Sunday, December 17, 2006

Family Code of the Philippines: Primer on rights and obligations between husband and wife

The rights and obligations of husbands and wives are covered by Title III of the Family Code, specifically from Articles 68 up to 73. Please surf over to my Salt and Light blog for a primer on the rights and obligations of husbands and wives, plus a discussion on the Biblical views about the roles of men and women.

Article 68 provides that “the husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.” The legal word for living together and enjoying the rights and privileges of marriage is “consortium” or “coverture.” The case of Ilusorio vs. Ilusorio-Bildner (G.R. No. 139789 July 19, 2001 and G.R. No. 139808 July 19, 2001) revolved around the following issue: “May a wife secure a writ of habeas corpus to compel her husband to live with her in conjugal bliss? The answer is no. Marital rights including coverture and living in conjugal dwelling may not be enforced by the extra-ordinary writ of habeas corpus.”

The decision penned by Justice Pardo states among other things that “coverture” is prompted by the spontaneous, mutual love and affection between husband and wife and cannot be enforced by any legal mandate or court order. The Court said:

“No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a husband to live with his wife. Coverture cannot be enforced by compulsion of a writ of habeas corpus carried out by sheriffs or by any other mesne process. That is a matter beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man and woman’s free choice.”