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Legal separation is not as common in the Philippines as it is in other countries, but there are still some couples who choose to go this route. The process is complicated process, and it can only be done by hiring a Filipino lawyer (attorney at law). Here are the steps you need to take on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines.
Couples who are married in the Philippines have the option of filing for legal separation (because divorce is not yet a legal process and requires a law). The process is similar to divorce, but there are a few key differences.
First, the couple must be married for at least five years before they can file for legal separation.
Second, the couple must file a petition with the court and submit a written agreement that outlines how they will divide their assets and debts, as well as custody arrangements for any children.
If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation in the Philippines, there are some things you need to know. First, you must be a resident of the Philippines for at least six months before you can file for a legal separation. Second, you must have grounds for legal separation, which include: physical violence, sexual infidelity, abandonment, and drug use. Third, you must file a petition with the Family Court in the Philippines.
What is a Legal Separation?
A legal separation is a court-ordered process in which a married couple is recognized as living apart. The couple may remain married while living apart, but they are still considered legally married. This means that they are still bound by the same laws and responsibilities as married couples. A legal separation can be an important first step for couples who are considering annulment or divorce (if the Philippine Congress approves the pending bill). It allows them to live apart and make sure that divorce is the right decision for their family.
Executive Order No. 209, s. 1987 of the Family Code states that a legal separation should have valid grounds. (Read below the grounds for legal separation in the Philippines).
Legal Separation, Annulment, and Divorce: What are the Differences?
There are distinctive differences between legal separation, annulment, and divorce in the Philippines. These three are totally different from one another.
Here are the explanations for those Filipinos who are looking to get out of their married relationships.
1. What is the Annulment of Marriage?
Annulment of marriage is a legal process that can be used to dissolve a marriage. This process is different from divorce in that it does not recognize the marriage as valid from the beginning. To get an annulment of marriage, you must prove that there were grounds for the annulment at the time of the marriage. The most common grounds for annulment are fraud, bigamy, and mental incapacity.
Suppose you are considering filing for an annulment of your marriage. In that case, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your specific situation and whether you will be able to meet the burden of proof required for annulment.
Is Annulment the Same as Legal Separation?
An annulment is not the same as a legal separation. A legal separation is a court-ordered process in which a married couple is legally separated but remains married. While both may eventually lead to divorce, there are important differences between the two.
2. What is Divorce?
A divorce is a legal process that ends a marriage. A couple can get a divorce if they have been married for at least a year and if they have grounds, or a reason, for the divorce. The most common grounds for divorce are adultery, desertion, and cruelty.
In some states, couples can get a legal separation without getting a divorce. A legal separation is when the court orders that the couple is no longer married, but they are still legally obligated to each other. This means that they cannot remarry or enter into a new civil partnership.
Is Divorce the Same as Legal Separation?
When a married couple decides to separate, they have the option of either filing for divorce or legal separation. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between divorce and legal separation.
For starters, divorce is a permanent dissolution of the marriage, whereas legal separation does not end the marriage. This means that if you get divorced, you are free to remarry. If you are legally separated, however, you are still considered married in the eyes of the law. Another key difference is that when you get divorced, all of your marital property is divided up between you and your spouse.
With a legal separation, however, your property remains joint unless and until you take action to change it. Finally, when you get divorced, any spousal support that is ordered by the court is typically only temporary.
How to File Legal Separation in the Philippines?
The process of filing a petition for legal separation in the Philippines consists of six steps.
Step 1: Hire a lawyer
If you want to know how to file a legal separation in the Philippines, a lawyer will be able to help you deal with that. So, the first thing you should do is engage the services of a lawyer.
Step 2: For the lawyer: Get the petition ready and file the case in court
The next step on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines is getting the petition for the court’s filing.
Your lawyer will prepare the petition, which will be composed of the following:
- Claim of complete facts establishing your course of action
- Names and ages of your common children
- The authority overseeing your property relations, properties attached, and list of your lenders, if any;
- Unless otherwise previously settled upon, your petition may also include an application for custody or support of common children, governing of properties, and visitation rights, among others.
The petition shall be filed in court in six copies, and a copy thereof should be presented to the City or Provincial Prosecutor and to the creditors (if any) within five days from its filing in court and giving the proof of service within the same time.
Failure to meet these requirements may result in the dismissal of your petition.
It’s important that you file your petition within five years from the development of the ground in the Regional Trial Court of the city or province where you or your spouse has been dwelling for at least six months ahead of the date of the filing of your case.
Step 3: Wait for the decree to be issued
The next step on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines is for the decree to be issued.
After filing a petition, there is a six-month waiting period before the decree of legal separation can be issued. The six-month period is mandatory to give you and your spouse some time to reconcile. Once the court learns that reconciliation is impossible, then a decree shall be released.
Step 4: For the Clerk of the Court: Raffle the case and release the summons
After six months, your case will be raffled to the Family Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) where the petition was submitted.
The RTC will then issue the summons for your spouse. Your spouse should respond within 15 days of receiving the order.
Step 5: Attend pre-trial proceedings
The next step on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines is the pre-trial proceedings.
Next, you must go to the court for pre-trial proceedings. This step is mandatory and failure to attend will cause your case’s dismissal.
In case you’re unable to attend due to valid reasons (e.g., you’re overseas), your lawyer or any authorized representative should be present and explain your valid ground before the court.
Step 6: Go through the actual trial
The next step on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines is attending the court hearing of both parties.
This stage involves presenting all proofs and witnesses that will support and prove your claim. This may include you serving as the witness, but you must still have other witnesses that know your marital relationship.
Step 7: Wait for the court’s decision
The last step on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines is the court’s final verdict.
Finally, you will just need to wait for the judgment. The entire process typically takes two to three years or more. The period before you can get the decision depends on various factors like the schedule of the court, the nature of the case, and postponements due to weather, to name a few.
So you need to have patience.
What are the Requirements to File a Legal Separation in the Philippines?
Some conditions that must be met before submitting a petition for legal separation are listed below:
- NSO copies of the parties’ marriage certificates and the kids’ birth certificates (obtained within 6 months from the filing of the petition).
- A barangay certificate and a community tax certificate attesting to a residence in the province or city where the petition will be submitted for the last 6 months.
- If there is a pre-nuptial agreement, a copy of it.
- A copy of any custody, support, or other agreement, if there is one.
- Inventory of the spouses’ and ACP or CP’s or other parties’ property (Please see questionnaire or other document request list of the counsel).
- Witnesses list (Please see questionnaire to be provided by the counsel).
- Additional documentation or physical proof.
Before the requirements, you must understand and ask your lawyer for the details of how to file a legal separation in the Philippines.
How Much Does it Cost to File for Legal Separation in the Philippines?
The following are the main expenses associated with a legal separation action:
Filing fees for a legal separation in the Philippines is the less expensive part of the process.
Approximately less than PHP P10,000 if there are no properties involved. The price will increase if there are properties involved.
Legal fees may include filing, acceptance, and appearance fees. Legal fees of Law Firms for legal separation in the Philippines may vary from one city to another. And it will also vary depending on the size of the law firm.
There are big law firms who will charge you PHP 300,000 or up to PHP 1,200,000. The legal fees go up depending on the profile of the client. If the client is a politician, celebrity or big time entrepreneur in the Philippines, they might require to hire a PR firms, journalists, and media houses to contain bad publicity or win the public court’s opinion.
Smaller law firms might charge between PHP 30,000 to PHP 250,000.
There are other fees that you must find out when filing a legal separation in the Philippines.
Costs and additional fees such as call charges, photocopying, and other reproduction costs, delivery fees, postage, and other similar items. It can be anywhere between PHP 5,000 to PHP 50,000.
Additional fees may include court appearances. So Filipinos must ask their lawyers about the price of appearance fees.
In total, the general price of filing a legal separation in the Philippines will cost you between PHP 50,000 to PHP 250,000.
Before allocating a budget, you must ensure to ask your lawyer of the details of how to file a legal separation in the Philippines.
What are Some of the Grounds for a Legal Separation?
There are several reasons for legal separation. In the Philippines, the legal grounds for a separation are (but not limited to):
- Repeated acts of heinous physical abuse or verbal abuse against the petitioner, their child, or a petitioner’s child;
- Using physical force or moral coercion to force the petitioner to renounce their current political or religious allegiance;
- The respondent’s attempt to corrupt or entice the petitioner, a child in common with the petitioner, or a child of the petitioner to engage in prostitution, or their complicity in such corruption or inducement;
- A final ruling ordering the respondent to serve at least six years in jail without the possibility of parole;
- The respondent’s habitual drug or alcohol abuse;
- Homosexuality or lesbianism of the respondent;
- The respondent entering into a later bigamous marriage, whether domestically or overseas;
- Sexual perversion or infidelity;
- Attempt on the petitioner’s life by the respondent; or
- Abandonment of the petitioner by the respondent for more than a year without justification. (Article 55 of the Philippine Family Code)
Before going to the details of the grounds for legal separation, you must consult with your lawyer on how to file a legal separation in the Philippines.
What to Expect During the Legal Separation Process in the Philippines?
In the Philippines, the process for filing a legal separation is governed by Article 63 of the Family Code. The first step is to file a petition with the local civil registry where the marriage took place. The petition must state the grounds for legal separation, which can include adultery, abandonment, physical or emotional abuse, or drug addiction.
Once the petition has been filed, the court will set a date for a hearing. At the hearing, both parties will have an opportunity to present their case and argue why the separation should or should not be granted. After considering both sides, the court will decide whether to grant the separation and issue an order accordingly.
If you are considering filing for legal separation in the Philippines, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Before a Filipino couple decides, be sure to consult with your lawyer about the details of how to file a legal separation in the Philippines.
How Can You Prepare Emotionally When Undergoing a Legal Separation?
When undergoing a legal separation, it is important to be prepared emotionally in order to cope with the stress of the situation. Here are some tips on how to do so:
1. Firstly, it is important to accept that the relationship is ending. This can be a difficult process, but it is necessary in order to move on.
2. Secondly, try to maintain communication with your ex-partner. This can help to make the process less stressful and more amicable.
3. Finally, reach out for support from friends and family members. They can provide you with much-needed emotional support during this difficult time.
The Effects of a Legal Separation in the Philippines
According to Article 63 of the Family Code of the Philippines, 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 bonds shall not be severed;
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, which shall be forfeited in accordance with the provisions of Article 43;
3) The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse, subject to the provisions of Article 213 of this Code; and
4) 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. (106a)
According to the interpretation of the law by Sapalo Velez Bungang & Bulilan Law Offices, Legal separation is merely the separation of spouses from bed and board. (Article 63 of the Family Code) While it permits the partial suspension of marital relations, the marriage bond still exists as the marital bonds are not severed as in the case of annulment or petition for nullity.
The Benefits of a Legal Separation in the Philippines
A legal separation is a process by which a married couple can separate without getting divorced.
In a legal separation, the Philippine court will issue an order that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they are living apart. A legal separation can be beneficial for couples who want to take some time apart to see if they can work out their differences but who are not ready to divorce. It can also be beneficial for couples who have religious or moral objections to divorce.
The Drawbacks of a Legal Separation in the Philippines
A legal separation is when a Filipino married couple decides to live apart but is still legally married. This means they cannot remarry or enter into another civil partnership. The main reason people opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce is usually because of religious reasons.
There are, however, some drawbacks to legal separations.
First, it can be difficult to change back to a divorce if you later decide that you want one.
Second, during a legal separation, you are still technically married, which means your spouse could make decisions about your finances or healthcare without your consent.
Finally, if you have children, a legal separation can be confusing for them since they will still see their parents as married even though they are living apart.
How to Reverse a Legal Separation in the Philippines
In the Philippines, a legal separation does not exist as a separate and distinct ground for the dissolution of marriage. Legal separation in the context of Philippine family law refers to a court-ordered period of separation between a husband and wife. The purpose of legal separation is to provide time for reflection and reconciliation, with the hope that the couple will eventually choose to reunite and continue their marriage.
A legal separation may be granted by the court if it finds that there are serious grounds for the couple to live apart and that living apart is in the best interests of the spouses and children. Once granted, both parties are free to live separately from each other, but they remain married.
Before going to the entire process, ensure that you consult with your lawyer about the details of how to file a legal separation in the Philippines and how to withdraw it.
Common Reasons for Legal Separation: Why Do Filipino File Legal Separation?
It is not unusual for couples to seek a legal separation instead of a divorce in the Philippines. Some couples who have fallen out of love may choose to remain married for religious reasons, while others may want to keep their health insurance benefits. Whatever the reason, there are certain steps that must be taken in order to file for legal separation in the Philippines.
One of the most common reasons couples seek a legal separation is due to infidelity (for example: you caught your spouse in a motel with another person). If one spouse has been unfaithful, the other may feel betrayed and want to seek a legal separation. In some cases, couples may also seek a legal separation if they have simply grown apart and no longer feel like they are compatible.
Couples who have financial disagreements may also opt for a legal separation. This can allow them to work out their differences without having to go through the stress and expense of a divorce.
Conclusion: How to File a Legal Separation in the Philippines
In conclusion, filing for legal separation in the Philippines takes time, effort, and patience. It is important to understand the process and requirements before beginning. With the help of an attorney, the process can be much simpler. Legal separations can be emotionally and financially draining, but they do not have to be. With the proper planning and support, couples can make it through this tough time.
If you are considering a legal separation in the Philippines, it is important to understand the process and what it entails. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your separation is handled smoothly and efficiently. With the help of a qualified lawyer, you can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.