Overturning a decree of legal separation
"My younger brother was previously married to his wife for around three and a half years. However, because of a marital problem related to financial issues, his wife filed a petition for legal separation against him, which was subsequently granted by the court. After almost a decade, they started seeing each other again. Their situation has improved to the point that they are actually living together again. In fact, they are now considering becoming a married couple again. We want to know if it is possible to just overturn the previous court order. We hope for your advice on how to reconcile their marriage since the court already finalized their legal separation. How can my brother formally reconcile with his ex-wife and what are the effects of this?Nathaniel
Dear Nathaniel,Your brother’s current ex-wife may still legally reconcile with him and live together again as husband and wife notwithstanding a court decree formalizing their legal separation. The Family Code of the Philippines provides that should a married couple who previously obtained a decree of legal separation decide to reconcile, they may do so by formalizing their intention to reunite and live as a couple again by filing before the court a joint manifestation officially expressing their intention to set aside their previous legal separation. As stated in the said Code:
“Art. 65. If the spouses should reconcile, a corresponding joint manifestation under oath duly signed by them shall be filed with the court in the same proceeding for legalseparation.”
In this joint manifestation of the couple, it is important that both parties sign the legal document to signify and formalize their mutual intention and consent to legally live together again as husband and wife. Thereafter, upon order of the court, the filing of this manifestation shall have the following legal effects:“(1) The legal separation proceedings, if still pending, shall thereby be terminated at whatever stage and
“(2) The final decree of legal separation shall be set aside, but the separation of property and any forfeiture of the share of the guilty spouse already effected shall subsist, unless the spouses agree to revive their former property regime.“The court’s order containing the foregoing shall be recorded in the proper civil registries.” (Article 66, Family Code of the Philippines)It can be seen from the above-cited provisions that the law recognizes and allows legally separated couples, like your brother and his ex-wife, to reconcile and live again as a legally married couple. You may therefore advise your brother to prepare the said joint manifestation together with his ex-wife and file it before the court to legalize their reconciliation as husband and wife.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com"
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"Overturning a decree of legal separation"
was written by Mary
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comments. The article was created on 15 September 2021
and updated on 15 September 2021