Supreme Court addresses psychological incapacity as grounds for annulment


(UPDATE) The High Court continues its series of resolutions of what could be described as progressive issues such as same-sex marriage and inheritance rights for illegitimate children

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Supreme Court (SC) will challenge the Family Code provision that a spouse’s psychological incapacity is grounds for annulling a marriage.

“The Supreme Court Bench decided to hear a case involving the interpretation of Article 36 of the Family Code, which concerns the conditions for the declaration of nullity of marriage for psychological incapacity,” said the SC Public Information Office (PIO) in a notice.

Oral arguments were originally scheduled for Tuesday, October 1, but SC’s Public Information Office (PIO) said Tuesday morning that the bench had decided not to hold oral argument at all.

“Given the sensitive personal information that may be publicly exposed during live pleadings, the Court en banc has decided to conduct its deliberations through additional memoranda to be submitted by the parties and amici curiae,” the PIO said.

Amici curiae is Latin for friends of the court, or those called upon by the SC as expert resource persons.

Due to the sensitive nature of the facts surrounding the case, the Court will not announce the title of the case at this time,” SC PIO said.

Copies of the petition and other pleadings have also not been released at this time.

Article 36 of the Family Code states that a marriage is null and void if a spouse “was psychologically incapable of complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage…even if such incapacity does not manifest itself until after its solemnization.

Other grounds for nullity of marriage under Chapter 3 of the Family Code are such things as one of the spouses being a minor; the spouses being brothers and sisters or ascendants/descendants to any degree whatsoever; the marriage being solemnized by a person not authorized to solemnize the marriage; or a case of mistaken identity.

This limitation of the Family Code has forced Filipinos throughout time to attribute to their spouses the psychological incapacity to annul their marriage.

Congress is once again battling a bill to legalize divorce, with supporters saying it is a more humane option for Filipinos.

Case continues High Court streak to tackle what might be termed progressive issues such as same-sex marriage and inheritance rights for “illegitimate” children.

The Supreme Court dismissed the same-sex marriage petition on technical grounds, while the ‘illegitimate’ children’s inheritance rights case just wrapped up oral argument on September 17.


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