Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Psychological incapacity

Q: What is psychological incapacity?

A: Article 36 of the Family Code provides, "A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization."

The Supreme Court in the case of Santos vs. Court of Appeals.stated, "psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code is not meant to comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It should refer, rather, to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage. Psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability."

In Barcelona vs. Court of Appeals, a 2003 case, the Supreme Court stated,

"The obvious effect of the new Rules providing that “expert opinion need not be alleged” in the petition is that there is also no need to allege the root cause of the psychological incapacity. Only experts in the fields of neurological and behavioral sciences are competent to determine the root cause of psychological incapacity. Since the new Rules do not require the petition to allege expert opinion on the psychological incapacity, it follows that there is also no need to allege in the petition the root cause of the psychological incapacity.

"Science continues to explore, examine and explain how our brains work, respond to and control the human body. Scientists still do not understand everything there is to know about the root causes of psychological disorders. The root causes of many psychological disorders are still unknown to science even as their outward, physical manifestations are evident. Hence, what the new Rules require the petition to allege are the physical manifestations indicative of psychological incapacity."

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