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.

Registration Of Prenuptial Agreements In The Philippines

A prenuptial agreement in the Philippines is required to be signed by the contracting parties and at least two witnesses of legal age prior to the celebration of marriage.   

As provided in Article 77 of the Family Code, “The marriage settlement and any modification thereof shall be in writing, signed by the parties and executed before the celebration of the marriage.  They shall not prejudice third persons unless they are registered in the local civil registry where the marriage contract is recorded as well as in the proper registries of property.”

A reading of the above provision will reveal that while registration of the prenup is not required for its validity, registration is made an additional requirement if the contracting parties wish to bind third parties to the provisions of the agreement.  Third parties may mean the parties’ family members and even creditors who may enter into contracts with them.

If the prenuptial agreement is recorded at the proper registries, the creditors will be afforded the opportunity to discover what property regime applies to the spouses.   This information may be used by the creditors should a debt collection case ensue and the spouses be named as respondents in the case.  The prenup may determine whether one or both spouses can be made liable to the creditor for the unpaid obligations.

Registration of s prenuptial agreement in the Philippines is done at the Civil Registry of the City or Municipality which issued the marriage license.  Before registration is caused, the prenup is brought before a Notary Public for notarization.  After notarization, the procedure for the registration of the prenup will be as follows:

  1. Submission of the necessary documents for evaluation;
  2. Review and approval of the documents by the City Civil Registrar;
  3. Payment of fees at the Office of the City Treasurer;
  4. Registration of the agreement;
  5. Issuance of a Certified True Copy of the agreement;
  6. Attachment of the Certified True Copy to the Marriage Certificate.