I have been separated from my husband for almost 10 years now. During the time that we were still together, he displayed an unbearable attitude such that he felt jealous every time I would go home late. He also got jealous every time a man would go to our house until it came to a situation where such jealousy was extended to his brother who just came to visit us. Eventually, we got separated sometime in 2006. My question is, can I file an annulment of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity based from what I narrated?
The grounds for annulment of marriage are those provided under Articles 35, 36, 37 and 38 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Under Article 36 of the same code, 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.
In your situation, your separation for almost 10 years and your husband’s attitude of being jealous is not sufficient to declare him as psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. This finds support in the case of Republic of the Philippines vs Melgar (G.R. No. 139676, March 31, 2006), where the court said that:
“Further, no other evidence was presented to show that Eulogio was not cognizant of the basic marital obligations as outlined in Articles 68 to 72, 220,221, and 225 of the Family Code. It was not sufficiently proved that Eulogio was really incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological nature, and not merely physical. The Court cannot presume psychological defect from the mere fact of Eulogio’s immaturity, habitual alcoholism, unbearable jealousy, maltreatment, constitutional laziness, and abandonment of his family. These circumstances by themselves cannot be equated with psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the Family Code. It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make Eulogio completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.
At best, the circumstances relied upon by Norma are grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. As the Court ruled in Republic of the Philippines v. Molina, it is not enough to prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person, it is essential that he must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological, not physical, illness. There was no proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates a person from accepting and complying with the obligations essential to marriage” (Emphasis supplied).
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