Legal Separation in the Philippines.

Is legal separation allowed in the Philippines?

Yes, legal separation is allowed in the Philippines. The grounds, defenses, and effects of legal separation are provided for in the Family Code, particularly in Articles 55-67.

Can one remarry after legal separation?

No, a legally separated person cannot remarry. This is so because legal separation does not sever the marriage tie between the spouses. In other words, the spouses remain married to each other unlike when a marriage is annulled or declared void. This notwithstanding, the spouses are allowed by law to live separately.

Another effect of legal separation is that the property regime shall be dissolved and liquidated. Thus, Art. 63 (1) and (2) of the Family Code provides:

Art. 63. The decree of legal separation shall have the following effects:

(1) The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other, but the marriage bonds shall not be severed;

(2) The absolute community or the conjugal partnership shall be dissolved and liquidated;

x x x

What are the grounds for legal separation?

The grounds[1] for legal separation are provided below. Note must be taken that these are exclusive grounds which means that cases not found in the list cannot be invoked as grounds in a Petition for Legal Separation:

(1) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;

(2) Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;

(3) Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;

(4) Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;

(5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;

(6) Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;

(7) Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;

(8) Sexual infidelity or perversion;

(9) Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or

(10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.

What are the grounds for the denial of a Petition for Legal Separation?

In simple terms, the following are the grounds[2] for the denial of a Petition for Legal Separation:

(1) Condonation – which means the forgiveness [by the aggrieved party] of a marital offense constituting a ground for legal separation;[3]

(2) Consent – here, the aggrieved party has consented to the commission of the offense;

(3) Connivance – here, the parties have connived to the commission of the offense;

(4) Mutual wrongdoing – here, both parties have given ground for legal separation;

(5) Collusion – which means the agreement between husband and wife for one of them to commit, or to appear to commit, or to be represented in court as having committed, a matrimonial offense, or to suppress evidence of a valid defense.[4] The end goal is to obtain the decree of legal separation; and

(6) Prescription – the action for legal separation shall be filed within 5 years from the time of the occurrence of the cause.[5] If the filing is outside this period, the petition shall be denied by the court.

[1] Art. 55, Family Code. [2] Art. 56, Family Code. [3] Bugayong v. Ginez, G.R. No. L-10033, December 28, 1956. [4] De Ocampo v. Florenciano, G.R. No. L-13553, February 23, 1960. [5] Art. 57, Family Code.

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