Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Church Annulment vs Civil Annulment

While the Roman Catholic Church may have made annulments easier and cheaper, it is only true for Church Annulments and not in Civil Annulments. Let us remind Filipinos that the Catholic Church (or any church or religious denomination for that matter) is a separate entity from the Republic of the Philippines. While the Church may grant annulments internally or within their own sphere involving their members, such annulments granted by said Church is not automatically binding upon the state.

The Roman Catholic Church has a separate proceeding for annulling marriages in accordance with Canon Law and not with Civil Law which is not binding upon the State (Republic of the Philippines).

The confusion lies with the terminology, most people are not aware that both entities, the Church as well as the State, have separate procedures in annulling marriages for various reasons as stated both in Canon Law and in Civil Law. Filipinos think that just because the Pope says it is relaxing its rules on annulments, the same goes with annulments in our civil courts.

While it is true that part of the Family Code of the Philippines involving Psychological Incapacity (Art. 36) is based on Canon 1095 of Canon Law (if one uses such a ground for annulling marriages as there are several), Jurisprudence as pronounced by the Supreme Court of the Philippines has this to say: (335 Phil. 664, 676-680 (1997)
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Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally -- subject to our law on evidence -- what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void.

This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and purpose of the Family Code provision, contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the Church -- while remaining independent, separate and apart from each other -- shall walk together in synodal cadence towards the same goal of protecting and cherishing marriage and the family as the inviolable base of the nation.


The reality therefor is that if one is able to secure a Church Annulment, such annulment is binding only upon the Church and must be proven based on the Rules of Evidence in order to be binding upon the whole world if pronounced by our Civil Courts. Said Church Annulments will not be automatically accepted by Civil Authorities.

Therefore, if you are able to secure a Church Annulment, one has to secure a Civil Annulment and use the pronouncements in the Marriage Matrimonial Council as one of your pieces of evidence so that your Civil Annulment may be granted, as stated earlier, while it is not binding upon our Civil Courts, said church annulment will be given great persuasive weight.

On the otherhand, if one is able to secure a Civil Annulment and you want to get remarried in the Roman Catholic Church, you must secure a Church Annulment. Presently, there are two uses for Church  Annulments in my humble opinion:

1. A church annulment may be used as evidence in a civil annulment which has great persuasive effect in annulling your wedding; secondly
2. A church annulment will allow you to be remarried in a Roman Catholic Church; provided that you are able to secure a Civil Annulment as well and have it recorded in the Civil Registry.


49 comments:

  1. Granting po na kaming mag-asawa ay annulled na sa church, pano po ang benefits namin as his immediate family? kami pa din po ba ang beneficiary niya like sa sss, philhealth, pag-ibig, allotment? dito po kasi ako naguguluhan eh. Sana po may makasagot, maraming salamat

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    1. Hi, Winnie: to answer your question, if you were able to secure a church annulment but you did NOT secure a civil annulment, in the eyes of the law you are still married to your spouse, hence, you and your children are still beneficiaries in SSS, PHIC, and PAG-IBIG. A church annulment without the corresponding civil annulment, does not terminate your marriage. My answer is based on the assumption that you were only able to secure a church annulment as you have not disclosed that you were able to secure a civil annulment.

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  2. tanong ko lng po atty.12 yrs na po ako hiwalay sa akin asawa ngyon po wala pa ako asawa or leave in partner.sya po diko po alam kung may kinakasama po.may anak po kami ng iisa kaso namatay po sya.wala namn po kmi bahay o ano man bagay na pwede paghatian po.free po ba pa annul po.sa simbahan po kmi kasal atty.tnx po atty .antay na lng po ako ng reply nyo sana po matulungan nyo po ako.ronald god bless atty.

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    1. Hi,it doesn't matter whether you were wed in a church or wherever, if you want to secure a church annulment please visit your diocese, no one will stop you. BUT I'd like to remind you, even if you are able to secure a CHURCH annulment, it does not automatically mean that your marriage is already annulled in the eyes of the law, you should also secure a CIVIL annulment. Please read the article.

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  3. Good pm atty. Mag pafile po ako ng annulment sa church at civil... after ma approved sa church pwd po ba ako magpakasal. then after ng kasal saka po mag file ng civil annulment pwd po ba un... pag kinasal po ba ako sa church mapapalitan po ba ung apilyido ng babae salamat po

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    1. In answer to your question, the kind of annulment that will allow you to re-marry is the CIVIL Annulment and NOT the Church Annulment. If you get re-married after your church annulment, your second marriage will be BIGAMOUS and void unless you have secured a CIVIL ANNULMENT. What is important in our jurisdiction is the CIVIL ANNULMENT. A church annulment is a mere scrap of paper if you do not get a civil annulment.

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  4. What if nagfile na for civil annulment both parties agreed pero walang funds kaya hindi matuloy yung process and na grant yung church annulment hndi pa rin pwede ikasal sa iba?? Kasi para san pa ang church annulment kng technically wala naman palang use we thought makakatulong na sya sa mga filipinos na walang funds pero matagal na hiwalay at may kasama ng iba. Thank you

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    1. A church annulment will NEVER validate any subsequent marriage if a CIVIL annulment was not secured. A church annulment is not needed to secure a civil annulment, but the decision in a church annulment may be used as evidence to strengthen your claim in a civil annulment. Remember, a church annulment is only valid in church but not against the State. If you are able to secure a church annulment without going thru a civil annulment, your subsequent marriage will always be BIGAMOUS and VOID. It will never validate ADULTERY. Please read the article again as the answer to your question is found therein.

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  6. I'm married po both civil and church.Na grant na po annulment ko sa civil.I'm a Muslima now.Pwede po ba ako mag pakasal sa muslim boyfriend ko kahit d pa po annuled yung church wedding ko dati.Hoping for your advise.Thank you po attorney

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    1. You do not need to secure a church annulment. Your civil annulment is enough to allow to remarry. Please read the article.

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    2. atty what if magpachurch annulment ako nasa akin ung custody ng anak namin, just wat to secure lang my government benefits in case me mangyari sakin, pde ba ung maging basis para sa anak ko mapunta ung mga benefits ko?

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    3. Only a CIVIL ANNULMENT will rectify that. Not a church annulment. Read the article.

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  7. GoodEve po attorney, tanong ko lng po if mag file po ba ako ng church annulment at ma-approved pwede po ba ako mgpakasal sa ibang bansa, at pwede po ba mg file ng fiancee visa ang boyfriend ko pra makuha ako. Salamat po. Sna po masagot katanungan ko.. more power and God bless.

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    1. Read the article. Only a CIVIL ANNULMENT will allow you to remarry.

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  8. I am civilly married 1993 and live separately 2003. Do i have to still file a civil annulment? How many years are considered to be "annulled"?

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    1. You need to file a Petition in court to have your marriage annulled or declared null. There is no such thing as automatic annulment just because you are living separately for so many years already.

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  9. Gud eve atty. What if yung 1st marriage is a christian ryts and the husband remarries a girl who is an islam bliever, married with islam ryts. Is d second marriage valid considering that it is done with an islam ryts. Will d second marriage have d same ryts with d 2nd marriage such as claims for phic, pagibig, gsis etc.

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  10. Gud eve atty.. wat if d 1st marriage is a christian marriage and d husband remarries an islam believer in an islam ryts. Is d second marriage valid even d husband had converted to islam in order to marry an islam girl in an islam ryts. Is d 2nd marriage has d ryt to claim such phic, pagibig, gsis, etc.

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  11. good afternoon po, nung ngpakasal po kami ng ex husband ko pinakuha kami ng civil pero ang nagyari po eh no show kami at ngbayad lang ung asawa k, then pgkukuha ako ng marriage contract sa nso, ung church ang binibigay,how do i know kung valid ung civil namin kung no show kami.been separated for 6 yrs now

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  12. good fternoon po, kasal po kami ng ex husband ko sa church, pero before kami pakasal pinakuha kami ng civil but ngbayad nalang ung asawa ko at no show kami sa caloocan po, pg kumukuha po ako sa nso, church ang binibigay nila,pano ko po malalaman kung valid ung civil namin. salamat po.

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  13. atty.kasal po ako civil po mas madali po bang mag file ng annulment?

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    1. It's easy to file a petition in court (it could be costly) but the question is will the court agree with your legal bases in having your marriage nullified or declared void.

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  14. Hello Atty,i have been separated from my husband for 12 years.2009 i filed for an Annulment.after 3 years of waiting for the result my case was dismissed.because the judge in my case had bias against all annulments.my question now can i refile for annulment? Please inlighten me.thank you.Velma

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  15. Hello Atty,i have been separated from my husband for 12 years.2009 i filed for an Annulment.after 3 years of waiting for the result my case was dismissed.because the judge in my case had bias against all annulments.my question now can i refile for annulment? Please inlighten me.thank you.Velma

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    1. You can always refile your Petition after your original Petition was dismissed after you have secured a Certificate of Finality of Judgment from the Court.

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  16. Hi atty,bf ko kasal ng civil tanong kulang po madali lang ba mgpa annull ng civil,at pwedi ba kaming makasal sa church?

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    1. Depending on the grounds you will rely on for your Civil Annulment, it may take years before a Decision will be had. As regards your question on the possibility of being married in church after your Civil Annulment, please read the article.

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  17. Good day po! Do you have any idea how much the cost of Church annulment? Thanks po ng marami...:)

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    1. Sadly I have no idea how much a Church Annulment would cost. Please check with your Diocese.

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  18. Gud eve po atty.kayo lng po makakatulong s problema ko..ikakasal n po ako s church this coming january 28 2017 kaso d ko nmn po gusto yung pakkasalan ko(pinagkasundo)kumbaga,mahal ko po ang ex ko kaya po plan namin mgpakasal s civil before ako ikasal s church,tanong ko lng po maituturing po b n walang bisa ang kasal nmin s church kasi nauna ako ikasal s civil?ano po ang pede ikaso sakin if maghabol ang babae n pinakasalan ko s church?madadamay din po b ung ex ko s kaso if nagkataon?paano po mapapawalang-bisa ang pangalawang kasal if natuloy ung unang kasal??maraming-maraming salamat po s kasagutan atty..godbless po..

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    1. I will assume that you have all the necessary documents for your intended 1st marriage, hence, it will be valid.

      Your 2nd marriage will be void as it is considered bigamous. Bigamy is a criminal offense under Art. 349 of the Revised Penal Code which stataes, "The penalty of prision mayor (10 years & 1 day to 12 years of imprisonment) shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved xxxxx."

      I would suggest you use your discretion and common sense. If you don't want to marry the second woman, then don't. You are only complicating your life and in the process you are complicating the lives of other people around you.

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  19. Good morning po Attorney. May boyfriend po ako pero hiwalay na po sila. Kasal posila sa simbahan. Nandito po kami sa Saudi. Sila po ng wife nya both want their marriage nullified. Nakapagfile na po siya sa for church annulment. After po ma-grant ang church annulment nila,:
    1.pwede na po ba kami ikasal sa simbahan?
    2.kung ikinasal po kami sa simbahan, makukuha ko na po ba ang apelyido nya?
    3.kung ikinasal po kami sa simbahan, will it be considered bigamous marriage?
    4.may dapat pa po ba kaming i-accomplish na documents bago kami ikasal sa simbahan?
    5.after po ng church annulment at naikasal po kami sa simbahan, may habol parn po ba ang (ex)wife nya? If yes po, what do we need to do para po maiwasan un?
    6.mababago na po ba sa civil registry ang status ng marriage nila?

    Salamat po..

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    1. In answer to your questions:
      1. No. Please read the article as clearly you have not read it. A church annulment is only valid within the church and CANNOT cut the marital ties. A Civil Annulment is still required.
      2. No.
      3. Yes.
      4. Yes. Ask the church
      5. Yes. For Bigamy. You tell your partner to FILE the proper type of Annulment with the Courts, not with the church.
      6. No.
      Clearly you have not read the article. Please read it. A church annulment without the corresponding civil (court) annulment will not terminate the marital bond.

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  20. Hello this is for my research paper in school!
    Since muslim law is recognise by the state. if a women is divorced by her husband through talaq or muslim divorce, she is already divorced civilly? will she need to secure a civil annulment even if she was divorced already through muslim laws?

    in regards to this, can she remarry through civil laws but not through a catholic ceremony? (Since her ex husband and her were married as catholics in the church before converting to islam)

    i would just like to know if it is possible for her to get married again

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  21. The answer to your question can be found here -> https://psa.gov.ph/article/rules-and-regulations-governing-registration-acts-and-events-concerning-civil-status-muslim

    Any person can have a civil marriage as it is NOT the religious order/denomination that has authority to grant marriages but the State.

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  22. Hello po Atty! i was married to a US Citizen in the Philippines in Civil wedding. Unfortunately things didn't work out and we got divorced in US. Right after that i became a Naturalized US citizen. Is it possible for me to marry a Filipino citizen in the Philippines? Or am only allowed to marry him in US and petition for fiancee visa to get married?

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  23. Hi Atty. I would like to know if my boyfriend and I can have a church wedding once civil annulment with my ex-husband is granted? Or I still need to file for church annulment?

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    1. Please read the article. The answer is there.

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  24. Good morning. I have read through the article and I'm not sure if the answer to my question is there. Apologies for the question.

    Tanong ko lang po, can I take on a Church Annulment before a Civil Annulment?

    I understand the limitations of the Church Annulment, and I agree that getting a Church Annulment will have an impact once I a Civil Annulment. Gusto ko muna kasi unahin ang Chuch Annulment kasi mas mabilis ito kaysa sa Civil.

    Salamat po sa pag sagot.

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    1. It is not necessary nor is it even required to have a Church Annulment before your Civil Annulment, but you may do so at your option, but there are limitations. If your Church Annulment is granted, it may have a persuasive effect on your Civil Annulment, but it does not necessarily follow that the Court will agree with the Church Annulment. Good luck.

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  25. Atty. please help me to answer questions. Annulled na po ang asawa bago kami kinasal sa civil. Pero po we plan to get married po sa church. Ito po yung questions ko.
    1. Pwede na po ba kami ikasal ng asawa ko sa church kahit na hindi pa siya annulled sa church sa dati niyang asawa?
    2. What if din po yung asawa niya hindi pumirma kung mag fi file pa kami ng annulment sa church?
    3. Ilang buwan o rain kaya kami maghihintay atty sa annulment sa church?
    4. Necessary po ba na magfile pa kami ng church annulment? Kahit kasal na po kami sa civil?
    Please help me, atty.

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  26. Hi, The court granted our civil annulment, pero yung church hindi pa, pwede na ba kami magpapalit ng surname ng anak ko? tapos gawin ko na siyang illegitimate child? pwede pa din ba ipa-register ng asawa ko sa NSO yung church marriage license namin? baka may balak pa siya kunin yung anak namin.

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  27. hi Aaty. Ang fiance ko po ay annulled (civil) ikakasal na po kami this year. Kasal po sya dati sa simbaha. Sapat na po ba ang civil annulment na kinuha nya upan maging legal ang kasal namin? Or kailangan pa po nyang kumuha ng church annulment or pwede na rin po bang hindi na? Wala po ba itong magiging komplokasyon sa pag sasama namin ng legal?

    Thank you po.

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  28. Hi Atty. Ang fiance ko po ay annulled (na grant po ang civil annullment). Ikakasal na po kami this year. Ung dating kasal nya ay sa simbahan. Kailangan pa po ba nyang kumuha ng chirch annulment? Or pupwedeng hindi na po? Wala po ba itong magiging komplokasyon ito sa pag saaama namin ng legal? Magagamit ko po ba ang apleyido nya kahit pareho kami carholic? Ako ba ang lega na asawa kahit wala pong church annulment?

    Sana po mapa sin ninyo ang katanungan ko. Thank you.

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  29. after civil annulment has been granted, is there a need to get a church annulment even of we dont intend for the wedding to be in the catholic church? What are the legal impediments of not getting a church annulment if we are both roman catholics?

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  30. But after your civil annulment is granted, is it a must to have your church wedding annuled as well? Or it is NOT necessary anymore? Unless you want to get married in a catholic church?

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  31. Church annulments are useless unless Civil annulments are in effect. I wonder if good lawyers in Manila can also help me.

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