• Inability to take on basic marital obligations a ground for annulment

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    dearpao
    Dear PAO,
    I was only 19 when I got pregnant and was forced to marry the father of my child. We were separated for almost three years. I left my husband because he is very irresponsible.

    After four years of being together, someone helped him to get a job in a lending firm where he started as a utility. Later on, they taught him how to drive a motorcycle, got a license; in short everything was spoon fed. I was of course very happy for him because a very big opportunity was given to someone like him who only finished 3rd year high school. After almost two years of being a collector, it was found out that he stole money from his collections from time to time and has reached almost P30,000. Until then, he was suspended, and wasn’t given any chance to work anymore.

    After two months of being jobless, I found out that he was into drugs and women which could be the reason why he got all the money. I left him because his family was also dependent on me since they knew that I am engaged in business. I want to move on, which I believe I deserve. I believe that during the time of my marriage I was not capable of making the right decision.

    My question is, do I have a ground for annulment against my husband? How about his case of stealing money from that company?
    Thank you,
    Ms. G

    Dear Ms. G,
    Drug addiction, alcoholism, commission of a crime and sexual infidelity are not grounds for annulment or the declaration of nullity of marriage. They may be nuisance in the married life of a couple but these are not grounds for the annulment of or the declaration of nullity of their marriage. At best, the same may give rise to the filing of a Petition for Legal Separation as these are the grounds mentioned by law for the same.

    Nevertheless, taking into account the totality of your husband’s behavior ever since you were married, it appears that your husband is suffering from psychological incapacity. If this is established in court, then your marriage to your husband shall be declared null and void. This is according to Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines which provides:

    “Article 36. 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 incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”

    The Supreme Court in the case of Republic of the Philippines vs. The Hon. Court of Appeals (Ninth Division), and Eduardo C. De Quintos, Jr. (G.R. No. 159594, November 12, 2012) had the occasion to explain the term psychological incapacity in this wise:
    “Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations, and is not merely the difficulty, refusal, or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will. It consists of: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (b) the inability must refer to the essential obligations of marriage, that is, the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, and the procreation and education of offspring; and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. Proving that a spouse failed to meet his or her responsibility and duty as a married person is not enough; it is essential that he or she must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness.”

    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 guide you with our opinion on the matter.

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