Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the
(1) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against
the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
The key words are ―repeated‖ and ―grossly‖.
(2) Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change
religious or political affiliation;
There must be undue pressure since some pressure is expected in every marriage. It
must go beyond what is permissible (case to case basis).
(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;
The drug addiction can occur after the marriage. Article 55 (5) does not talk of
concealment of drug addiction unlike Article 46(4)
(6) Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;
Is this talking about homosexuality in terms of practice or is such sexual orientation
enough? Again, there are no cases.
(7) Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage,
whether in the Philippines or abroad;
(8) Sexual infidelity or perversion;
Under the Family Code, both men and women need only commit one act of sexual
infidelity to fall under Article 55 (8).
In Gandionco vs. Peñaranda, the Supreme Court said that a criminal conviction of
concubinage is not necessary, only preponderance of evidence. In fact, a civil action
for legal separation based on concubinage may proceed ahead of or simultaneously
with a criminal action.
Sexual perversion is a relative term.
(9) Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or
Article 55 (9) – under this ground, there is no need for conviction.
(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.
Art. 56. The petition for legal separation shall be denied on any of the
(1) Where the aggrieved party has condoned the offense or act complained
(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 decree of legal
(6) Where the action is barred by prescription.
There are 2 more grounds not found in Article 56:
Art. 46. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in Number 3 of the
(4) Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing
at the time of the marriage
1. Death of either party during the pendency of the case (Lapuz-Sy vs. Eufemio)
2. Reconciliation of the spouses during the pendency of the case (Article 66 (1)
In Lapuz-Sy vs. Eufemio, the lawyer wanted to proceed with legal separation despite
of the death of one of the parties. The Supreme Court denied it since the primary
purpose of legal separation is bed and board separation while the effect on their
property relations is merely incidental.
Art. 58. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six
months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition.
This is the cooling-off period – can only try the petition for legal separation after 6
months from filing. The Supreme Court has interpreted Article 58 to mean that there
shall be no hearing on the main issue but the court may hear incidental issues.
In the case of Araneta vs. Concepcion, the Supreme Court allowed the court to hear
the issue regarding the custody of the children even if the 6-month period had not yet
elapsed. Professor Balane didn’t like the ruling in this case. According to him, what
are you going to talk about if you don’t go to the main case?
Art. 59. No legal separation may be decreed unless the Court has taken
steps toward the reconciliation of the spouses and is fully satisfied, despite
such efforts, that reconciliation is highly improbable.
For legal separation to be declared, reconciliation must be highly unlikely.
Art. 60. No decree of legal separation shall be based upon a stipulation of
facts or a confession of judgment.
In any case, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
assigned to it to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take
care that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.
No decree of legal separation shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or a
confession judgment. In Ocampo vs. Florenciano, the Supreme Court said that legal
separation cannot be granted on the basis of the wife’s admission alone. There must
be other proof.
1. Effects of Filing A Petition for Legal Separation
a. Spouses can live separately from each other.
b. The administration of the common properties (ACP, CPG, etc) shall be given by
the court to either of the spouses or to a 3rd person as is best for the interests
of the community.
c. In the absence of a written agreement of the spouses, the court shall provide
for the support between the spouses and the custody and support of the
common children, taking into account the welfare of the children and their
choice of the parent with whom they wish to remain.
Art. 66. The reconciliation referred to in the preceding Articles shall have the following
(1) The legal separation proceedings, if still pending, shall thereby be terminated at whatever
d. When the consent of 1 spouse to any transaction of the other is required by
law, judicial authorization shall be necessary, unless such spouse voluntarily
gives such consent.
2. Effects of the Decree of Legal Separation (Nos. 1 – 4, Article 63)
Art. 63. The decree of legal separation shall have the following
(1) The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other,
but the marriage bonds shall not be severed;
(2) The absolute community or the conjugal partnership shall be
dissolved and liquidated but the offending spouse shall have no
right to any share of the net profits earned by the absolute
community or the conjugal partnership, which shall be forfeited
in accordance with the provisions of Article 43(2);
(3) The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the
innocent spouse, subject to the provisions of Article 213 of this
(4) The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from
the innocent spouse by intestate succession. Moreover,
provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in the will of the
innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.
a. Spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other, but the marriage
bonds shall not be severed.
b. The ACP or the CPG shall be dissolved and liquidated. The offending spouse
shall have no right to any share of the net profits earned by the ACP or CPG
following the rules of forfeiture in Article 43 (2)
c. The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse
subject to Article 213
d. The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent
spouse by intestate succession. Testamentary dispositions in favor of the
offending spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.
e. Donation propter nuptias made by the innocent spouse to the offending
spouse may be revoked at the option of the former. (Article 64)
Art. 43. The termination of the subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall
produce the following effects:
(2) The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as the case may be, shall
be dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse contracted said marriage in bad faith, his
or her share of the net profits of the community property or conjugal partnership property
shall be forfeited in favor of the common children or, if there are none, the children of the
guilty spouse by a previous marriage or in default of children, the innocent spouse;
Art. 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the
parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations,
especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit.
Art. 64. After the finality of the decree of legal separation, the innocent spouse may revoke the
donations made by him or by her in favor of the offending spouse, as well as the designation of the
latter as beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable.
f. The designation by the innocent spouse of the offending spouse as a
beneficiary in any insurance policy (even irrevocable ones) may be revoked by
the innocent spouse. (Article 64)
g. Cessation of the obligation of mutual support. (Article 198
h. The wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before legal
3. Effects of Reconciliation
a. Joint custody of the children is restored.
b. The right to succeed by the guilty spouse from the offended spouse is restored
– compulsory only.
c. With regard testamentary spouse in the will of the innocent spouse.
d. If the donation propter nuptias succession, reconciliation will not automatically
revive the institution of the guilty were revoked, the same is not automatically
Articles 65 and 66 always allow reconciliation even after the decree.
Art. 65. If the spouses should reconcile, a corresponding joint
manifestation under oath duly signed by them shall be filed with the
court in the same proceeding for legal separation.
Art. 66. The reconciliation referred to in the preceding Articles
shall have the following consequences:
(1) The legal separation proceedings, if still pending, shall thereby
be terminated at whatever stage; and
(2) The final decree of legal separation shall be set aside, but the
separation of property and any forfeiture of the share of the
guilty spouse already effected shall subsist, unless the
spouses agree to revive their former property regime.
The court’s order containing the foregoing shall be recorded in
the proper civil registries.
According to Professor Balane, it is not the reconciliation which produces the
effects in Article 66. Rather, it is the filing of the joint manifestation of
The revocation of the donations shall be recorded in the registries of property in the places where
the properties are located. Alienations, liens and encumbrances registered in good faith before the
recording of the complaint for revocation in the registries of property shall be respected. The
revocation of or change in the designation of the insurance beneficiary shall take effect upon
written notification thereof to the insured.
The action to revoke the donation under this Article must be brought within five years from
the time the decree of legal separation become final.
Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for
declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the
properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting
the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of
legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one,
specifying the terms of such order.