My husband and I have been separated for 15 years now. I moved out of our family home and rented a small apartment near my place of work. A few years ago, it came to my knowledge that my husband had a new woman in his life, and that they were cohabiting in our family home.
It pains me, but as a matter of pride, I let it go and just opt to move forward with my own life. Just recently, however, I found out that my husband named his mistress as the beneficiary to his life insurance policy worth two million pesos.
I would just like to know what my legal rights are over the insurance policy in the event that my husband dies, as I am the legal wife. Can I have that insurance policy canceled and my name be put as beneficiary instead?
The following provisions of the Civil Code may prove helpful for you.
Article 2012 of the law states,
“Any person who is forbidden from receiving any donation under Article 739 cannot be named beneficiary of a life insurance policy by the person who cannot make any donation to him.”
Meanwhile, Article 739 of the same law enumerates those who cannot receive a donation by declaring donations to them as void,
“Art. 739. The following donations shall be void:
(1) Those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation;
(2) Those made between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense, in consideration thereof;
(3) Those made to a public officer or his wife, descendants and ascendants, by reason of his office.
In the case referred to in No. 1, the action for declaration of nullity may be brought by the spouse of the donor or donee; and the guilt of the donor and donee may be proved by preponderance of evidence in the same action.” (Emphasis supplied)
Applying the law to your case, since your husband is keeping his mistress with him in your family home, he could be found guilty of concubinage under Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code. This will effectively make their relations fall under No. 1 of Article 739 of the Civil Code, which makes any donation between them void. Because of this, they are also prohibited from being named as beneficiary to any life insurance policy by the other, as provided by Article 2012 of the Civil Code.
In order to remove her as your husband’s beneficiary, you must file a petition for declaration of nullity of the designation of his mistress as a beneficiary in court. It is unnecessary to file a separate criminal case for concubinage, as Article 739 of the Civil Code provides that you may prove their guilt by preponderance of evidence in the same petition.
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