• Spousal abuse not a ground for marriage annulment

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I got married in 2006 but only lived with my husband for one year and went abroad to work. To be honest, I also chose to live abroad in order to escape my husband’s abusive acts. He was physically, psychologically and emotionally violent. Is it too late for me to file for the annulment of our marriage basing on the grounds of abuse? Can I file annulment even if I am not in the Philippines? What can I do in order to gain custody of our child who is with him? He has been asking me to give him P20,000 for the financial support of our son. Is this fair? I enrolled our son in a private school but after three days in school, he was transferred to a public school.
    Ms. June

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    Dear Ms. June,
    We regret to inform you that you may not be able to file a petition for annulment of your marriage on the ground of spousal abuse. The Family Code is clear and specific as to the grounds for annulment of marriage, to wit: (1) the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife; (2) either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife; (3) the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife; (4) the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife; (5) either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or (6) either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable (Article 45, Family Code).

    It is also worth noting that even if spousal abuse is a ground for legal separation pursuant to Article 55 (1) of the Family Code, a petition relative thereto will not prosper in your case because almost seven (7) years have already passed. As provided for under Article 57 of the said Code, an action for legal separation must be filed within five (5) years from the time of the occurrence of the cause. Consequently, your right to file such action has already prescribed.

    Insofar as your desire to gain the custody of your child, it is essential for you to file a petition for custody before the Family Court of the province or city where you reside upon your return here in the Philippines or where your child may be found (Section 3, A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC). It is only when the court determines that it is for the best interest of the child can the latter’s custody be granted in your favor.

    Insofar as the amount of support your husband is asking from you, we cannot ascertain whether the same is fair or not. You have to consider the totality of your child’s needs. The support which a child is entitled to receive from his or her parents does not only involve his or her education. It also comprises everything that is indispensable for his or her sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family (Article 194, Family Code).

    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.

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    1 Comment

    1. the father of my daughter left me the time that i was giving birth. since then, we already lost communication. my daughter now is already 15 years old and shes been using my family name, because her father didnt sign any document,proving that she really is our daughter, although, he admit and never deny either. it was only a few months ago, that we had a communication,my daughter asks a favor if he could give him money to buy a cellphone, gladly, he gave.,but when the time that i beg him for help for the tuition fee of my daughter,i find it too hard to communicate again with him, were always having a hard time in contacting him. I’m begging him, because i have no job at this time and i dont have the capacity for the educational support of my daughter who is
      already in her freshmen college now. after almost having a hard time talking to him, he send us only 50$. right now, we cant already reach him thru phone, He blocked all our emails and numbers. I want to asks for his support but i dont know how and I dont have that much money to pay for a family attorney if really needed. kindly please help me what to do for the sake of of the education of my daughter. right now, its my mother who is in charge of her education thru the pension my mother is receiving.i feel guilty because instead of using her pension for her medication, she is using it for the tuition of my daughter, im having a hard time in looking for a job right now, because in the first place im not a graduate and im already in my 40’s.The father once told me, that he will help me with our daughter, but until now, were not receiving anything..and the fact now that we cant already contact him. Please help. Thank you and God bless