International Legal Missions
Last month, I participated in the first and second International Legal Missions of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Pampanga Chapter of which I am one of the officers.
The first was held from October 4 to 5, 2014 at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong, while the second took place from October 18 to 19, 2014 at the Philippine Consulate General in Macau.
Our mission was to give our kababayans working abroad free legal in aid in the form of one-on-one consultation and lecture on relevant Philippine laws.
Both in Hong Kong and Macau, I am happy to share that we have accomplished our mission. We were able to serve about 300 kababayans, who were all smiles as they left the venue.
During the one-on-one legal consultations, most of our kababayans who were referred to me had asked about annulment of marriage.
Did this surprise me? No, because we were already told that this was one of the legal questions frequently asked.
But what really surprised me was that most of them still confuse legal separation with annulment of marriage.
They had this misconception that these two legal concepts actually refer to one and the same thing or have similar legal effects.
Whenever I am confronted with this kind of situation, I would right away tell those consulting me that legal separation is different from annulment of marriage.
I would then proceed by giving the basic distinction that lies between these two legal concepts, which, I believe, is an effective way of making everyone understand that they indeed pertain to two different things.
What then is the basic distinction between legal separation and annulment of marriage?
In legal separation, the marriage bonds are not severed. It merely permits separation from bed and board. As such, the parties cannot remarry.
In stark contrast, in annulment of marriage, the marriage is set aside. As such, the parties can remarry.