I had a whirlwind romance with my wife. We only met sometime in February of last year and got married in May. Now, we are living separately because I learned many things about her, like being such a spendthrift, and she nags if I do not give her money to go on shopping sprees. We are not rich and I am an ordinary office employee, so this is beginning to strain our finances. She also likes being with groups of men, which makes me really uncomfortable. She often claims that these men are only her “barkada.” Can I have our marriage annulled because I feel I was greatly defrauded? I would not have married her if I only knew earlier about these negative traits of hers. Please advice.
You should understand that marriage is not easily voidable simply because you saw some negative traits of your wife. Marriage is a permanent union between a man and a woman and may only be declared unlawful or void in accordance with our law.
Specifically, a marriage may only be annulled for causes mentioned under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines. If we look closely at this article, one of the causes mentioned therein is “when the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterward, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife” (Article 45).
Fraud, however, as mentioned in the law, is not general or all-encompassing because, in order to constitute fraud, it must be one of the following circumstances: (1) Non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude; (2) Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband; (3) Concealment of sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the time of the marriage; or (4) Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage. It is particularly stated under the law that no other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage (Article 46).
Considering that the negative traits that you mentioned about your wife do not fall under any of the above-mentioned circumstances, please be informed that you may not seek to have your marriage annulled. Perhaps it would be best for you to talk to your wife. Inform her that her traits are affecting your relationship and help her to become a better spouse. You may also consider going through marriage counseling to improve your relationship and save your marriage.
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