Bar Q and A #7

No. The petition should be denied.

The psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code must be characterized  by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. It is not enough to prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as married persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some psychological (not physical) illness. (Republic v. CA and Molina, G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997) In this case, the pieces of evidence presented are not sufficient to conclude that indeed Niel is suffering from a psychological incapacity [Narcissistic Personality Disorder] existing already before the marriage, incurable and serious enough to prevent Neil from performing his essential marital obligations. Dr. Chan’s report contains mere conclusions. Being a drunkard, a womanizer, a gambler and a mama’s boy merely  shows  Neil’s  failure  to   perform his marital obligations. In a number of cases, the Supreme Court did not find the existence of psychological incapacity in cases where the respondents showed habitual drunkenness (Republic v. Melgar, G.R. No. 139676, March 31, 2006), blatant display of infidelity and irresponsibility (Dedel v. CA, G.R. No. 151867, January 29, 2004), or being hooked to gambling and drugs. (Republic v. Tanyag-San Jose, G.R. No. 168328, February 28, 2007)

NOTE: In the case of Tan-Andal v. Andal (G.R. No. 196359, May 11, 2021), the Court unanimously modified the interpretation of the requirements of psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage found in Article 36 of the Family Code.

With respect to gravity, the requirement is retained, not in the sense that psychological incapacity must be shown to be a serious or dangerous illness, but that “mild characterological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts” are excluded. The psychological incapacity cannot be mere “refusal, neglect, or difficulty, much less ill will.” In other words, it must be shown that the incapacity is caused by a genuinely serious psychic cause.

With respect to juridical antecedence, difficult to prove as it may be, it is still required to be proven as it is an explicit requirement of the law. Article 36 is clear that the psychological incapacity must be existing “at the time of the celebration” of the marriage,” even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. This distinguishes psychological incapacity from divorce.

With respect to incurable, it is not in the medical, but in the legal sense; hence, the third Molina guideline is amended accordingly, which means that the incapacity is so enduring and persistent with respect to a specific partner, and contemplates a situation where the couple’s respective personality structures are so incompatible and antagonistic that the only result of the union would be the inevitable and irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

This case of Tan-Andal v. Andal is not covered by the 2020/21 Bar Syllabus.

A. The marriage with Quercia is valid. The exemption from the requirement of a marriage license under Article 34 of the Family Code requires that the man and woman must have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other during those five years. Although the cohabitation of Facundo and Quercia for six years from July 1, 1990 to July 1, 1996 when Petra died was one with a legal impediment, the cohabitation thereafter until the marriage on July 1, 2002 was free from any legal impediment since Facundo’s marriage with Petra has already been extinguished due to the latter’s death. The cohabitation of Facundo and Quercia from the time of death of Petra up to the time of their marriage on July 1, 2002 met the 5- year cohabitation requirement therefore making their marriage despite the lack of a marriage license valid.

B. Yes, a void marriage may be questioned by any interested party in any proceeding where the resolution of the issue is material. Being a compulsory heir, Soterro has the personality to question the validity of the marriage of Facundo and Quercia. Otherwise, his participation in the estate on Facundo would be affected. (Ninãl v. Bayadog, G.R. No. 133778, March 14, 2000)

1) The marriage between Gigi and Ric is void because a minister has no authority to solemnize a marriage between contracting parties who were both not members of the minister’s religious sect. Under the Family Code, a minister or a priest has authority to solemnize a marriage but only if one or both contracting parties are members of the religious sect of the pries or minister. Since neither Ric nor Gigi was a member of the Baptist Church because both of them were Catholic, the Baptist Minister did not have authority to solemnize their marriage.

Ric and Gigi cannot claim that they believed in good faith and that the Baptist Minister had the authority to solemnize the marriage and invoke Art. 35 (2) of the Family Code to make the marriage valid. The provision of the Family Code applies only to a mistake of fact, and not to a mistake of law. Hence the fact that the Minister’s license was expired will not affect the validity of the marriage if Ric or Gigi believed in good faith that the Minister had a valid license. That would be a mistake of fact. However, believing that the Minister had authority to solemnize the marriage even if none of the contracting parties was a member of the Minister’s religious sect is a mistake of law. This is because the law expressly provides that the Minister has authority only if one or both contracting parties are members of the Minister’s religious sect. A mistake of law does not excuse from non-compliance.

2) The marriage between Ric and Juliet is void because Juliet was below 18 years of age. Under the Family Code, the requisite age for legal capacity to contract marriage is 18 years old and a marriage by a party who is below 18 years old is void under all circumstances. Hence, even though Juliet’s parents have given their consent to the marriage and even though Ric believed in good faith that she was 18 years old, the marriage is void.

3) Juliet may file an action to declare her marriage to Ric null and void on the ground that she was not of marrying age. She may also file a criminal case against Ric for bigamy because he contracted the marriage with her without a judicial declaration of nullity of his first marriage to Gigi.

She may also file a criminal case for falsification, perjury, or illegal marriage as the case may be.

In case the facts and the evidence will warrant, she may also file a criminal case for seduction. In all these cases, Juliet may recover damages.

4) As counsel for Gigi, I will file an action for declaration of nullity of Gigi’s marriage to Ric on the ground of absence of authority of the Baptist minister to solemnize the marriage between Ric and Gigi who were both non-members of the Baptist Church.

Declaration of nullity of marriage:

1. The drug addiction must amount to psychological incapacity to comply with the essential obligations of marriage;
2. It must be antecedent (existing at the time of marriage), grave and incurable;
3. The case must be filed before August 1, 1998. Because if they got married before August 3 1998, it must be filed before August 1, 1998.

A. PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY is a mental disorder of the most serious type showing the incapability of one or both spouses to comply the essential marital obligations of love, respect, cohabitation, mutual help and support, trust and commitment. It must be characterized by juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability and its root causes must be clinically identified or examined. (Santos v. CA, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995)

NOTE: In the case of Tan-Andal v. Andal, the Court determined that psychological incapacity should mean “no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage. It must refer to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.”

B. In the case of Santos v. CA (G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995), the Supreme Court held that being of unsound mind, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality may be an indicia of psychological incapacity, depending on the degree of severity of the disorder.However, the concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality is a ground of annulment of marriage.

C. In accordance with law, if drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the marriage, they:

1) Will not constitute as grounds for declaration of nullity (Art. 36, Family Code);
2) Will constitute as grounds for legal separation (Art. 55, FamilyCode);
3) Will not constitute as grounds to render the marriage voidable. (Art. 45 and 46, Family Code)

Gemma’s suit will not prosper. The acts of Arnell complained about do not by themselves constitute psychological incapacity. It is not enough to prove the commission of those acts or the existence of his abnormal behaviour. It must be shown that those acts or that behaviour was manifestation of a serious mental disorder and that it is the root cause why he was not able to perform the essential duties of married life. It must also be shown that such psychological incapacity, as manifested in those acts or that behaviour, was existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. In this case, there was no showing that Arnell was suffering from a manifestation of that disorder, and that such disorder prevented him from complying with his duties as a married person.

The gay or lesbian is psychologically incapacitated. Being gay or lesbian is a mental disorder which prevents the afflicted person from performing the essential duties of married life. He or she will not be able to perform his duty of sexual consortium with his or her spouse due to his or her sexual preference for a person of the same sex. However, the law requires that the disorder or state of being gay or lesbian incapacitating such person must be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage.