Legal Counsel

Legal Separation of Marriage Explained

Legal Separation of Marriage Explained

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Legal Separation of Marriage Explained

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of couples desiring to terminate their marriage for one reason or another. One of these is the physical abuse they experience from their partner or sometimes, bizarre traits, which they discovered in their partner such as excessive alcoholism or even tendencies to fall with someone of the same sex.

In this article, I will discuss with you the concept known as Legal Separation, a term which some of you may have already encountered but the meaning of which is still unclear in your minds.

What is legal separation?

Legal separation is a decree from the court permitting the husband and the wife to live separately from each other.

How is it different from declaration of nullity and annulment of marriage?

There are several differences among these legal concepts but the main difference is that unlike in declaration of nullity and annulment of marriage, the marriage is not severed in cases of legal separation. Thus, the husband and the wife are still married despite the decree of legal separation.

What are the grounds for legal separation?

A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:

  1. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct against the petitioner, common child, or a child of the petitioner. Thus if for example the husband keeps on hitting the wife with a “dos por dos”, then the wife can file a legal separation. Take note that the physical violence must be repeated or that the abusive conduct must be gross, otherwise there is no ground for legal separation.
  2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliations. For example if the wife threatens the husband that if the latter does not support the Liberal Party, the wife will leave the husband. In this case, the husband can file a case for legal separation against the wife due to the moral pressure.
  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. For example, if the wife has an 18-year-old daughter from his former marriage, and the present husband compelled this daughter to pose for FHM, there will be no case of legal separation because mere posing in FHM is not prostitution. But if the stepfather required this daughter to work as a prostitute in Quezon Avenue, then there will be a basis for legal separation.
  4. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned. For example, if the husband was convicted of plunder, a case that has a penalty of life imprisonment, the wife can file a case for legal separation. This will prosper even if the President pardons the husband.
  5. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent. Thus if the husband went to a bar, tasted a beer for the first time and after realizing how good it was, he downed one case before going home the next day after, there will be no case of legal separation because the alcoholism of the husband is not habitual. It would be different in case the husband made it a habit to do this drinking spree every night.
  6. Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent. For example, if the husband keeps going to a gay bar and engages in homosexual acts with the hunky dancers, then the wife has a case for legal separation.
  7. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether here or abroad. So, if the husband went to Korea to look for a fair skinned lady and later on married the latter despite the existence of his marriage with his Filipina wife, the latter can file a case for legal separation.
  8. Sexual infidelity or perversion. For example if the wife had sex with a man not his husband, the husband can file a case for legal separation against the wife.
  9. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner. Thus if the wife tried to kill the mother of the husband, there will be no case of legal separation because the attempt was not against he petitioner. But if the husband tried to kill the husband, then there will be a case for legal separation.

10. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable case for more than one year. So, when the husband was stranded in an island due to a plane crash and was rescued after a year, there will be no case of legal separation because there was a justifiable cause. But if the husband just went around the world for no valid reason and did not return after a year, the wife can file a case for legal separation against the husband.

Is there a period within which I am allowed to file the case for legal separation?

Yes. The affected party has five (5) years from the date of the commission of the offense within which to file the case for legal separation.

Will the trial proceed immediately after the filing of the case for legal separation?

No. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six months shall have passed since the filling of the petition. This six months “cooling off” period is designed to give the husband and the wife time to think about their status with the hope that they reconcile in the end.

When will I be allowed to live separately from my husband/wife?

After the filing of the petition for legal separation, the spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other.

What are the effects of legal separation?

The decree of legal separation shall have the following effects:

  1. The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other; but the marriage bond shall not be severed. This means that even if the husband and the wife are entitled to live separately from each other, neither one of them is allowed to marry another person, because if he/she does so, he/she will commit bigamy.
  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. Take note that the right removed is limited only to the net profits and not to the whole property regime.
  3. The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse, subject to the provision of Article 213, which provides that parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the court and that maternal preference shall be exercised in case the child is less than seven (7) years of age.
  4. The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate succession. Thus the husband who constantly harms his wife will not receive inheritance from his wife who died without a will. But in case the wife made a will and bequeathed a property to her husband, the law also provides that provisions in favor of the offending spouse in the will of the innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.


  • rey, says:

    atty.good day po.nais ko lang po sanang magtanong sa pagpapawalang bisa ng kasal,ako po ay 16years old ng kasalukoyang ksalin taong ginawa po nilang 17 ang idad ko para lang makasal.nagsama po kami start po 1996 to 2008 may 4 na anak po ngayon po pariho na po kaming may kinakasama ako po ay may 2 anak na dito sa asawa ko ngayon kasal po ako sa pangalawa sa islam.pariho po kaming balik islam.ang mga anak ko po sa una kong asawa yong 3 po nasa akin sa pangangalaga po ng asawa ko ngayon dahil po dito ako sa uae, at yong 1 nasa x wife ko po ang aking panganay.nais ko po sanang mapawalang bisa ang kasal ko sa una kong asawa para po di na sya makapanggulo sa aming mag asawa.ano po ba ang dapat kong gawin at magkano po kya ang magagastos.salamat po

  • bernadeth says:

    gud pm po.. siya sa una at may 2 anak, matagal na po silang hiwalay mga 7 years na po yong asawa niya dati may kinakasama na din.. gusto q po sana kasi bago kme mag kaanak e kasal muna, plz give me suggestion Atty.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Bernadeth, before you get married to him, he must first have his first marriage declared null or annulled by the Court.

  • rochelldino says:

    good pm po attorny,tanung ko lang po pwd ba kong pakasal sa isang arabo sa jeddah kht kasal pa kami ng asawa ko sa pinas?
    ,sa jeddah po naming balak pakasal ng arabo.Plz po reply me asap pinatatanung nya he.Salamat po.

  • aireem says:

    PAno pong paraan Gagawin naman PAra makasal. sya po ay kasal sa una. Pero may pamilya na sila pareho ngayon. 12 yrs na silang hiwalay

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Aireem, they first need to seek judicial process. If there is a basis for nullity or annulment then they can file for that, whichever is applicable.

  • Diane MARCELO says:

    Hi po Atty., sana po mabigyan nyo aq ng magandang advice regarding po sa situation namin ng asawa ko. Si hubby ko po kasi ay nakabuntis ng ibang babae, and then maliwanag naman na nag agreed si babae at si hubby na sustento nalang pag nanganak siyaa, pero at this point po ako yong ginugulo nung ina nung babae na dapat daw ibahay ni hubby ko yung anak nya kundi idedemanda nya daw kami. Atty. ask ko lang po anu po bang pwede na isampang kasu laban sa asawa ko? eh ni hndi pa nga po nila napapatunayan na ung mister ko ang sinasabi nilang ama nung ipinagbubuntis nya.. please help nyo naman po aq.

  • Peachy says:

    I just want to ask how can I ask for financial support from my husband who is living in the US for 10 years.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Peachy, have you tried using the non-judicial means like sending him a letter or giving him a call?

  • Allison Bea says:

    Atty, my husband and I have been together for 9yrs now. And during those times, nararamdaman ko na po ang cold treatment nia sakin. I’ve done everything to win him back not knowing what’s d cause of his coldness. But despite all the efforts, cold pa rin sia and napagod na po ako. Can i file for a legal separation? On what grounds, Sir? Please help. Thanks :-)

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Bea, there is no basis for the filing of legal separation here.

      • Allison Bea says:

        Atty, but it’s clear na wla na po ciang love for me and vice versa…i dont wanna live with him anymore. D ko na po matagalan situation namin. As if we dont exist po sa bahay. Ang hirap po ng ganon. I wanted to legalize everything that’s why i wanna file for legal separation. Please help po. Thanks.

  • lhene acosta says:

    nag sama poh kmi ng nov.24,2004,, kinasal kmi ng 2012.. pareho na po namin magkaron ng legalidad ang kasal nmin,, hiwalay n poh kmi after nmin ikasal. anu poh ba ang magndang gawin para maging legal ang kasal nmin? maraming salamat po.

  • Rose Caya says:

    good day!
    Atty I just want to ask. I have a friend whose already 21 years separated (not legally) to his wife. His wife already living with another man now for almost 10 years and has a child. He now found a girl he want to marry but worried if he can marry again without any legal actions. What he should do? Thank you.

  • Sky says:

    Atty., kami po ng asawa ko ay nasa process ng legal separation, at magkakaroon ng compromise agreement sa mga susunod na buwan, kung magkaroon po ba ng final na agreement at separation ng properties ay maari napo ba kaming makipag relasyon muli ng legal pero hindi ikakasal sa aming mga makaka relasyon? Sana po ay mapayuhan nyo ako. Maraming salamat po.

  • Cris says:

    Atty. nakipaghiwalay ako sa asawa ko last feb 2013 kaso ayaw nya po pumayag hanggang sa ako n ang umalis ng bahay last May 2013 sa reason ko po na 10 yrs. ako nagtiis sa pagbarkada at pagiinom nya at sa mga masakit na salita nya lalo at nakakainom cya even mga anak ko eh nawiwitness ang mga gawain nyang ganoon. Hindi kop o isinama ang mga anak ko sa pagalis ko para di maapektuhan ang pagaaral nila. Hanggang nagka boyfriend po ako ng may asawa at nang malaman ng ex ko gusto nya ako kasuhan kaya nakipaghiwalay na ako para na lang matahimik na sya. pero ipinangalandakan nya ang mga pagkakautang ko at ang naging relasyon ko sa iba. At lahat ng pinagaawayan at pinagdidiskusyunan namin sinasabi pa sa mga anak ko na yun ang ayoko dahil natotorture ang utak ng mga anak ko. At ayaw nya po ipahiram sa akin ang mga anak ko. Kapag daw po ginawa ko na guluhin cla ay kakasuhan nya ako. Gusto ng mga anak ko na makasama ako pero natatakot at pinipigilan ng ama nila. Ano po ang pwede ko gawin para makasama ang mga anak ko? At may laban po ba ako sa custody ng mga anak ko? Ano po ang mga pwede kong igrounds sa kanya?

  • isidora says:

    Atty., greetings.. been married for nearly 20 yrs now with kids.. I am on a current delima on what to do with my marriage.. since I left the phil my husband became lazy and abused my kids prompting me to pull my kids out from his care and sent them to my parents. When I went home for holiday I got a taste of his abussive manner. For now the kids are doing well with my parents and my husband is not giving financial support.. can I possibly file an annulment. I am looking for a lawyer as well who could help me with the case.. thank you and God bless u.

  • DIANE says:

    Atty, Pahelp naman po gusto ko lang po mag ask if pwede po ba ako mag file ng legal separation with my husband 4 years na po kaming kasal may 3 po kaming anak una po kasi napaka iresponsable po ng asawa ko at saka may bisyo (Drugs) uuwi lang sya kung kelan nya gustong umuwi at d sya nag bibigay ng sustento sa aking mga anak mag isa kung tinataguyod ang pag aaral at pangangailangan ng mga anak ko gusto ko na pong mawalan ng bisa ang kasal namin dahil ang palaging nyang sinasabi sakin eh may karapatan padin sya sa mga anak ko kahit wala sayang binibigay na sustento dito dahil po sa hindi ko pa kaya ang expenses for annulment gusto ko po kahit legal separation nalang po

  • Jayson says:

    Gud pm po. Atty. Pls help me po. Bago po aq ikasal nuong 2008, nagpanggap po ang napangasawa q na buntis cia kya napilitan aq pkasalan cia dhil na rin s pamimilit ng nanay nya. After po nun, tsaka q nalaman n hnd po pla cia buntis at sa 5yrs po hnd kmi nagkaanak dhil sa may hormonal imbalance cia. Naghiwalay po kmi last yr. At nito lng nalaman q na 2mos. N cia buntis sa nging bf nya..
    Paano po ba mpapawalang bisa ang kasal nmin?
    Sapat n po ba ang legal separation?
    Dagdag tanong q na rin po sana, sa birth certificate nya Male po cia, pro sa marriage certificate nmin female po gamit nya, may grounds po ba sa nullity ng marriage un?
    Maraming salamat po in advance.

  • Fe says:

    Good PM po Atty. James hingi sana ako ng advice tungkol sa asawa ko.matagal na po kaming hiwala ng asawa ko since 2005. Naghiwalay po kami dahil sa di pagkakaunawaan ng pamilya nya at sya..ang asawa ko seaman sya tapos .nambabae na kahit may sakit sya na TULO ay ginamit nya ako at di nya sinabi sa akin kahit may alam sila na may sakit ang anak nila.. after 2 months ko nalaman na may sakit pala sya.. may seperation agreement po kami na wala na pong kaming pakialaman sa buhay. May kinasakasama na sya ngayon.. Umalis po ako sa poder niya kasi po umuwi sya sa bahay ng mama nya at pinabayaan nya kami ng anak ko mag dalawang linggo kaya nag decide akong umuwi at di na bumalik sa asawa ko. Mayron din po kaming kasulatan na mag suporta sa Bata namin pero simula noon na nagpirmahan kami ay 3 beses lang po sya nagbigay ng suporta kahit pa sya ay labas pasok sa pinas hanggang ngayon ppo wala syang suporta. tinatawagn namin sya sa mga kapatid at pinsan nya para makausap pero di sila sumasagot .. Atty . mapawalang bisa ba ang kasal namin? Abandonment po, walang suporta sa anak namin.. Pwede po ba mapawalang bisa ang kasal namin ? kasal po kami sa bahay ng lola ko .

    salamat po

  • apple says:

    Gud day atty.james plz help me may kinakasama po aq ngaun may anak po kmi ang problema kasal po sya sa una pero wla po clang anak ,, kaso po may ampon clang bata at legal po na ampon nila at nsa pangangalaga q po,,10yrs na po clang hawilay may kinakasama na rin pong ibang lalaki ung unang asawa nea bale same cla ng sitwasyon may kanya knya na clang pamilya at npag usapn po nmin ng kinksama q na kkuha kmi ng annul para dun sa una,, anu po ba ung kaso para mapwlang bisa po ung kasal nila? Sana matulungan nio po aq sa problema q, w8 q po sagot nio godbless

  • tomay says:

    gud day atty james, pls help po ask ko lang po if ground for annulment 5yrs na kaming hiwalay ng asawa ko may anak na siya sa ibang lalaki

  • rose ann says:

    Good pm po Atty. Ask ko lang po. . Mag 2 years na kaming kasal ng husband ko pero lagi nman po kaming nag aaway, kinasal po kmi sa qatar pero bumalik na po ko sa pinas para d2 manganak. . Naiwan po cya dun sa qatar para mag trabaho..Kaso po dahil sa mag kalayo kami at wala po talaga ko tiwala sa kanya halos araw2x po kami nag aaway hindi na po kami nag kaka intindihan kaya gusto ko na po maki pag hiwalay..ano po ba ang dapat kung gawin para sa legal seperation.. salamat po..

  • golden says:

    Pwde po ba magtanung kc po yun friend ko 2yrs na cila hiwalay ng wife nya.kc abroad siya that time nalaman nya ng bf un wife niya
    Kya nkpg hiwalay cya wala po cila anak sa nagyun po ginugulo cya humihingi ng sustento.need advice anu po dapat gawen salamat

  • mutya says:

    E-mail me Sir,
    I don’t know how to send private message to you. Thank you.

  • jgb says:

    nandito po ako sa ibabang bansa, balak ng asawa kong makipag hiwalay na sa akin, may isa po kameng anak, sa kadahilanan pong may kinakasama na siyang iba sa pinas, nakapag usap din po kame, at pumapayag nadin po ako sa gusto nya, at napagkasunduaan nadin po namin yung tungkol sa bata, magkano po kaya ang aabutin ng legal separation, at kung ano po ang magandang gawen, salamat po

  • Princess Diana L. Puno says:

    attty gud pm gusto ko po ipost ung tanong ko thru email san po banda office nyo tnx po

  • elmo says:

    5yrs n kming walang communication ng asawa ko. pwede b itong maging ground ng legal annulment? pero every month nagpapadala ako ng sustento sa anak ko. please help me thanks.

  • elmo says:

    Good day sir! Pwede po bang magtanong? 5yr na kami di nag kita ng wife ko Pwede ba itong maging ground of annulment? Pero nagbibigay ako ng monthly allowance sa anak namin. Only 1 daughter. Please paki tulong Naman po

  • gee says:

    gudeve atty…how much and how long will it take for the annulment. im here in jeddah.. where will i file, the place of marriage? we have different province atty. ill be having my vacation this june.and plan to file already.. can i leave after filling? coz i need to go back here in jeddah.. i ws married august 2011, coz i got pregnant, i ws pushed to marry because my place of work( private hospital ) dont like employees who are not mrried if got pregnnt.. they usually terminte such.. two of my collegue suffered termination due of not mrrying the one who got them pregnnt.. i was pushed to marry even i asked them can it be later coz im not yet ready.. in the end,i married him, coz he dont have stable job. and im thinking of the baby’s needs…no one is beside me (family or relatives) when i got married. only workmates…my husband physically abused me and verbally insults me..we just lived together for almost a year.. i move out of the house becoz i cant tolerate his hot temper and paranoid atittude..i dont feel safe with him..he always threaten me he will kill me if i had sumbody..dats why i decided to move out of the country.. i dont have the courage way back to file becoz of financial prob. now maybe i can do it.. pls.. help.. ty…

  • catherine says:

    May laban po ba ang kapatid ko sa ikakaso sknya ng aswa nia? dati na po clang magbf gf nuon kya lng po naghiwalay cla kc nalaman n my karelasyon ang kua ko sa lalaki.. pagkatapos po nawala n karelasyon ni kua sa lalaki dhil nkipghiwalay n cya binalikan nya po ang gf nia at kelan lang pinakasalan nia n ito.. Kya ngaun po magasawa n cla.ang problema meron po pla ulit karelasyon ang kuya q sa lalaki kasama nya sa kanyang trabaho..galit n galit po ang aswa nya. Anu po bang kaso ang maisasampa sa kuya ko? Sana po ay matulungan nio po kmi.. Salamat po!!

  • jovielyn abille says:

    Atty ask k lng po kung ano po ba pwede gawin pra pwede kmi ikasal ng bf ko kaso kasal cia perolgal separated n sila dahil yung x wife nya nagkaanak sya s iba.pero 4 yrs n sila hiwalay.ano po b pwede gawin po pra pwede n kmi ikasal..salamat

  • jho says:

    atty.may boyfriend po ako andito po kami sa jeddah hindi po kami pde magsama dito kasi po hindi kami kasal..kasal po kasi sya sa pinas pero hiwalay na po sila kasi nagpabuntis po ung asawa nya nang mag abroad ung bf ko..ngfile na po sya ng anullment pero wala pa rin pong usad..parang naloko po ng atty.nya kasi po ayaw po makipagusap sa magulang nya..balak po sana namin magpakasal dito sa saudi magbalik islam po kami..tnung ko lang po pag po ba kinasal kami sa islam may bisa pa po ba ung kasal nya sa una? may karapatan pa po bang maghabol ung babae kung sakali man po?salamat po

  • jho says:

    may karapatan pa po kaya ung ex wife nya sa bf ko

  • jho says:

    po kau nag email?

  • adrian says:

    Atty. Ask lng po..pano po ba ung process ng legal separation?and magkano po ang aabutin..ska pde po bang maifile un khit nandito po ako sa middle east?kz po hindi po ako pdng mag stay ng matagal sa mwawalan po ako ng gusto ko po magtrbaho pa dito pra mkaipon pra sa sunod na annulment nmin..hndi nmn po kz kmi may kayang pamilya eh..gusto lng po nmin gwin to pra mging malya na kmi prehas at mkapag umpisa ng panibong buhay nmin..pyag ndin nmn po sya at willing xa mkipag cooperate pra matpos na po tong problema un din po ung gusto ng family nia mangyari..mahirap napo kz ibalik at ipilit ung bagay na mhirap at di na kyang ibalik..lalo napo ung love and trust..may isa po kming anak..hnggng sa annulment po gusto po nmin maayos..kya po un po ung dahilan bkit gusto po magstay dito pra magtrbaho..sna po matulungan nio regards po..salamat atty.

  • JOY says:

    Atty… 25 years napo kaming kasal ng asawa ko, nakabuntis siya sa kapitbahay namin. gusto kong maki pag legal sepation sa kanya. mayroon po kaming 4 na anak ang dalawa ay minor de edad pa po.. pero ayaw niyang umalis sa amin. nalaman ko na patuloy pa rin silang nag kontak tru phone sa babae. palagi pokaming nag aaway. affected napo ang mga bata sa away namin. ano po dapat kong gawin ?

  • adrian says:

    Atty. Ask lng po..pano po ba ung process ng legal separation?and magkano po ang aabutin..ska pde po bang maifile un khit nandito po ako sa middle east?kz po hindi po ako pdng mag stay ng matagal sa mwawalan po ako ng gusto ko po magtrbaho pa dito pra mkaipon pra sa sunod na annulment nmin..hndi nmn po kz kmi may kayang pamilya eh..gusto lng po nmin gwin to pra mging malya na kmi prehas at mkapag umpisa ng panibong buhay nmin..pyag ndin nmn po sya at willing xa mkipag cooperate pra matpos na po tong problema un din po ung gusto ng family nia mangyari..mahirap napo kz ibalik at ipilit ung bagay na mhirap at di na kyang ibalik..lalo napo ung love and trust..may isa po kming anak..hnggng sa annulment po gusto po nmin maayos..kya po un po ung dahilan bkit gusto po magstay dito pra magtrbaho..sna po matulungan nio regards po..salamat atty..

  • jay says:

    Ano po ang isang paraan para makapag asawang muli ang 11 yrs ng hiwalay sa asawa na mahigit sampung tqon ding walang communication or presencia.bawat isa ay balak n ring mag asawa at para di makalabag sa linya ng trabaho na rin.
    Naway mapaliwanagan nu po ako.
    Maraming salamat po.

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