Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Navigating Family Law in the Philippines: What You Need to Know About Adoption in the Philippines

Adoption is a legal process where an individual or couple assumes the parental responsibilities of a child who is not biologically theirs. In the Philippines, adoption is governed by the Family Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 8552, also known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998. Understanding family law in the Philippines, particularly on adoption, is crucial to ensure that the process is carried out correctly and that the welfare of the child is protected.

Who Can Adopt and Who Can Be Adopted?

Qualifications for Adopter

Adoption in the Philippines is open to any Filipino citizen who is at least 27 years old, of good moral character, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children and has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. The adopter must also have the capacity to support and provide for the needs of the child to be adopted.

Qualifications for Adoptee

A person below 18 years of age who has been declared legally available for adoption or a person above 18 but is incapable of taking care of himself/herself due to physical or mental disability may be adopted in the Philippines.

The Adoption Process

Filing of Petition for Adoption: The first step in the adoption process is the filing of a petition for adoption with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) having jurisdiction over the place where the adopter resides or where the child to be adopted resides.

Hearing and Trial Custody Period: The court will then issue an order setting the case for hearing. The adopter and the child to be adopted will undergo a six-month trial custody period. During this period, the social worker assigned to the case will monitor the welfare of the child and assess the suitability of the adopter.

Social Worker's Report: After the trial custody period, the social worker assigned to the case will submit a report to the court regarding the suitability of the adopter and the welfare of the child. The report will also include the circumstances surrounding the child's placement in a child-caring institution, foster home, or with any person other than the biological parent.

Issuance of Adoption Order: The court will then issue an order granting the adoption if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Required Documents for Adoption

To start the adoption process, there are specific documents that you need to prepare. These documents are crucial for the court to determine your eligibility to adopt a child in the Philippines.

Birth Certificate of the Adopter: The birth certificate is a primary document that verifies your identity and age. You need to provide an original or certified true copy of your birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Marriage Certificate (if applicable): If you're married, you need to present your marriage certificate as proof of your marital status. This document also verifies if you have the capacity to adopt a child.

Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR): A Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR is a document issued by the PSA that states that the adopter is not legally married or has no pending marriage application. It is necessary to secure this document to ensure that the adopter is qualified to adopt a child.

NBI Clearance or Police Clearance: An NBI clearance or police clearance is required to certify that the adopter has no criminal record or pending criminal cases. This document also confirms the adopter's good moral character.

Income Tax Return or Certificate of Employment: The adopter needs to provide an income tax return or certificate of employment to prove that he/she has the capacity to support the needs of the child. This document also verifies the adopter's financial stability.

Medical Certificate: The adopter needs to submit a medical certificate from a licensed physician stating that he/she is physically and mentally fit to adopt a child. This document is necessary to ensure that the adopter is capable of taking care of a child.

Home Study Report: A home study report is an evaluation conducted by a licensed social worker to assess the adopter's capacity to adopt a child. It also includes a report on the adopter's family background, living conditions, and other relevant information that may affect the child's welfare.

Written Consent of the Child: If the child to be adopted is 10 years old or above, he/she needs to provide written consent to the adoption. The child's consent is necessary to ensure that he/she is aware of and agrees to the adoption process.

Foreigner Adoption in the Philippines

Foreigners who wish to adopt a Filipino child need to comply with the following requirements:

Residency Requirement

A foreigner who wishes to adopt a Filipino child should have been residing in the Philippines for at least three continuous years before filing the petition for adoption. The foreigner should also maintain such residence until the adoption decree is entered.

Diplomatic Relations between Countries

The Philippines only allows foreign adoption from countries with diplomatic relations with the Philippines. This means that if a foreigner comes from a country without diplomatic relations with the Philippines, he/she cannot adopt a Filipino child.

Effects of Adoption

Adoption has various effects on both the adopter and the adoptee. Once the adoption order is granted, the adopter and the adopted child are bound by law, and the child will acquire the same rights and obligations as a legitimate child. The following are the effects of adoption in the Philippines:

Legitimacy of Adopted Child

The adopted child shall be deemed a legitimate child of the adopter and shall have the same rights and obligations as a legitimate child, including the right to use the surname of the adopter. The adopted child shall be entitled to all the benefits provided by law to legitimate children, such as support, inheritance, and other legal rights.

Parental Authority of Adopter

The adopter shall have the same rights and obligations as biological parents, including parental authority over the adopted child. This means that the adopter has the responsibility to care for and protect the child, provide for the child's basic needs, education, and well-being, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the child.

Support, Education, and Other Needs

The adopter is responsible for the support, education, and all other needs of the adopted child. The adopter is required to provide for the child's basic necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothing, as well as education, medical care, and other expenses necessary for the child's well-being.

Revocation of Adoption

Adoption is generally considered irrevocable in the Philippines, meaning that it cannot be undone or canceled. However, there is an exception to this rule, which is when the adopter and the adopted person are related by consanguinity within the fourth degree. In such cases, the adoption may be revoked upon the petition of the adopter or adopted person.


Adoption is a legal process that involves various requirements and procedures that must be carefully followed. It is essential to understand the Philippine family law on adoption to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the welfare of the child is protected. Seeking the assistance of a lawyer is advisable to ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly and that all legal matters are appropriately handled. Remember that adoption is a lifelong commitment, and it is essential to consider all aspects before deciding to adopt a child.

Protecting Women and Children: VAWC Law in the Philippines

Violence against women and children is a pervasive problem worldwide. In the Philippines, the government enacted Republic Act No. 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (VAWC Law), in 2004 to protect women and children from all forms of violence. The VAWC Law is an important legal framework that aims to ensure the safety and security of women and children in the Philippines. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the VAWC Law and its significance in protecting women and children from different types of violence.

A Brief Explanation of VAWC Law

The VAWC Law is a comprehensive legal framework that provides protection to women and their children from all forms of violence. This law recognizes that violence against women and children is a violation of their human rights, and it is a crime that must be punished. The law defines violence against women and their children as any act or a series of acts that result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering, economic abuse, and threats of such acts.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any sexual act that is forced upon a person against their will. Examples of sexual violence covered by the VAWC Law include rape, sexual harassment, and prostitution. Sexual violence can have long-lasting psychological effects on the victim, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The VAWC Law recognizes the importance of protecting women and children from sexual violence by imposing severe penalties on offenders.

Physical Violence

Physical violence is any act of violence that causes physical harm or injury to the victim. Examples of physical violence covered by the VAWC Law include physical abuse, battery, and assault. Physical violence can have severe physical and psychological consequences for the victim, including broken bones, bruises, and mental trauma. The VAWC Law provides protection to women and children from physical violence by imposing penalties on offenders and providing assistance to victims.

Psychological Violence

Psychological violence is any form of violence that causes psychological harm or suffering to the victim. Examples of psychological violence covered by the VAWC Law include verbal abuse, threats, and intimidation. Psychological violence can have long-term effects on the victim, including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The VAWC Law recognizes the importance of protecting women and children from psychological violence by providing assistance to victims and imposing penalties on offenders.

Economic Abuse

Economic abuse is any form of abuse that deprives the victim of their economic or financial resources. Examples of economic abuse covered by the VAWC Law include controlling the victim's finances, withholding financial support, and depriving the victim of their property. Economic abuse can have long-lasting effects on the victim, including poverty, homelessness, and financial dependence. The VAWC Law recognizes the importance of protecting women and children from economic abuse by providing assistance to victims and imposing penalties on offenders.

Victim's Rights

The VAWC Law provides several rights to the victim, including the right to protection and safety, the right to legal assistance, and the right to financial support. These rights are significant in ensuring that victims of violence are provided with the necessary support and assistance to recover from their trauma. The VAWC Law also provides the right to privacy, which is essential in protecting the victim's dignity and integrity.

Importance of VAWC Law

The VAWC Law is an essential legal framework for protecting women and children from all forms of violence. It recognizes that violence against women and children is a violation of their human rights and a crime that must be punished. By imposing severe penalties on offenders, the law serves as a deterrent to potential abusers. Additionally, the VAWC Law provides victims with the necessary support and assistance to recover from their trauma and regain control of their lives. The law also raises awareness about the prevalence of violence against women and children in the Philippines and promotes a culture of respect and equality. Overall, the VAWC Law is a significant step towards eradicating violence against women and children and promoting a safe and secure society for all.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the VAWC Law is a critical step in protecting women and children from violence, its implementation faces several challenges. One challenge is the lack of resources, including funding, staff, and infrastructure, to fully enforce the law. Additionally, cultural norms and attitudes towards violence against women and children can be deeply entrenched, making it challenging to change behavior and attitudes toward victims. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves education, advocacy, and community engagement.

There are also opportunities to strengthen the implementation of the VAWC Law. These opportunities include improving coordination among government agencies and civil society organizations, strengthening accountability mechanisms, and enhancing public awareness about the law and its provisions. Through collaborative efforts, it is possible to ensure that the VAWC Law is fully enforced and that women and children are protected from all forms of violence.


The VAWC Law is a vital legal framework that provides protection to women and children from all forms of violence. It recognizes the importance of promoting a culture of respect and equality and provides victims with the necessary support and assistance to recover from their trauma. While challenges to its implementation exist, there are opportunities to strengthen the enforcement of the law through collaborative efforts among government agencies and civil society organizations. By working together, we can ensure that women and children are protected from violence, and their human rights are upheld.

Empowering Women Through the Magna Carta: A Closer Look at the Philippines' Gender Equality Law

The Magna Carta of Women or the Republic Act 9710 is a landmark law in the Philippines that aims to promote the empowerment and rights of women. It was signed into law on August 14, 2009, and serves as a comprehensive legislation that recognizes the unequal status of women in the country and seeks to address various forms of discrimination and violence that they face.

History of the Law

The Magna Carta of Women was a result of years of advocacy and lobbying by various women's groups in the Philippines. It is also a response to international commitments that the Philippine government has made to promote gender equality and women's rights. The law was enacted during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and was a major milestone in the country's efforts to promote gender equality.

Key Provisions of the Law

The Magna Carta of Women has several key provisions that aim to promote gender equality and women's empowerment. These include the elimination of discrimination against women in all aspects of life, promotion of women's political participation and representation, provision of equal opportunities for women in education, training, and employment, protection of women from violence, and recognition of women's rights in marriage and family relations.

Addressing Discrimination Against Women

One of the primary goals of the Magna Carta of Women is to eliminate discrimination against women in all aspects of life. This includes addressing gender stereotypes and biases that prevent women from participating in various fields, such as politics, business, and the arts. The law also promotes women's political participation and representation, both in elective and appointive positions.

Protecting Women from Violence

The Magna Carta of Women also seeks to protect women from violence, including sexual harassment, exploitation, and trafficking. The law provides support and assistance for victims of violence against women, and mandates government agencies to implement programs and initiatives that address the specific needs of women who are victims of violence.

Recognizing Women's Rights in Marriage and Family Relations

The Magna Carta of Women recognizes the rights of women in marriage and family relations, including the right to choose their own spouse and the right to inherit property. The law also promotes women's reproductive health and rights, and ensures that women have access to comprehensive health services and information.

Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women

Several government agencies are mandated to ensure the promotion of gender equality and the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women. Various programs and initiatives have been created to empower women, such as the Gender and Development (GAD) budget policy, which mandates government agencies to allocate a certain percentage of their budget to programs that promote gender equality. However, there are still challenges in the implementation of the law, such as inadequate resources and cultural barriers.

Impact of the Magna Carta of Women on Women's Empowerment

The Magna Carta of Women has had a positive impact on women's rights and empowerment in the Philippines. For example, more women are now participating in politics and business, and more women are aware of their rights and how to assert them. However, there are still areas for improvement and further action, such as addressing cultural barriers that prevent women from fully participating in society.


The Magna Carta of Women is a significant law that promotes gender equality and women's empowerment in the Philippines. It recognizes the unequal status of women in the country and seeks to address the various forms of discrimination and violence that they face. While there have been successes in the implementation of the law, there are still challenges and areas for improvement. It is important for all stakeholders to continue to support the law and its implementation, and to work towards a more equal and just society for all.

Does Certificate Determine The Validity Of Marriage?

Many people have fallen prey to schemes including entering into a fake marriage. Everything seems like a dream-come-true to these individuals, but when both parties decide to part ways, it is only then that one party discovers that the marriage was actually fake. People who are not well-versed when it comes to the ins and outs of legal marriage may consider a marriage certificate as a strong proof of the validity of marriage. Surprising as it may seem, a marriage can still be considered valid despite the absence of registration of a marriage certificate at the local civil registry or the National Statistics Office. 

When both parties have entered into a contract of permanent union, the following requirements must be met in accordance with the Family Code. 

Requisites of Marriage

Article 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code. (52a)

Art. 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present:

(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; and

(2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer. (53a)

Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:

(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer;

(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and

(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. (53a, 55a)

Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35 (2).

A defect in any of the essential requisites shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable. (n)

Art. 5. Any male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 and 38, may contract marriage. (54a)

Art. 6. No prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of the marriage is required. It shall be necessary, however, for the contracting parties to appear personally before the solemnizing officer and declare in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that they take each other as husband and wife. This declaration shall be contained in the marriage certificate which shall be signed by the contracting parties and their witnesses and attested by the solemnizing officer.

In case of a marriage in articulo mortis, when the party at the point of death is unable to sign the marriage certificate, it shall be sufficient for one of the witnesses to the marriage to write the name of said party, which fact shall be attested by the solemnizing officer. (55a)

Art. 7. Marriage may be solemnized by:

(1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court's jurisdiction;

(2) Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer's church or religious sect;

(3) Any ship captain or airplane chief only in the case mentioned in Article 31;   

(4)  Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation, likewise only in the cases mentioned in Article 32;

(5) Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case provided in Article 10. (56a)

Article. 8. The marriage shall be solemnized publicly in the chambers of the judge or in open court, in the church, chapel or temple, or in the office the consul-general, consul or vice-consul, as the case may be, and not elsewhere, except in cases of marriages contracted on the point of death or in remote places in accordance with Article 29 of this Code, or where both of the parties request the solemnizing officer in writing in which case the marriage may be solemnized at a house or place designated by them in a sworn statement to that effect. (57a)

Art. 9. A marriage license shall be issued by the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, except in marriages where no license is required in accordance with Chapter 2 of this Title. (58a)

Art. 10. Marriages between Filipino citizens abroad may be solemnized by a consul-general, consul or vice-consul of the Republic of the Philippines. The issuance of the marriage license and the duties of the local civil registrar and of the solemnizing officer with regard to the celebration of marriage shall be performed by said consular official. (75a)

Art. 11. Where a marriage license is required, each of the contracting parties shall file separately a sworn application for such license with the proper local civil registrar which shall specify the following:

(1) Full name of the contracting party;

(2) Place of birth;

(3) Age and date of birth;

(4) Civil status;

(5) If previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage was dissolved or annulled;

(6) Present residence and citizenship;

(7) Degree of relationship of the contracting parties;

(8) Full name, residence and citizenship of the father;

(9) Full name, residence and citizenship of the mother; and

(10) Full name, residence and citizenship of the guardian or person having charge, in case the contracting party has neither father nor mother and is under the age of twenty-one years. 

If the requisites mentioned are present, there is no reason for marriage to be invalid. If a copy of the marriage certificate has not been filed to the local civil registry, it does not affect the validity of marriage. Married parties will just simply present a copy of marriage certificate to the civil registry for late registration. 

Questioning The Legitimacy Of A Child

There are different situations that involve questioning the legitimacy of a child. In fact, a birth certificate can be cancelled if there's adequate proof that it is fictitious. Another situation in which the legitimacy can be questioned is when the child was conceived as a result of artificial insemination. Both the husband and wife should prove that insemination was approved otherwise, the wife will be sentenced as an adulteress.

Even if the husband and wife are married, the husband can still question the child's legitimacy based on the following grounds:

Art. 166

(1) That it was physically impossible for the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the child because of:

(a) the physical incapacity of the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife;

(b) the fact that the husband and wife were living separately in such a way that sexual intercourse was not possible; or

(c) serious illness of the husband, which absolutely prevented sexual intercourse;

(2) That it is proved that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been that of the husband, except in the instance provided in the second paragraph of Article 164; or

(3) That in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the written authorization or ratification of either parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence.

Who may question legitimacy

Art. 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be brought within one year from the knowledge of the birth or its recording in the civil register, if the husband or, in a proper case, any of his heirs, should reside in the city or municipality where the birth took place or was recorded.

If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do not reside at the place of birth as defined in the first paragraph or where it was recorded, the period shall be two years if they should reside in the Philippines; and three years if abroad. If the birth of the child has been concealed from or was unknown to the husband or his heirs, the period shall be counted from the discovery or knowledge of the birth of the child or of the fact of registration of said birth, whichever is earlier.

Art. 171. The heirs of the husband may impugn the filiation of the child within the period prescribed in the preceding article only in the following cases:

(1) If the husband should die before the expiration of the period fixed for bringing his action;

(2) If he should die after the filing of the complaint without having desisted therefrom; or

(3) If the child was born after the death of the husband.

Can Property Relations Be Applied To Live-In Partners

Property relations often cover married couples, but there are still couples who are in a live-in relationship or also referred to as common law marriage. Although couples are merely living in, they can still acquire properties and other valued possessions. Some eventually decide to get married while others who cannot settle differences part ways. This is where the situation gets tricky. Although unmarried couples live under one roof, the property relations between live-in partners may still be hazy. A relationship that used to be sweet can turn sour because of issues with money, inheritance and property. This is where Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code of the Philippines can be applied.

Article 147 of the Family code.

Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.

In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.

Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation.

When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation.

Article 148 of the Family Code

Art. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit.

If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community or conjugal partnership existing in such valid marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the preceding Article.

Reasons For A Mother To Lose Child Custody

In general, the full custody of a child below seven is given to the mother. However, a mother may risk losing custody if found guilty of subjecting children to any type of abuse.

The compelling reasons for a mother to lose child custody:

1. insanity
2. neglect
3. abandonment
4. immorality and unemployment
5. habitual drunkenness
6. drug addiction
7. maltreatment of the child
8. affliction with a communicable illness

For children older than seven years of age, they have the right to state their preference. However, the court is not bound by the children's choice as it also has to exercise its discretion by ensuring that the parent who gets the custody is deemed fit for the role. The custody may also be given to a third person.

"Art. 209. Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the person and property of their unemancipated children, parental authority and responsibility shall include the caring for and rearing them for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well‑being. (n)

The State ought not to interfere with the right of parents to bring up their child unless its exercise causes potential harm to him. The State steps in, through the law, only if there are compelling reasons to do so. State intrusion is uncalled for where the welfare of a child is not jeopardized.

Regardless of marital circumstances, the mother and the father are presumed to be fit and competent to act in the best interest of their child. They can agree to share parental authority or, if you will, parental custody even as they decide to live under separate roofs. In a voluntary joint custody the mother might want to keep the child in her home during schooldays but allow the father to have him on weekends. And they could agree on some device for arriving at a consensus on where the child will study and how his spiritual needs are to be attended to.

The law does not take away from a separating couple the authority and competence to determine what is best for their child. If they resolve on their own that shared parental custody is in their child's best interest, then the law and the courts have no business vetoing their decision. The parents enjoy a primary right to make such decision. I cannot concede that, where the child is below seven years of age, any agreement that diminishes the mothers absolute custody over him is void.

The second paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code should not be read as prohibiting separated couples from agreeing to a custody arrangement, other than sole maternal custody, for their child of tender age. The statutory preference for the mothers custody comes into play only when courts are compelled to resolve custody fights between separated parents. Where the parents settle the matter out of court by mutual agreement, the statutory preference reserved to the mother should not apply.

A reading of the entire text of Article 213 shows that the second paragraph applies only to custody disputes that have reached the courtroom. Thus:

Article 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit.

No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.

It is unmistakable that the legislative policy is to vest the separated mother with physical custody of the child under seven years old, in cases where the courts are called upon to designate a parent for the exercise of parental authority. The second sentence of the first paragraph and the second paragraph itself merely qualify the general rule expressed in the first sentence that parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court, in case of parental separation.

In choosing the parent who will exercise parental authority, the court must take into account all relevant considerations. One of these is the child's age, as the court is directed to give due regard to the child's choice, if the child is more than seven years of age. If the child, however, is below seven years of age, the court cannot separate the child from the mother, except for compelling reasons. This is the import of the entire provision.

Thus, no legislative policy is violated if separated parents are allowed to voluntarily agree to a child custody arrangement other than sole maternal custody. It is not the policy of the state to prohibit separated parents from compromising on child custody even if the child is of tender age. On the contrary, voluntary custody agreements are generally favored as it can only work for the best interest of the child.

It is not logical to say that the Court would be subverting the legislative policy of avoiding a tragedy where a mother has seen her baby torn away from her if separated parents are allowed to enter into a joint custody agreement. It can hardly be said that a child is being torn away from the mother, if the mother sees the wisdom and benefit of sharing custody of the child with the father. The voluntary nature of the agreement negates any deep sorrow or sense of deprivation that the mother may experience on account of her separation from the child."

Does Long Separation Automatically Nullify Marriage?

Marriage is a sensitive subject matter that requires concrete answers. It is one of the most common topics being discussed in legal forums. If one has already found a new person to love, long separation does not necessarily nullify marriage because laws still get in the way.  Even if you are separated from your spouse for 10 years, it is not a sufficient ground for annulment. However, long separation will greatly depend on the circumstances. The petitioner is allowed to remarry if the court provides a declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse. The separation between spouses is referred to as de facto separation. Both parties need to undergo proper procedure to nullify marriage. There are different ways marriage can be nullified: annulment, presumptive death, declaration of nullity and recognition of foreign divorce.

Article 83 of the Civil Code states:

“ Art. 83. Any marriage subsequently contracted by any person during the lifetime of the first spouse of such person with any other person other than such first spouse shall be illegal and void from its performance, unless:

(2) The first spouse had been absent for seven consecutive years at the time of the second marriage without the spouse present having news of the absentee being alive, or if the absentee, though he has been absent for less than seven years, is generally considered as dead and believed to be so by the spouse present at the time of the contracting such subsequent marriage, or if the absentee is presumed dead according to articles 390 and 391. The marriage so contracted shall be valid in any of the three cases until declared null and void by a competent court.”

A married individual who is separated from spouse should also note that legal separation does not allow a person to remarry as the spouses are still considered married to each other. Filing for legal separation is not faster than annulment because the petitioner needs to prove the allegations. There is also a mandatory 6-month cooling off period that must be observed as part of the procedure.

Article 55 of the Family Code outlines the grounds for legal separation:

“ (a) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;

(b) Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;

(c) Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;

(d) Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;

(e) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;

(f) Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;

(g) Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in or outside the Philippines;

(h) Sexual infidelity or perversion of the respondent;

(i) Attempt on the life of petitioner by the respondent; or

(j) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 9 Of 15 Anti-Marital Infidelity Law

If you happen to come across Article 333 and 334 of the Revised Penal Code, you will realize that gender inequality is evident even in our Penal Law. Proving women of committing a crime of adultery is not a daunting task as proof of sexual intercourse between the married woman and another man will suffice. Once the husband charges the offending parties with adultery, they can carry a penalty of two to six years if found guilty. 

“Art. 333. Who are guilty of adultery. — Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.

Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed.”

“Art. 334. Concubinage. — Any husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

The concubine shall suffer the penalty of destierro.”

The husband can only get convicted for a crime of concubinage if and only if the wife has proven that her husband has been keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling or if he has been found to have sexual intercourse with a woman other than his wife under scandalous circumstances. The wife can also file charges if the husband has been cohabiting with the mistress in any other place.

However, the husband will only serve a sentence of six months to four years when convicted while his mistress would only receive banishment, which is also referred to as destierro. When a mistress is sentenced to destierro, she will be prohibited from entering the place or places designated in the sentence, or within the radius designated. She should keep a distance of at least 25 kilometers, and 250 kilometers at most from the place designated. 

If the offended spouse has pardoned the offenders, the criminal charge cannot prosper. Pardon can either be expressed or implied. An expressed pardon refers to writing an affidavit that the offended party is pardoning his or her spouse for his or her act. If the offended spouse chooses to continue living with the offender even after the offense has been committed, this will be considered an implied pardon.

An Overview Of Republic Act No. 10627 Anti-Bullying Act

With the pervasiveness of bullying at schools, more and more parents are concerned about their children’s safety since teachers are not always present to keep an eye on students. Children are not safe from harm against bullies especially when they are outside of the school’s premise. The growing number of bullying cases is already a cause for alarm. The Republic Act No. 10627 or also known as the Anti Bullying Act of 2013 addresses this concern among parents, teachers and even students who are considered victims of bullying. The anti-bullying act ensures that these cases will no longer fall on deaf ears. 

What is bullying?

Bullying refers to any repeated or severe use by one or more students of a verbal, electronic or written expression, or a physical gesture or act that can bring physical or emotional harm to the victim. Bullying is also perceived as creating an unfriendly environment for the other student that can cause disruption in the education process. 

The following is considered acts of bullying: 

a. Any unwanted physical contact between the victim and the bully such as pushing, shoving punching, tickling, headlocks, slapping, teasing, fighting, inflicting school pranks and the use of available objects or weapons;

b. Any act that can create damage to a victim’s emotional well-being;

c. Any accusation that can make the victim emotionally distressed such as profanity, foul language, negative comments or derogatory remarks on the victim’s appearance, body and clothes; and 

d. Cyber-bullying or any type of bullying that is initiated with the use of technology or any electronic means. 

Procedures and strategies for bullying:

• Report acts of bullying;

• Respond in a timely manner and investigate reports of bullying;

• Ensure victim’s safety and assess if they need additional protection;

• Provide counseling and other necessary services for the victims, perpetrators and family members.

• Allow students to anonymously report bullying provided, that no disciplinary administrative action will be taken against the reported student based       solely on the anonymous report;

• Provide sanction to a student who makes false accusation of bullying;

• Educate students on the anti-bullying policies and dynamics of bullying;

• Educate parents and guardians about the anti-bullying polices, dynamics of bullying and how parents and guardians can provide support and reinforce policies at home; and

• Keep a public record of statistics and relevant information on acts of bullying. However, the names of the students who were reported to have committed the acts of bullying must be treated with confidentiality and will only be made available to the teachers and school administration that are directly responsible for the said students and parents or guardians of the victims of bullying.