Published 20 March 2023, The Daily Tribune
In the last article, we discussed the importance of venue and the 2023 Amendments to Section 4 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC (Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages) and Section 2(c) of A.M. No. 02-11-11-SC (Rule on Legal Separation). The Supreme Court en banc, likewise, approved the 2023 Amended Guidelines to Validate Compliance with the Jurisdictional Requirements in Petitions for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Marriage and Annulment of Voidable Marriage or Petitions for Legal Separation (2023 Amended Guidelines).
The salient portions of the 2023 Amended Guidelines are discussed below:
Required contents and documents attached to the Petition
With respect to the contents of the petition, the petitioner shall state the complete address of the parties (i.e., house number, street, purok/village/subdivision, barangay, zone, town, city and province).
For this purpose, the petitioner shall attach the following documents: (a) sworn certification of residency by the petitioner; (b) sworn statement of counsel of record; and (c) supporting documents to prove residency.
The sworn statement of counsel of record must state that:
The petitioner shall submit any but not limited to the following supporting documents to prove residency:
Under the 2023 Amended Guidelines, the documents described above are not required when:
a. Violence against his or her person or their children;
b. Drug addiction or other criminal activity;
d. Infidelity; and
e. Failure to provide support.
However, the petitioner must cite the reason/s in the verification attached to the petition and detail the same in the petition.
The 2023 Amended Guidelines added that if both parties to the petition are residing abroad for employment, business, education, or any other purpose, the following documents shall be attached to the petition:
A. Sworn certification from the appropriate Philippine Consulate. The petitioner shall submit a sworn certification from the appropriate Philippine Consulate that the petitioner is temporarily residing abroad for employment, business, education, or any other purpose;
B. Supporting Documents. The petitioner shall attach any sufficient proof of the habitual place of residence of any of the parties or the place where they last resided as husband and wife; and
C. Sworn statement of counsel of record. A sworn statement of counsel of record stating that he or she has sufficiently explained to the petitioner the rationale for the residency requirement for purposes of venue and the consequences of non-compliance therewith.
Dismissal of the petition
An additional ground for dismissal of the petition under the 2023 Amended Guidelines is if the petitioner falsely claims the exemption from the residency requirement.
The 2023 Amended Guidelines provide that at any stage of the proceedings where it appears that that the reason/s cited in the verification for exemption is/are proven false, the court shall, after notice and hearing, dismiss the petition and require the counsel of record to show cause why no appropriate sanctions be imposed upon him/her for submitting a false affidavit of verification.