Family Code of the Philippines Faqs

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Content on this web page is informational in nature, not specific legal advice, and someone seeking legal advice should consult with a lawyer licensed in their jurisdiction.


Q. - Is foreign divorce between Filipinos recognized in the Philippines?

A. - No, a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens is not recognized as valid in the Philippines and neither is the marriage contracted with another party subsequent to the foreign decree of divorce entitled to validity (Art. 26, Family Code).

Foreign Adoption

Q. - Can a foreigner adopt a child in the Philippines?

A - Yes, under Republic Act No. 8043 otherwise known as Inter-Country Adoption law, it allows a foreigner to adopt a child in the Philippines.

Child Custody

Q. - In case of separation-in-fact of parents, who has the right of custody over the child?

A. - No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise (Second paragraph, Art. 213, Family Code).

Child Support

Q. - Can I get support for my child even though I am not married to the father?

A. - Yes, parents are obliged to support their illegitimate children (Art. 195, Family Code).

Nullity of Marriage

Q. - Do I need a judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage before contracting a subsequent marriage?

A. - Yes, a judicial declaration is needed to determine whether a person is legally free to contract a second marriage to avoid liability for bigamy (Art. 40, Family Code; Mercado v. Tan, G.R. No. 137110, August 1, 2000).

Q. - May the heirs of a deceased person file a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage after his death?

A. - Yes, the Court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. (Niñal v. Bayadog, G.R. No. 133778, March 14, 2000, 328 SCRA 122).

Bigamy & Nullity of Marriage

Q. - Is the pendency of a civil case for declaration of nullity of marriage a prejudicial question to suspend the criminal case for bigamy?

A. - No, the prosecution of the criminal case cannot be delayed or frustrated by filing belatedly a judicial declaration of nullity of first marriage. (Bobis v. Bobis, G.R. 138509, July 31, 2000).

Psychological Incapacity

Q. - What do you mean by psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage?

A. - In the Supreme Court Decision entitled, "Hernandez v. Court of Appeals and Hernandez," G.R. No. 126010, December 8, 1999, 320 SCRA 76, citing "Santos v. Court of Appeals," psychological incapacity was defined as follows:

"Psychological incapacity" should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate."

The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound mind or concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism,...
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