Leouel Santos v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 112019, 4 January 1995

FACTS:

Leouel, a First Lieutenant of the Philippine Army, married Julia in a municipal trial court and thereafter, in a church. She gave birth to a baby boy and was named Leouel Jr. Occasionally, the couple quarreled over a lot of things including the interference of Julia’s parents into their family affairs.

Julia went to US to work as a nurse and promised husband that she will return once her contract will have expired. She never did. Leouel tried to find her in the US but somehow failed to contact her or get in touch with her.

Leouel filed a petition to have their marriage declared null and void, citing Article 36 of the Family Code. He argued that Julia’s failure to return home and communicating with him for more than 5 years constitute psychological incapacity.

ISSUE:

Whether or not their marriage can be considered void under Article 36 of the Family Code.

RULING:

No. Julia’s failure to return to her husband and communication with him do not constitute psychological incapacity.

Psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) juridical antecedence, (b) gravity and (c) incurability.

The intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of psychological incapacity to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.In the case at bar, although Leouel stands aggrieved, his petition must be dismissed because the alleged psychological incapacity of his wife is not clearly shown by the factual settings presented. The factual settings do not come close to the standard required to decree a nullity of marriage.

* Case digest by Ariel M. Acopiado, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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