Legal Separation In The Philippines

legal-separation-adviceSince the Philippines does not allow for dissolution of a valid marriage, it gives a solution to its citizens whose marriages are no longer capable of providing a harmonious atmosphere to the husband, the wife and their children – Legal Separation.

The Family Code lays down ten (10) grounds for a petition for legal separation. If these grounds are to be summed up, it can be seen that they all have something in common: they may be brought about by violence, whether physical, emotional or psychological, employed by one of the spouses against the other, or to their children, or they may either be due to the wrongful conduct and behavior of the other spouse.

For instance, one very common ground for legal separation is repeated physical violence against the other spouse, or against their common children, or against the child of the violent spouse. As can be seen, neither declaration of nullity of marriage nor divorce makes use of this ground as a basis for filing the petition. That is because the repeated physical violence that is contemplated in legal separation usually occurs or begins after a valid marriage has been celebrated. This goes the same for the other grounds for legal separation.

Unlike in declaration of nullity of marriage, legal separation does not sever the marital ties between the spouses. It just legally allows for the spouses to be physically separated from one another so as to give them time and space apart, in order to prevent them from causing more damage to the other.

This is the ultimate goal of legal separation – to simply keep the spouses away from each other to stop them from further hurting each other. Thus, still helping them preserve their vows to one another. This is perhaps the reason why legal separation remains to be one effective remedy in mending a broken marriage.

Dissolution of marriage, or what we call in simple terms as divorce, has become a remedy to spouses whose marriages have plummeted downhill. However, though this remedy is obtainable in a lot of countries, Philippines has remained to steer clear away from Divorce law.

Since Philippines does not adhere to divorce, a lot of Filipinos try to make their way to another country where they can obtain a divorce decree. One misconception that Filipinos have about divorce is that when they get married in a foreign land, then their marriage can be dissolved in such land. This is not true at all.

Filipinos are bound by their nationality law, their family rights and duties, among others, are still governed by the Philippines laws wherever country they may be. It is only through naturalization in another country that they free themselves from the realm of the Philippine laws. Thus, even if Juan and Maria, both Filipinos, got married in America they still cannot have their marriage dissolved in America unless one or both of them become a naturalized American.

Another mistake Filipinos have about divorce is that when they marry a foreigner, then they can have their marriage dissolved. This has a partial truth to it especially when the foreigner spouse files for the divorce in his country. But such divorce is not automatically recognized here in the Philippines. The Filipino spouse must first obtain a judgment from a Philippine court granting the recognition of such foreign divorce decree.