My wife and I have been quarreling lately. Her brother even helped her inflict physical injuries on me. I cannot defend myself because I am partly paralyzed as a result of a heart attack. I filed a complaint against my wife and my brother-in- law before the barangay.
In order to avoid further confrontations, we have agreed in the conciliation proceedings before the Lupon Tagapagkasundo to sell our conjugal property and divide itequally between us. My wife did not comply with our agreement and barred me from our house. Can I file a case for legal separation against my wife or compel her to divide our property?
Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner is a ground for a petition for legal separation (Article 55, Family Code of the Philippines).
One of the effects of the issuance of the decree of legal separation is the dissolution of the absolute community of property under Article 99 of the Family Code of the Philippines that states,
“The absolute community terminates:
1) Upon the death of either spouse;
2) When there is a decree of legal separation;
3) When the marriage is annulled or declared void;
4) In case of judicial separation of property during the marriage under Articles 134 to 138.”
In the event that you do not wish to file a petition for legal separation and both would like to dissolve the absolute community of property, you must comply with the provisions of Article 136 of the same code that provides, “The spouses may jointly file a verified petition with the court for the voluntary dissolution of the absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership of gains, and for the separation of their common [pieces of property]. All creditors of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership of gains, as well as the personal creditors of the spouse, shall be listed in the petition and notified of the filing thereof. The court shall take measures to protect creditors and other persons with pecuniary interest”.
The petition for separation of property and final judgement granting the same shall be recorded in the proper local civil registries and registries of property (Article 139, Ibid.).
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