Civil Law,  Legally Yours

Republic v. Molina

Civil Law. Persons and Family Relations. Article 36 Family Code. Psychological Incapacity.
REPUBLIC v. MOLINA
268 SCRA 198

FACTS:
Roridel and Reynaldo were married on April 14, 1985, in Manila and bore a son. A year after the marriage, Reynaldo showed signs of “immaturity and irresponsibility”. In October 1986, the couple had a very intense fight which estranged their relationship. On August 16, 1990, Roridel filed a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to Reynaldo contending that the latter is psychologically incapable of complying with essential marital obligations. Petitioner argues that “opposing and conflicting personalities” is not equivalent to psychological incapacity.ISSUE;
Does opposing or conflicting personalities constitute psychological incapacity as defined in Article 36 of the Family Code?

HELD:
Psychological incapacity must be characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability. The evidence adduced by respondent merely showed that she and her husband could not get along with each other. There was no showing of the gravity of the problem; neither its juridical antecedence nor its incurability. The court further laid down the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code:

1)    The burden of proof belongs to the plaintiff;
2)    The root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified, alleged in the complaint and proven by experts;
3)    The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the “time of the celebration”;
4)    The incapacity must be incurable or permanent;
5)    Such illness must be grave enough;
6)    The essential marital obligations are those embraced by Articles 68-71 and Articles 220, 221, and 225 of the Family Code;
7)    The interpretations given by the National Appellate of Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines should be given great respect by our courts; and
8)    The court must order the fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the State and the Solicitor General must issue a certification stating his reasons for his agreement or opposition

On these grounds, the decision of RTC and CA declaring the marriage null and void ab initio is reversed and set aside.

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