Weddings are notoriously expensive, but there's a hidden cost for couples whose "forever" fails to last.
Philippine Statistics Office data shows that the number of people getting married have gone down from 492,666 in 2006 to 414,325 in 2015. Meanwhile, data from the Office of the Solicitor General shows 11,135 annulment cases were filed in 2014.
Correlation between the two data sets has not been established, but it has prompted a look into annulment or the declaration of marriage as null and void.
In an episode of "Bawal Ang Pasawa kay Mareng Winnie", lawyer Raymund Fortun and Pro-Divorce PH chair Asliyah Limbona reveal the price of getting annulled in the Philippines.
According to Fortun, the total cost is somewhere around P450,000.
This is assuming that the case is uncontested by the other party. Should the other party choose to challenge the case, the price can go up to seven figures.
Fortun said that he gave one of the lowest possible estimates, explaining that bigger firms may charge by the hour and the final bill could easily double the figure he gave.
Aside from the money, time is also a consideration. One of the longest cases he's handled was three years, due to several factors e.g. the court is busy, the judge was unavailable during a hearing date, et cetera. A typical case can last as long as a year and two months.
Fortun and Limbona pointed to the mandate of the Office of the Solicitor General to protect the sanctity of marriage as another factor complicating the process. Removing this mandate, Fortun said, means changing the constitution.
Improvements can be made, they said, in making more grounds for separation available, reducing the evidence needed, and a better system for the courts to handle annulment cases. — AT, GMA News