This procedure is normally overshadowed by the popularity of annulment of marriage. Some even confuse the two procedures as the same.
What is Declaration of Nullity of Marriage?
Declaration of nullity is a decree from the Court wherein a marriage is declared void or not valid from the beginning.
What is the difference between Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Annulment of Marriage?
Declaration of Nullity covers void marriages while annulment deals only with voidable marriages. A void marriage means it does not exist from the start or its inception while a voidable marriage means that the marriage is valid until terminated by the court.
What are the grounds for the declaration of Nullity of Marriage?
The grounds can be found in several provisions of the Family Code. These are Articles 4, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 44 and 53 in relation to Article 52 of the Family Code.
What does Article 4 of the Family Code say?
This article says that the absence of any of the essential or formal requisites of marriage shall render such marriage void from the start, except as stated in Article 35 (2).
What does Article 35 of the Family Code say?
This article enumerates marriages considered void from the beginning, these are:
1. Those contracted by any party below 18 even with the consent of parents or guardians.
2. Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so.
3. Marriages solemnized without a license, except those marriages exempt from license.
4. Bigamous or polygamous marriages except in cases of valid bigamous marriage under Article 41.
5. Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other.
6. Subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.
How about Article 36?
This article defines “psychological incapacity”. This article says that a marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage shall also be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after the celebration of marriage.
What does Article 37 of the Family Code say?
This article refers to incestuous marriages. It provides that marriages between
1. Ascendants and descendants of any degree; and
2. Between brothers and sisters, whether of full or half blood
Shall be void from the beginning, whether the relationship between the parties be legitimate or illegitimate
What does Article 38 provide?
This article enumerates the type of marriages that are void for reasons of public policy:
1. Between collateral blood relatives, whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree
2. Between step-parents and step-children
3. Between parents-in-law and children-in-law
4. Between the adopting parent and the adopted child
5. Between the surviving spouse of the adopting parents and the adopted child
6. Between the surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter
7. Between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter
8. Between the adopted children of the same adopter
9. Between parties where one, with the intent to marry the other killed that other person’s spouse or his or her own spouse.
What does Article 40 say?
It says that subsequent marriage without judicial declaration of nullity of the previous marriage is in itself void from the start. Thus even if your previous marriage is void, you cannot enter into a subsequent marriage without a prior court declaration that your marriage is void, if you do so without such court declaration, your next marriage will also be void.
How about Article 41?
It provides that a marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead.
What does Article 44 provide?
It says that if both spouses of the subsequent marriage acted in bad faith, said marriage shall be void from the start. This means that if only one spouse is in bad faith, the marriage shall still be valid since the law requires that both spouses be in bad faith in order for the marriage to be declared void.
What does Article 53 say regarding void marriage?
This article of the law says that if there is no compliance with the requirements of Article 52 of the Family Code, the subsequent marriage shall be null and void.
Is it possible that some of these grounds co-exist with the other?
Yes, it may happen. For example a person may claim that his or her marriage is void because consent was given not in the presence of the solemnizing officer but through the use of proxies and that the other party was psychologically incapacitated during the celebration of marriage.