I have been married to Adrian for almost 10 years now, and have been separated from him since 2005. In the same year, he left our house without any reason. I only discovered lately that he has been living with his mistress somewhere in Pangasinan. I am now planning to file a case for either declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage. Is there a sufficient ground to annul or declare my marriage void?
The grounds for declaration of nullity of marriage are those found under Article 35 (void due to absence of any of the essential requisites of marriage), Article 36 (psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations), Article 37 (incestuous marriages), and Article 38 (void from the beginning for reasons of public policy) of the Family Code of the Philippines, while the grounds for annulment of marriage are those found under Article 45 of the same code.
In your situation, there is no existing ground to annul or declare your marriage void. What is present is abandonment without justifiable cause for more than one (1) year or sexual infidelity. Both of which are grounds for legal separation under Article 35 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Other grounds for legal separation, mentioned below, are provided by Article 55 of the same Code, to wit:
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 judgement 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 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.
Partosa-Jo vs CA (G. R. No. 82606, December 18, 1992) discussed abandonment on this wise:“Abandonment implies a departure by one spouse with the avowed intent never to return, followed by prolonged absence without just cause, and without in the meantime providing in the least for one’s family although able to do so. There must be absolute cessation of marital relations, duties and rights, with the intention of perpetual separation. This idea is clearly expressed in the above-quoted provision, which states that “a spouse is deemed to have abandoned the other when he or she has left the conjugal dwelling without any intention of returning.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org