I have been married to my wife for almost 10 years. During this time, I have witnessed her irresponsibility as a mother and wife. She was engaged in illicit relationship, first with her boss and then with her co-employee. I can no longer count the times that we have quarreled about this matter, since she has found ways to have an affair with other men.
My friend whose marriage was already voided by the court told me that I should file a case so that my marriage will be annuled, and all I need is the testimony of a psychiatrist finding my wife psychologically incapacitated. I would like to know if this is true.
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage is governed by Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which states, “A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”
It is not safe to say that the testimony of an expert witness or psychiatrist alone shall be sufficient to establish psychological incapacity. What should be considered is the totality of the pieces of evidence to arrive at a conclusion that any spouse is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. This finds support in the case of Mendoza vs Republic of the Philippines(G.R. No. 157649, November 12, 2012), where the Supreme Court said, “In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, the actual medical examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with only if the totality of evidence presented was enough to support a finding of his psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the presentation of any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would have automatically ensured the granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was the “presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party’s psychological condition,’ as the court said in Marcos. But where, like here, the parties had the full opportunity to present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity, then the opinions should be presented and be weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages. It bears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceeding.”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
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