Lex Rex Ph

Seven Guidelines for Psychological Incapacity based on Republic vs. Molina

Basis: Court’s ruling on Republic vs. Molina

1. Burden of proof to the plaintiff

Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it “as the foundation of the nation.” It decrees marriage as legally “inviolable,” thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be “protected”’ by the state.

2. Root cause must be supported by evidence (science and law)

The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. It must be alleged in the complaint and supported in the decision.

3. Illness must exist when they exchanged “I do’s”

or at the time of celebration of marriage. The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.

4. Incapacity to fulfill marital obligations* must be permanent or incurable

Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.

* see number 7

5. Must be grave enough

“mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts” cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will.

6. Essential marital obligations must be based on Family Code

The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.

7. Catholic Church not controlling but respected

Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides:

“The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological nature. x x x”

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