The internet is abuzz with a recent announcement from the Vatican: Church annulment is now simplified, with bishops now empowered to judge the annulment cases themselves. What’s more, the process is made more affordable, if not for free, addressing the prohibitive costs of an annulment and therefore, making it available to anyone seeking to nullify his or her marriage.
Does this mean we no longer need costly lawyers and lengthy court hearings to annul a marriage? Let’s take a look at what family lawyer, Atty. Lorna Kapunan, has to say about this topic.
In her interview with DZMM, Atty. Kapunan emphasized on the difference between Church Annulment and Civil Annulment. The facts below were lifted from her interview and can be read in full here: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/09/13/15/how-much-does-annulment-cost
“Ang may legal consequence, ang may epekto, ay civil annulment. Kung nagpa-church annulment ka without a civil annulment, before the eyes of the law, may asawa ka pa rin.”
What does this mean?
According to Atty. Kapunan, a church annulment does not have the same effect as a civil annulment because of the principle of the separation of the Church and the State.
Therefore, kung gusto mong magpa-annul, you still have to undergo the civil processes. Unlike the church annulment, a civil annulment costs money. Lots of it.
Dahil sa term na “declaration of nullity of marriage”, an annulment is not just a legal conclusion. Kailangang ito ay conclusion ng isang eksperto. At dahil dito, kailangan mo din ng licensed psychologist o psychiatrist, bukod sa abogado mo. A psychologist or psychiatrist charges between P100,000 to P150,000 para sa annulment cases. Ang mga abogado naman ay maaaring mag charge ng at least P100,000 plus appearance fees.
Since there are few family courts, couples seeking annulment need to “wait in line”. Case hearing can only be as frequent as once every three or six months.
Based on my own research, speed on resolution is one of the Church’s main agenda in creating the reformed annulment processes. Especially for cases of spousal abuse and extramarital affairs, bishops are given the ability to fast-track the annulments. The entire process should be completed in 45 days after nominal and administrative fees have been settled. We all know na hindi ganito ang case sa civil annulment.
May mga pagkakaiba din sa listahan ng grounds for civil annulment at ng church annulment. It is interesting to explore this topic para makita kung gaano kalayo o kalapit ang ideas ng church at ng state pagdating sa kasal at paghihiwalay ng mag-asawa. I will blog about this soon, watch out for that.
Sa usaping kasal at annulment, hindi nawawala ang mga documents. At isa sa mga pinaka importanteng document na kailangang meron ka para ma-prove na ikaw ay single, hindi pa nakasal, or nakasal noon pero annulled na ngayon, ay ang CENOMAR. It pays to have a ready copy of this important document. My friend had hers delivered by ordering online at www.nsohelpline.com. Kung hindi ka naman comfortable sa online ordering, pwede mo din silang tawagan sa (02) 737-1111.
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