Sexual infidelity, grossly abusive conduct grounds for legal separation

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I caught my husband and our maid having sex in our house sometime in July 2007. This incident resulted in a misunderstanding between us. He tried his very best to mend the rift between us until I forgave him for the sake of our children. After he regained my trust, we began to live harmoniously for a while. Last month, we again began to quarrel even over small things. I can no longer bear his attitude. He always says it would be better if we part ways, and that since I do not have any work, I am just like a parasite who depends on him in order to survive. He usually does not allow me to eat because the money that is allegedly being spent for the food comes from his income.

He frequently denied that I am his wife in several occasions that we attended. I feel like he finds joy in embarrassing or insulting me in public. I am already fed up, so I want to be separated from him. Somebody told me that I should file a case for legal separation against my husband based on the ground of sexual infidelity, which he committed in 2007. Please guide me on this matter.
Brenda

Dear Brenda,
It is true that sexual infidelity is a ground for legal separation under Article 55 (8) of the Family Code of the Philippines. Further, Article 57 of the same code provides:

“An action for legal separation shall be filed within five years from the time of the occurrence of the cause”.


In your case, sexual infidelity was indeed committed by your husband in 2007, but the same cannot be availed of as a basis or ground for legal separation. The reason for this is that, more than five (5) years have already elapsed since the act was committed. In other words, the action has already prescribed.

Actions of your husband at present, however, can be equated or considered as grossly abusive conduct, which is also a ground for legal separation. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child or a child of the petitioner is one of the grounds for legal separation as provided for under Article 55 (1) of the same law. It is essential, however, that you file the same within five (5) years from the occurrence of the cause.

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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