There are some instances in which married Filipinos who became a naturalized citizen in other country and have found a new love decide to file an annulment of marriage in his or her former spouse in the Philippines.
Filing for annulment of marriage is a long-term process and may take years before the court decision is granted. But, what if the petitioner was unable to appear in court? Is it possible to file for a non-appearance annulment in the Philippines?
Unluckily, as per the Family Code of the Philippines, a non-appearance annulment is not allowed. On the other hand, there are grounds in which the court may consider in determining the testimony of the petitioner who is outside the Philippines are as follows:
- If the witness is dead
- If the witness resides outside the Philippines
- If the witness is unable to testify or attend because of age, infirmity, imprisonment, or sickness
- If the party offering the testimony or the deposition is unable to get the attendance of the witness through subpoena
Considering those grounds mentioned above, it is clear that a non-appearance annulment is not allowed in the Philippines. The petitioner is required to personally appear during the pre-trial and during the oral testimony of the petitioner. The court also requires both parties to appear personally during the collusion hearing.
Therefore, anyone who plans to file an annulment in the Philippines, should keep in mind that the court does not grant an annulment if the petitioner is unable to appear personally in the court. Thus, you need to be careful if the lawyer told you that you file the petition without appearing in the court, otherwise you may end up having a fake annulment.
Keep in mind that ignorance of the law excuses no one.