Void And Voidable Marriages Distinguished

The Family Law of the Philippines distinguishes void from voidable marriages.  Void and voidable marriages differ on many aspects, starting from its nature, effects on the marriage, as well as  the remedy available to parties whose marriage fall under either of the categories.  Below are the comparisons between the two:

As to nature.  A void marriage is one that is considered inexistent from the start, as if no marriage transpired between the couple.  A voidable marriage is one that is valid until it is declared annulled by the courts.

As to the susceptibility of being ratified.  A void marriage cannot be ratified since there is no marriage to speak of.  A voidable marriage is susceptible of convalidation or ratification either by the free cohabitation of the parties or by prescription.

As to effect on property.  There is no community property but only a co-ownership in a void marriage.  On the other hand, an absolute community exists in a voidable marriage, unless there was a marriage settlement or prenuptial agreement defining the system that will govern property relations during the marriage.

As to effect on children.  In a void marriage, children are generally illegitimate, except:

  1. Those who were conceived or born before judgment of absolute nullity under Art. 36 (psychological incapacity as ground for nullity) has become final and executory;
  2. Those conceived or born of subsequent marriage under Art. 53 (without the partition and distribution of properties of the spouses and the delivery of presumptive legitimes of the children)

On the other hand, children born under a voidable marriage are legitimate if conceived before the grant of decree of annulment.

As to how marriage may be impugned.  A void marriage may be impugned both directly and collaterally and may be impugned even after the death of the parties.  A voidable marriage can only be attacked directly and may no longer be impugned after the death of a party.

Proper remedy available.  Declaration of Nullity of Marriage is the proper remedy in case the marriage is void.  Voidable marriages may be declared null through the remedy of annulment.

Is There Divorce In The Philippines?

There is no divorce in the Philippines.  With the recent ratification of divorce in Malta, the Philippines and the Vatican City remain as the only states in the world which do not support divorce.  The influence of the church is seen as reason for the continued ban on divorce in the Philippines.  The country is predominantly Christian, with 80% of them Roman Catholics.

Until there is divorce in the country, Filipinos are confined to using other remedies to sever their marriages.  Among those allowed are Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Annulment of Marriage.

Around the globe, termination of an existing marriage is the purpose of divorce.  The purpose is different with regard to Declaration of Nullity and Annulment of Marriage.

In Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, the purpose is to have the marriage declared non-existent from the start as if no marriage took place.  The grounds used for Declaration of Nullity involve the absence of any essential or formal requisite of marriage.

Annulment of marriage is resorted to in case there is a defect in any of the essential requisites of marriage.  Since the defects are susceptible of ratification, the marriage is considered to be valid until it is declared annulled by the courts.

Another remedy available in the Philippines is legal separation, although it is seldom resorted to by couples who have troubled marriages.  This is because legal separation does not actually dissolve the marriage but only allows the couple to be separate from bed and board.  Being so, each of the parties are not allowed to remarry after they are granted a separation decree.