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Legal Separation In The Philippines

Legal Separation is an action taken by one spouse who believes that the marriage has
no more hope of working. There is no divorce in the Philippines, and so, to get out of an
unhappy or failing marriage, legal separation is the only recourse.

A husband or a wife may file a petition for legal separation based on one or several of
the reasons listed in the Family Code. The first of these refers to repeated physical
violence or abusive conduct. The receiver of such violence may be the petitioner, or the
common child, or the child of the petitioner.

Another reason for filing a legal separation is moral pressure of physical violence to
force the petitioner to change his religion or political affiliation. Another serious reason is
when the respondent (the spouse of the petitioner) tries to induce or force their child (or
the petitioner’s child) to be involved in prostitution.

A husband or wife may also file for legal separation if his or her spouse has been
sentenced to imprisonment of more than six years. Another reason for legal
separation is when the respondents attempts to kill the petitioner, or is involved in drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality, sexual infidelity or sexual
perversion. Still another reason is when the respondent has abandoned the petitioner,
without justifiable cause, for more than a year. Along with desertion, bigamy is also
another good reason for filing legal separation. This is when the respondent marries
another while still married to the petitioner.

There are also grounds that will make a petition for legal separation is denied. First
among these is when the petitioner (also called aggrieved party) has condoned to the
offense that was being complained of. This means that when a woman marries a man,
who already confessed his homosexuality before their marriage, the woman’s petition
for legal separation on the grounds of homosexuality will be denied. Another reason is
when the petitioner has consented to the offense of the respondent.

To exaggerate, a drug pusher’s petition for legal separation against his or her spouse
who is a drug addict will be denied. The court will also deny a petition if both parties
wanted the legal separation. This will be taken as connivance between the parties.
Another thing to remember is that the petition for legal separation must be filed within
five years of the occurrence of the complaint.

It is ridiculous to file a legal separation petition on the grounds of physical violence that
happened ten years ago. Some would think that the process for this legal action is slow.
Well, it may be slow. But Article 58 of the Family Code specifically stated that
no action for a legal separation will be taken before six months have passed since the
petition was filed. In the meantime, the court will attempt to reconcile the spouses.