Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Are you Insane?

Psychological Incapacity is the "catch-all" ground for declaring a marriage null and void in the Philippines.  It can be found in Article 36 of the Family Code, and states "a marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization."  

Going through the other grounds I had discussed in a previous article, it is clear that the grounds mentioned therein affects the formal and/or essential requisites. For example, marriage by one of an unsound mind affects his/her legal capacity to marry. 

It must be emphasized that the "psychological incapacity" mentioned in Article 36 is not "insanity" (although my title may have misled you otherwise).  Because insanity as a ground is covered by a different provision.  The psychological incapacity contemplated by law, is one that prevents the individual from "complying with essential marital obligations," and the way that is worded, allows a great deal of discretion on the part of the judge to decide whether or not the factual circumstance of the case is one that may be considered as amounting to psychological incapacity.

Psychological (mental) Incapacity and Not Physical Incapacity

In the case of Santos v. Court of Appeals, Justice Vitug acknowledged that psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive (lacking in understanding)of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage.  It involves the incapacity to understand the marital obligations and not merely the inability to perform it. 

Difficulty in Establishing the Ground

As can be seen from the definition of the offense itself, the participation of a psychiatrist in establishing the mental incapacity is absolutely necessary.  Likewise, the fact that either the fiscal and/or Office of the Solicitor General is duty-bound by the Constitution, no less, to voice their opposition or agreement, as part of their duty to ensure that no collusion exists between the parties.  On a side-note I often find it ridiculous that the parties who file for declaration of nullity on this ground, often are quick in remarrying.  After all, this ground presupposes that the guilty party is not capacitated mentally to perform marital obligations.  Nonetheless, it happens and parties (including the guilty one) remarries subsequently.

Instances When Supreme Court found Psychological Incapacity

1. Constant lying about her educational background, lifestyle and work background. (Antonio v. Quisumbing, G.R No. 155800, March 10, 2006)

2. Chronic irresponsibility; inability to recognize and work towards providing the needs of his family; several failed business attempts; substance abuse; and a trail of unpaid money obligations (Reyes v. Reyes, G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010)

3. Acts of sexual infidelity and abandonment only if it is shown that such promiscuity existed at the beginning of the marriage. (Dedel v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 151867, January 29, 2004)

Based on the above, it is clear that acts of infidelity alone or abandonment will not give grounds for an annulment.  Likewise will physical violence alone on the other spouse give rise to an annulment, especially if it cannot be proven that it is due to a mental mallady existing at the time of marriage.  In Marcos v. Marcos, the Supreme Court found that the physical violence existed only during the period of marriage when respondent was unemployed for six years and which triggered violent behavior. Consequently, although the physical violence may have given grounds for legal separation, it cannot result in an annulment.


  1. My husband and i got Married last year and we have been living happily for a while. We used to be free with everything and never kept any secret from each other until recently everything changed when he got a new Job in NewYork 2 months ago. He has been avoiding my calls and told me he is working,i got suspicious when i saw a comment of a woman on his Facebook Picture and the way he replied her. I asked my husband about it and he told me that she is co-worker in his organization,We had a big argument and he has not been picking my calls,this went on for long until one day i decided to notify my friend about this and that was how she introduced me to Mr James(Worldcyberhackers@gmail.com) a Private Investigator  who helped her when she was having issues with her Husband. I never believed he could do it but until i gave him my husbands Mobile phone number. He proved to me by hacking into my husbands phone. where i found so many evidence and  proof in his Text messages, Emails and pictures that my husband has an affairs with another woman.i have sent all the evidence to our lawyer. I just want to thank Mr James for helping me because i have all the evidence and proof for my lawyer,I Feel so sad about infidelity.

    1. Yes, infidelity is probably a good ground in most cases to file for divorce (in some other place other than the Philippines). :) Hope all is well with you now.