My wife filed a petition for legal separation. What shall happen to our children if her petition is granted? After the filing of the petition, I have come to realize my shortcomings as a husband and I have been trying my best to reconcile with my wife. If ever we reconcile, what shall happen to the petition for legal separation?
Legal separation is a judicial process where the marital obligations of the spouses to live together as husband and wife as well as their property relations are terminated because of any of the grounds enumerated in Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines (FCP). If the court grants the petition for legal separation of your wife, the custody of your minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse subject to the provisions of Article 213 of the said law. In addition to this, the legal separation shall also have the following effects: 1) the spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other, but the marriage bonds shall not be severed; and 2) the absolute community or the conjugal partnership shall be dissolved and liquidated but the offending spouse shall have no right to any share of the net profits earned by the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, which shall be forfeited in accordance with provisions of Article 43(2) (Article 63, FCP).
We highly approve of your act in acknowledging your shortcomings to your wife and in making efforts to reconcile with her. If you and your wife reconcile, you shall need to file a joint manifestation, duly signed and made under oath, before the court that acquired jurisdiction over your wife’s petition for legal separation (Article 65, FCP). If the legal separation proceedings are pending, the same shall be terminated at whatever stage in view of your reconciliation. If the proceedings had already been concluded when you reconciled, the final decree of legal separation shall be set aside, but the separation of property and forfeiture of the share of the guilty spouse already effected shall subsist. This, however, is without prejudice to the agreement between the spouses to revive their former property regime. The court’s order containing the reconciliation of the spouses and its corresponding effects shall be recorded in the proper civil registries (Article 66, FCP).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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