I want to know if I can file for legal separation here in Manila even if my husband and I were married in Cebu City.
Legal separation is a judicial process wherein the husband and wife are permitted by law to live separately from each other without severing their marriage bonds (Article 63, Family Code of the Philippines). However, a petition for legal separation may be filed only based on the grounds enumerated in Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, to wit:
“Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:
1. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;
3. Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;
4. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;
5. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
6. Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;
7. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;
8. Sexual infidelity or perversion;
9. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or
10. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.
For purposes of this Article, the term “child” shall include a child by nature or by adoption.”
A petition for legal separation may be filed only by the husband or the wife, as the case may be within five years from the time of the occurrence of the foregoing. If any of the afore–mentioned grounds is present, you may file a petition for legal separation before the Family Court of the province or City where you or your husband has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing. In case your husband is a non-resident, you have the option to file the petition in the Family Court of the place where he may be found in the Philippines (Section 2, Rule on Legal Separation).
We hope that we were able to address your concern. 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