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Divorce & Annulment Basics by Country

DivorceIf you are applying for a K1 visa or CR1 visa, you will need to prove that any of the petitioner’s and alien’s previous marriages have been legally terminated through annulment or divorce. All documents must be certified by the appropriate civil authorities.

Hunting down the proper documentation to prove annulment or divorce can be frustrating, and the process of terminating marriages can also be difficult. This page is a resource for the basics of the process in our most popular 9 origination countries.

Philippines-Flag-24-RapidVisa.comDivorce & Annulment in the Philippines

Where to obtain annulment decrees in the Philippines: 

 Philippine Statistics Authority

Divorce in the Philippines

The Philippines is the only country other than the Vatican that divorce is illegal. Except for Muslims, who can qualify for divorce under certain rare circumstances, there is no process for legal divorce in the Philippines.

Source: House Bill 1799 

Annulment in the Philippines

Getting an annulment starts with hiring a Philippine lawyer. The process can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 and commonly take between 6 months and 4 years if successful.

Certain grounds must be met to qualify for annulment including but not limited to absence of marriage license, incest or psychological incapacity.

Resources: Philippine e-Legal Forum, A. M. NO. 02-11-10-SC

China flag iconDivorce & Annulment in China

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in China: 

 Ministry of Civil Affairs

Divorce Between Two Chinese Nationals

Divorce can be achieved either by agreement, or by litigation. If both parties agree to the terms, the divorce is likely to be fairly fast and painless. If the parties can’t agree to divorce terms, it will be decided by courts. Divorce can be filed at the local Chinese Marriage Registration Office, and if everything is in order, you could have your divorce certificate within 30 minutes.

Divorce Between Chinese and Foreign Nationals

Chinese Hukou Book (Source)

Chinese Hukou Book (CC: Source)

Divorce procedures vary from province to province, so be sure to check with the local register on the procedures of your divorce. Generally, to get a divorce from a non-Chinese person, you visit the Division of Foreign-Related Marriage Registration at the local Civil Affairs Bureau to file for divorce.

While the Division of Foreign-Related Marriage Registration and Chinese Marriage Registration Office are different divisions under the local Civil Affairs Bureau, the divorce procedures are generally the same.

You will need to bring along your marriage certificate as well as a divorce agreement signed by both parties, IDs and passport(s). You will also need the Chinese national’s Hukou book.

Source: Beijing International 

Annulment in China

A marriage in China can be voided if it meets one of four circumstances. These include bigamy, consanguineous marriage, certain illnesses, or marrying before matrimonial age.

RapidVisa’s Family Law Firm in China: Chibridge Law Firm

Colombia flag iconDivorce & Annulment in Colombia

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in Colombia: 

Divorces by Mutual Consent: Notary Public

Divorces by Cause: Juzgados de Familia

Annulments: Tribunal Eclesiástico 

Divorce in Colombia

If both parties agree, a divorce can move fairly quickly. If the parties are not in agreement, a divorce may be granted by a judge if one of the following circumstances is met:

  • Extramarital affair
  • Serious breach of spousal or parental obligations (e.g. parenting; food; school)
  • Outrages of verbal or physical abuse
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Drug addiction (Other than prescriptions)
  • Severe mental or physical disease
  • Conduct leading to the bad influencing of, or corruption of a household member
  • Separation of two years or more

Source: Divorcio en Colombia

Annulment in Colombia

If the marriage was civil, annulment can made made on the following grounds:

  • There is an error regarding one or both spouses.
  • One or both spouses are under 14 years of age.
  • When one or both the spouses did not or could not consent.
  • Is entered into under duress… unless the spouses expressly agree to it later or cohabitate without complaint.
  • When the woman was forced to consent as the victim of a kidnapping… unless she agrees to it later.
  • When one of the spouses is involved in the murder of the other’s previous married partner.
  • When the spouses are brother/sister or one descends from the other directly.
  • When the marriage is between an adoptive parent and their adopted child.

Source: EnColombia

If the marriage was Catholic, annulments can be granted through a tribunal process by the Catholic Church in circumstances where the marriage was invalidly contracted. See “Declaration of Nullity“.

Mexico flag iconDivorce & Annulment in Mexico

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in Mexico: 

Registro Civil

Divorce in Mexico

The grounds for divorce in Mexico include:

  • Mutual consent
  • Adultery
  • Pregnancy caused by another man
  • Pimping out your spouse (Receiving funds for sex of the other partner)
  • Incitement to violence made by one spouse to another to commit a crime
  • Immoral acts committed in order to corrupt the children
  • Having any chronic or incurable disease that is contagious or hereditary
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Separation of at least six months
  • Declaration of absence (Presumption of death)
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Serious breach of spousal or parental obligations (e.g. parenting; food; school)
  • Slanderous accusation that resulted in at least 2 years in prison
  • Committed a crime (other than political) that resulted in 2 years of imprisonment
  • Excessive gambling, drug or alcohol abuse
  • Abuse of the children

Source: Justia

Annulment in Mexico

Annulments can be granted through a tribunal process by the Catholic Church in circumstances where the marriage was invalidly contracted. See “Declaration of Nullity“.

UK FlagDivorce & Annulment in the United Kingdom

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in the United Kingdom: 

 Gov.UK

Divorce in England & Whales

If a marriage is at least 1 year old and has “irretrievably broken down”, it can qualify for divorce. According to the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973, a marriage is deemed irretrievably broken down if one of the following has been established:

  • Adultery
  • Two years of desertion
  • Unreasonable behavior (e.g. abuse or excessive drinking)
  • Separation (2 years for an agreed divorce, 5 years for a contested divorce)

If everything goes smoothly, a divorce in the UK usually takes about 6 months.

Annulment in England & Whales

Annulment is an option in cases where the marriage is under a year to three years old and is determined void or voidable.

A marriage qualifies as “void” if:

  • The parties are close relatives (incest)
  • Either party was under age 16
  • Either party was already married
  • The marriage was polygamous

A void marriage is treated as if it never happened, because technically it was not legally allowable in the first place.

A marriage qualifies as “voidable” if:

  • There was a lack of consent to the marriage
  • The marriage was not consummated due to willful refusal or incapacity
  • There was an undisclosed sex change
  • There was an undisclosed venereal disease
  • There was an undisclosed pregnancy
  • A party has a mental disorder

Source: FindLaw UK

Dominican Republic flag iconDivorce & Annulment in the Dominican Republic

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in Dominican Republic: 

Oficialía del Estado Civil

Note: Dominican civil documents used for visa purposes must be legalized at the Oficina Central del Estado Civil, the main civil registry office in Santo Domingo.

Divorce in Dominican Republic

Divorce by mutual agreement constitutes the majority of divorces in Dominican Republic. Divorce by cause can be on the following grounds:

  • Incompatibility
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment of the home
  • Great harm caused by one to the other
  • Alcoholism or drug addiction
  • Criminal conviction
  • Absence of either spouse

Annulment in Dominican Republic

Annulments can be granted through a tribunal process by the Catholic Church in circumstances where the marriage was invalidly contracted. See “Declaration of Nullity“.

brazil flagDivorce & Annulment in Brazil

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in Brazil: 

 Notary

Divorce in Brazil

If both parties mutually consent to the divorce, and there are no underage children involved, it can be performed by a notary and completed in as soon as a few weeks.

If both parties are not in agreement about the divorce, one party can apply in court. A judge can then hear the case and rule on a divorce. This is usually around a 4 month process.

Annulment in Brazil

Annulment can be granted for cases including but not limited to if the marriage was invalid, one spouse had an undisclosed disease like Aids, or if one of the partners was already married.

Ukraine flag iconDivorce & Annulment in Ukraine

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in Ukraine: 

 The district or regional state registration of civil status office where the divorce was performed

Divorce in Ukraine

In Ukraine, marriage is “free will”. This means either party may divorce for any reason with or without consent of the other party. If the divorce is mutual, it can be performed by the State Civil Registrar. Property distribution may be determined by a court if not agreed upon. Generally a divorce takes between one and three months in Ukraine.

Unless your spouse became disabled or retired during the marriage, spousal maintenance, or alimony, is not imposed in Ukraine.

Annulment in Ukraine

Annulment is available if the validity of the marriage can be called into question by certain considerations such as incest, mental or physical disease, previous undissolved marriage rendering the marriage illegal, etc.

Sources: DIU; HG Legal Resources

Vietnam flagDivorce & Annulment in Vietnam

Where to obtain divorce or annulment decrees in Vietnam: 

 The specific court that granted the divorce

Divorce in Vietnam

Divorce can be filed under the following grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment
  • Insanity
  • Incurable disease
  • 2+ Years of abandonment
  • Incompatibility; They treat each other so bad they can no longer live together

Divorce in Vietnam is only granted by a judge if he determines the conjugal life cannot go on. A court-appointed conciliation attempt will be made, even in cases where the divorce is by mutual consent. This is an attempt to see if there’s any way you can work out your differences before taking the ultimate step of divorce. If the conciliation fails, a divorce can be granted.

Annulment in Vietnam

If a marriage is deemed unlawful, it can be canceled.

Source: Vietnam Law & Legal Forum