NEW RULE ON
ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID MARRIAGES
OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES
(Supreme Court A.M. N0. 02-11-10)
Section 1. Scope.– This
Rule shall govern petitions for declaration of absolute nullity of void
marriages and annulment of voidable marriages under the Family Code of the
The Rules of Court shall apply
Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages.–
(a) Who may file.–A
petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed
solely by the husband or the wife. (n)
(b) Where to file.–The
petition shall be filed in the Family Court.
(c) Imprescriptibility of
action or defense.–An action or defense for the declaration of
absolute nullity of void marriage shall not prescribe.
(d) What to allege.–A
petition under Article 36 of the Family Code shall specifically allege the
complete facts showing that either or both parties were psychologically
incapacitated from complying with the essential marital obligations of
marriage at the time of the celebration of marriage even if such
incapacity becomes manifest only after its celebration.
The complete facts should allege
the physical manifestations, if any, as are indicative of psychological
incapacity at the time of the celebration of the marriage but expert
opinion need not be alleged.
Petition for annulment of voidable marriages.–
(a) Who may file.–The
following persons may file a petition for annulment of voidable marriage
based on any of the grounds under Article 45 of the Family Code and within
the period herein indicated:
(1) The contracting party
whose parent, or guardian, or person exercising substitute parental
authority did not give his or her consent, within five years after
attaining the age of twenty-one unless, after attaining the age of
twenty-one, such party freely cohabitated with the other as husband or
wife; or the parent, guardian or person having legal charge of the
contracting party, at any time before such party has reached the age of
(2) The sane spouse who had no
knowledge of the other’s insanity; or by any relative, guardian, or person
having legal charge of the insane, at any time before the death of either
party; or by the insane spouse during a lucid interval or after regaining
sanity, provided that the petitioner, after coming to reason, has not
freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
(3) The injured party whose
consent was obtained by fraud, within five years after the discovery of
the fraud, provided that said party, with full knowledge of the facts
constituting the fraud, has not freely cohabited with the other as husband
(4) The injured party whose
consent was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence, within
five years from the time the force, intimidation, or undue influence
disappeared or ceased, provided that the force, intimidation, or undue
influence having disappeared or ceased, said party has not thereafter
freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
(5) The injured party where
the other spouse is physically incapable of consummating the marriage with
the other and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable,
within five years after the celebration of marriage; and
(6) The injured party where
the other party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found
to be serious and appears to be incurable, within five years after the
celebration of marriage.
(b) Where to file.–The petition
shall be filed in the Family Court.
Sec. 4. Venue.–The
petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where
the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months
prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent,
where he may be found in the Philippines, at the election of the
Sec. 5. Contents and form of
petition.–(1) The petition shall allege the complete facts
constituting the cause of action.
(2) It shall state the names
and ages of the common children of the parties and specify the regime
governing their property relations, as well as the properties involved.
If there is no adequate
provision in a written agreement between the parties, the petitioner may
apply for a provisional order for spousal support, custody and support of
common children, visitation rights, administration of community or
conjugal property, and other matters similarly requiring urgent action.
(3) It must be verified and
accompanied by a certification against forum shopping. The verification
and certification must be signed personally by the petitioner. No
petition may be filed solely by counsel or through an attorney-in-fact.
If the petitioner is in a
foreign country, the verification and certification against forum shopping
shall be authenticated by the duly authorized officer of the Philippine
embassy or legation, consul general, consul or vice-consul or consular
agent in said country.
(4) It shall be filed in six
copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the Office of
the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor,
within five days from the date of its filing and submit to the court proof
of such service within the same period.
Failure to comply with any of
the preceding requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal of the
Sec. 6. Summons.–The
service of summons shall be governed by Rule 14 of the Rules of Court and
by the following rules:
(1) Where the respondent
cannot be located at his given address or his whereabouts are unknown and
cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry, service of summons may, by
leave of court, be effected upon him by publication once a week for two
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines
and in such places as the court may order. In addition, a copy of the
summons shall be served on the respondent at his last known address by
registered mail or any other means the court may deem sufficient.
(2) The summons to be
published shall be contained in an order of the court with the following
data: (a) title of the case; (b) docket number; (c) nature of the
petition; (d) principal grounds of the petition and the reliefs prayed
for; and (e) a directive for the respondent to answer within thirty days
from the last issue of publication.
Sec. 7. Motion to dismiss.–No
motion to dismiss the petition shall be allowed except on the ground of
lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the parties;
provided, however, that any other ground that might warrant a dismissal of
the case may be raised as an affirmative defense in an answer.
Sec. 8. Answer.–(1) The
respondent shall file his answer within fifteen days from service of
summons, or within thirty days from the last issue of publication in case
of service of summons by publication. The answer must be verified by the
respondent himself and not by counsel or attorney-in-fact.
(2) If the respondent fails to
file an answer, the court shall not declare him or her in default.
(3) Where no answer is filed or
if the answer does not tender an issue, the court shall order the public
prosecutor to investigate whether collusion exists between the parties.
Sec. 9. Investigation report of
public prosecutor.–(1) Within one month after receipt of the court order
mentioned in paragraph (3) of Section 8 above, the public prosecutor shall
submit a report to the court stating whether the parties are in collusion
and serve copies thereof on the parties and their respective counsels, if
(2) If the public prosecutor
finds that collusion exists, he shall state the basis thereof in his
report. The parties shall file their respective comments on the finding of
collusion within ten days from receipt of a copy of the report. The court
shall set the report for hearing and if convinced that the parties are in
collusion, it shall dismiss the petition.
(3) If the public prosecutor
reports that no collusion exists, the court shall set the case for
pre-trial. It shall be the duty of the public prosecutor to appear for the
State at the pre-trial.
Sec. 10. Social worker.–The
court may require a social worker to conduct a case study and submit the
corresponding report at least three days before the pre-trial. The court
may also require a case study at any stage of the case whenever necessary.
(1) Pre-trial mandatory.–A
pre-trial is mandatory. On motion or motu proprio, the court shall set the
pre-trial after the last pleading has been served and filed, or upon
receipt of the report of the public prosecutor that no collusion exists
between the parties.
(2) Notice of pre-trial.–(a)
The notice of pre-trial shall contain:
(1) the date of pre-trial
(2) an order directing the
parties to file and serve their respective pre-trial briefs in such manner
as shall ensure the receipt thereof by the adverse party at least three
days before the date of pre-trial.
(b) The notice shall be served
separately on the parties and their respective counsels as well as on the
public prosecutor. It shall be their duty to appear personally at the
(c) Notice of pre-trial shall
be sent to the respondent even if he fails to file an answer. In case of
summons by publication and the respondent failed to file his answer,
notice of pre-trial shall be sent to respondent at his last known address.
Sec. 12. Contents of
pre-trial brief.–The pre-trial brief shall contain the following:
(a) A statement of the
willingness of the parties to enter into agreements as may be allowed by
law, indicating the desired terms thereof;
(b) A concise statement of
their respective claims together with the applicable laws and authorities;
(c) Admitted facts and
proposed stipulations of facts, as well as the disputed factual and legal
(d) All the evidence to be
presented, including expert opinion, if any, briefly stating or describing
the nature and purpose thereof;
(e) The number and names of
the witnesses and their respective affidavits; and
(f) Such other matters as the
court may require.
Failure to file the pre-trial
brief or to comply with its required contents shall have the same effect
as failure to appear at the pre-trial under the succeeding paragraphs.
Sec. 13. Effect of failure to
appear at the pre-trial.–(a) If the petitioner fails to appear
personally, the case shall be dismissed unless his counsel or a duly
authorized representative appears in court and proves a valid excuse for
the non-appearance of the petitioner.
(b) If the respondent has filed
his answer but fails to appear, the court shall proceed with the pre-trial
and require the public prosecutor to investigate the non-appearance of the
respondent and submit within fifteen days thereafter a report to the court
stating whether his non-appearance is due to any collusion between the
parties. If there is no collusion, the court shall require the public
prosecutor to intervene for the State during the trial on the merits to
prevent suppression or fabrication of evidence.
Sec. 14. Pre-trial
conference.–At the pre-trial conference, the court:
(a) May refer the issues to a
mediator who shall assist the parties in reaching an agreement on matters
not prohibited by law.
The mediator shall render a
report within one month from referral which, for good reasons, the court
may extend for a period not exceeding one month.
(b) In case mediation is not
availed of or where it fails, the court shall proceed with the pre-trial
conference, on which occasion it shall consider the advisability of
receiving expert testimony and such other matters as may aid in the prompt
disposition of the petition.
Sec. 15. Pre-trial order.–(a)
The proceedings in the pre-trial shall be recorded. Upon termination of
the pre-trial, the court shall issue a pre-trial order which shall recite
in detail the matters taken up in the conference, the action taken
thereon, the amendments allowed on the pleadings, and, except as to the
ground of declaration of nullity or annulment, the agreements or
admissions made by the parties on any of the matters considered, including
any provisional order that may be necessary or agreed upon by the parties.
(b) Should the action proceed
to trial, the order shall contain a recital of the following:
(1) Facts undisputed,
admitted, and those which need not be proved subject to Section 16 of this
(2) Factual and legal issues
to be litigated;
(3) Evidence, including
objects and documents, that have been marked and will be presented;
(4) Names of witnesses who
will be presented and their testimonies in the form of affidavits; and
(5) Schedule of the
presentation of evidence.
(c) The pre-trial order shall
also contain a directive to the public prosecutor to appear for the State
and take steps to prevent collusion between the parties at any stage of
the proceedings and fabrication or suppression of evidence during the
trial on the merits.
(d) The parties shall not be
allowed to raise issues or present witnesses and evidence other than those
stated in the pre-trial order. The order shall control the trial of the
case, unless modified by the court to prevent manifest injustice.
(e) The parties shall have five
days from receipt of the pre-trial order to propose corrections or
Sec. 16. Prohibited
compromise.–The court shall not allow compromise on prohibited
matters, such as the following:
(a) The civil status of
(b) The validity of a
marriage or of a legal separation;
(c) Any ground for legal
(d) Future support;
(e) The jurisdiction of
(f) Future legitime.
Sec. 17. Trial.–(1) The
presiding judge shall personally conduct the trial of the case. No
delegation of the reception of evidence to a commissioner shall be allowed
except as to matters involving property relations of the spouses.
(2) The grounds for declaration
of absolute nullity or annulment of marriage must be proved. No judgment
on the pleadings, summary judgment, or confession of judgment shall be
(3) The court may order the
exclusion from the courtroom of all persons, including members of the
press, who do not have a direct interest in the case. Such an order may be
made if the court determines on the record that requiring a party to
testify in open court would not enhance the ascertainment of truth; would
cause to the party psychological harm or inability to effectively
communicate due to embarrassment, fear, or timidity; would violate the
right of a party to privacy; or would be offensive to decency or public
(4) No copy shall be taken nor
any examination or perusal of the records of the case or parts thereof be
made by any person other than a party or counsel of a party, except by
order of the court.
Sec. 18. Memoranda.–The
court may require the parties and the public prosecutor, in consultation
with the Office of the Solicitor General, to file their respective
memoranda in support of their claims within fifteen days from the date the
trial is terminated. It may require the Office of the Solicitor General to
file its own memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the
State. No other pleadings or papers may be submitted without leave of
court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the case will be
considered submitted for decision, with or without the memoranda.
Sec. 19. Decision.–(1)
If the court renders a decision granting the petition, it shall declare
therein that the decree of absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall
be issued by the court only after compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of
the Family Code as implemented under the Rule on Liquidation, Partition
and Distribution of Properties.
(2) The parties, including the
Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be served with copies
of the decision personally or by registered mail. If the respondent
summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, the dispositive
part of the decision shall be published once in a newspaper of general
(3) The decision becomes final
upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice to the parties. Entry of
judgment shall be made if no motion for reconsideration or new trial, or
appeal is filed by any of the parties, the public prosecutor, or the
(4) Upon the finality of the
decision, the court shall forthwith issue the corresponding decree if the
parties have no properties.
If the parties have properties,
the court shall observe the procedure prescribed in Section 21 of this
The entry of judgment shall be
registered in the Civil Registry where the marriage was recorded and in
the Civil Registry where the Family Court granting the petition for
declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of marriage is located.
Sec. 20. Appeal.–
(1) Pre-condition.–No appeal
from the decision shall be allowed unless the appellant has filed a motion
for reconsideration or new trial within fifteen days from notice of
(2) Notice of appeal.–An
aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may appeal from the decision by
filing a Notice of Appeal within fifteen days from notice of denial of the
motion for reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall serve a copy
of the notice of appeal on the adverse parties.
Sec. 21. Liquidation,
partition and distribution, custody, support of common children and
delivery of their presumptive legitimes.–Upon entry of the judgment
granting the petition, or, in case of appeal, upon receipt of the entry of
judgment of the appellate court granting the petition, the Family Court,
on motion of either party, shall proceed with the liquidation, partition
and distribution of the properties of the spouses, including custody,
support of common children and delivery of their presumptive legitimes
pursuant to Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code unless such matters had
been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings.
Sec. 22. Issuance of Decree
of Declaration of Absolute Nullity or Annulment of Marriage.–(a) The
court shall issue the Decree after:
(1) Registration of the entry
of judgment granting the petition for declaration of nullity or annulment
of marriage in the Civil Registry where the marriage was celebrated and in
the Civil Registry of the place where the Family Court is located;
(2) Registration of the
approved partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, in
the proper Register of Deeds where the real properties are located; and
(3) The delivery of the
children’s presumptive legitimes in cash, property, or sound securities.
(b) The court shall quote in
the Decree the dispositive portion of the judgment entered and attach to
the Decree the approved deed of partition.
Except in the case of children
under Articles 36 and 53 of the Family Code, the court shall order the
Local Civil Registrar to issue an amended birth certificate indicating the
new civil status of the children affected.
Sec. 23. Registration and
publication of the decree; decree as best evidence.–(a) The prevailing
party shall cause the registration of the Decree in the Civil Registry
where the marriage was registered, the Civil Registry of the place where
the Family Court is situated, and in the National Census and Statistics
Office. He shall report to the court compliance with this requirement
within thirty days from receipt of the copy of the Decree.
(b) In case service of summons
was made by publication, the parties shall cause the publication of the
Decree once in a newspaper of general circulation.
(c) The registered Decree shall
be the best evidence to prove the declaration of absolute nullity or
annulment of marriage and shall serve as notice to third persons
concerning the properties of petitioner and respondent as well as the
properties or presumptive legitimes delivered to their common children.
Sec. 24. Effect of death of
a party; duty of the Family Court or Appellate Court.–(a) In case a
party dies at any stage of the proceedings before the entry of judgment,
the court shall order the case closed and terminated, without prejudice to
the settlement of the estate in proper proceedings in the regular courts.
(b) If the party dies after the
entry of judgment of nullity or annulment, the judgment shall be binding
upon the parties and their successors in interest in the settlement of the
estate in the regular courts.
Sec. 25. Effectivity.–This
Rule shall take effect on March 15, 2003 following its publication in a
newspaper of general circulation not later than March 7, 2003.