22 annulment cases a day filed last year: CBCP

Posted at 03/24/2011 10:33 PM | Updated as of 03/26/2011 1:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - An average of 22 annulment cases were filed every day last year, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Thursday.

Citing data from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), CBCP said 8,282 annulment cases were filed in 2010, more than a 40% rise from the 4,520 cases recorded in 2001.

"From 2001, the country had 4,520 cases and 8,282 in 2010. This brings a daily average of at least 22 cases filed every day," CBCP said in an article published on its website.

Psychological incapacity is a common ground for declaration of nullity or legal separation in the Philippines, CBCP said, citing a document from the OSG.

Other grounds include lack of authority from the solemnizing officer, bigamous or polygamous marriages, and marriages where one or both parties were below the marrying age allowed by law.

Rep. Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list has filed House Bill 3952 early this year, which seeks to recognize spousal violence, infidelity and abandonment as presumptive psychological incapacity.

Troubled couples in the Philippines turn to annulment, or the process of declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, which only terminates a bad marriage, an annulled union is treated as if it never existed.

More women filing for annulment

CBCP said that 61% of petitioners who filed for annulment last year were women, with 90% of them in their 20s and 4% in their 30s.

On the other hand, 70% of the men who filed for annulment were in their 20s, while 25% were in their 30s or 40s.

"The number of cases filed was lesser for both genders who are in their 40s or 50s," CBCP said.

CBCP also observed that the longer the union, the lesser chances of annulment.

About 35% of couples decided to end their union within the first 5 years of marriage. On the other hand, 26% of marriages that lasted for 5 years or more ended up in an annulment suit.

For marriages that lasted for more than 10 years, only 17% of them decided to have their marriage annulled.

“The study noted the longer the parties are married, the lesser chances of them seeking annulment of their marriage,” CBCP said.