Legal Separation In The Philippines

Legal Separation or relative divorce is a judicial decree allowing married couples from living separately from bed and board.

Compared to Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Annulment of Marriage, not too many petitions for legal separation are filed in court.  This is probably because legal separation does not have the effect of severing the marital bond and thus, none of the parties may enter into another marriage.

There are several grounds on which a petition for legal separation may be filed on.  These include:

  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 respondents;

  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.

A petition for legal separation is not heard immediately after it is filed. A mandatory six-month cooling-off period is set by the court to give the parties enough time to contemplate on a possible reconciliation.

Not all petitions for legal separation are granted by the courts.  The reasons for the denial vary from failure to prove the attendance of any of the above-mentioned grounds, as well as any of the following:

  1. Where the aggrieved party has condoned the offense or act complained of;

  2. Where the aggrieved party has consented to the commission of the offense or act complained of;

  3. Where there is connivance between the parties in the commission of the offense or act constituting the ground for legal separation;

  4. Where both parties have given ground for legal separation;

  5. Where there is collusion between the parties to obtain the decree of legal separation; or

  6. Where the action is barred by prescription;

  7. Death of one of the parties; and

  8. Reconciliation of the parties.

On the other hand, a petition for legal separation which is granted by the courts shall have the following effects:

  1. The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other even if the marriage bond is not severed;

  2. The absolute community or conjugal partnership shall be dissolved and liquidated;

  3. The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse, subject to exceptions like the tender-age rule or the choice of a child above seven years;

  4. The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate succession, and the provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in a will of the innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law;

  5. The offending spouse shall have no right to any share in the net profits of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership;

  6. The innocent spouse may revoke the donations made by him in favor of the offending spouse, as well as the designation of the latter as beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if the designation be irrevocable.

As an additional effect, the wife cannot petition to be allowed to use her maiden surname even after legal separation is granted.

Corporation versus Partnership

CORPORATION is a juridical person created by operation of law under the Corporation Code. It has a personality separate and distinct from that of its stockholders. It consists of at least five (5) to fifteen (15) incorporators each of whom must hold at least one share. It must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The minimum paid-up capital is five thousand pesos (Php 5,000.00). It has a right of succession.


PARTNERSHIP is treated as an artificial being created by operation of law with a separate legal personality from that of its members. It may either be general or limited, depending on the liability of the partners. It consists of two (2) or more partners. A partnership must be register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with a minimum capitalization of three thousand pesos (Php 3,000.00). It has no right of succession.


CORPORATION acquires juridical personality from the date of issuance of the certificate of incorporation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. PARTNERSHIP acquires juridical personality from the moment of execution of the contract of partnership.

CORPORATION can exercise only the powers expressly granted by law or implied from those granted or incident to its existence. PARTNERSHIP may exercise any power authorized by the partners (provided it is not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order and public policy).

In a CORPORATION, a stockholder has generally the right to transfer his shares without prior consent of the other stockholders. Whereas, in PARTNERSHIP, a partner cannot transfer his interest in the partnership to make the transferee a partner without the unanimous consent of all existing partners because the partnership is based on the principle of delectus personarum.

In a CORPORATION, the power to do business and manage its affairs is vested in the Board of Directors and trustees. In PARTNERSHIP, when management is not agreed upon, every partner is an agent of the partnership.

CORPORATION may adopt any name provided it is not the same as or similar to any registered firm name. In PARTNERSHIP, limited partnership is required by law to add the word “Ltd” to its name.

CORPORATION can only be dissolved with the consent of the State. PARTNERSHIP may be dissolved at any time by or all of the partners.

CORPORATION is governed by the Corporation Code while PARTNERSHIP is governed by the Civil Code.

The term of existence of a CORPORATION must not exceed fifty (50) years but extendible to not more than 50 years in any one instance, whereas, in PARTNERSHIP, may be established for any period of time stipulated by the partners.

If you are planning to set up a corporation or partnership in the Philippines, our firm will gladly assist you to organize the documentation and liaise with the concerned government agencies in your behalf. You can contact us to help you with all your queries and concerns at 310-1020.