What is Legal Separation?
A decree of legal separation is nothing more than bed-and-board separation of the spouses. The marital ties are not severed; hence the parties cannot remarry.
What are the grounds for Legal Separation?
Article 55 of the Family Code provides that a petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:
· Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct
· Physical violence to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation
· Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce to engage in prostitution
· Imprisonment of more than six years
· Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent
· Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent
· Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage
· Sexual infidelity or perversion
· Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner
· Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year
Who may file for Legal Separation?
Only the husband or the wife can file for legal separation.
Effect of Legal Separation?
1. Separation. Legal Separation will not the dissolve the marriage. Hence, the parties are still legally married, and they cannot remarry. Moreover, the effects and status of a valid marriage are still subsisting.
The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other, but the marriage bonds shall not be severed.
2. Property Relations. The absolute community of property (ACP) or the conjugal partnership of gains (CPG), as the case may be, shall be dissolved and liquidated. The court, in the absence of a written agreement between the spouses, shall designate either of them or a third person to administer the absolute community or conjugal partnership property. The administrator appointed by the court shall have the same powers and duties as those of a guardian.
3. Custody of Children. The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse, but no child under 7 years shall be separated from the mother unless there are compelling reasons.
4. Support. During the pendency of the action, child and spousal support will be governed by either written agreement, or in the absence thereof, from the ACP/CPG. After the decree, either parent or both may be ordered by the court to give an amount necessary for support in proportion to resources/means of giver and necessities of the recipient. Spousal support is considered as an advance to be deducted from the share of the spouse supported during liquidation.
5. Succession. The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in the will of the innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.