, it takes 10 pleadings and up.
P5,000 to P10,000
Aside from acceptance fees, the lawyer is paid for every scheduled hearing to occur. Some law firms, however, work with time charges instead.
P3,000 to P10,000
per court appearance
If filing on the grounds of psychological incapacity, a psychological evaluation from an expert will be required as proof. Additional fees are charged in cases a specialist testifies in the court.
P100,000 to P150,000
It is also noteworthy to mention that time is a consideration. The aforementioned amounts can rise if the case drags further and requirements are unsatisfied. Court schedules, availability of parties involved on a hearing date, as well as issues such as custody or property are therefore in play as well.
Important note: The above table only serves as a guide. It is important to consult a lawyer to calculate the actual costs.
Other sources: Blog of The Law Offices of De Borja, Lamorena, Duano, and Navarro, ABS-CBN.com, GMA Network.com, Attorney.org, Website of ChanRobles Law Firm