How To File a Petition for Legal Separation in the Philippines

By Lyza Paloma August 23rd, 2020 Posted in Guide for Filipinos, Philippines Travel Blog, Travel Blog 21 Comments

In the Philippines, a Catholic country where divorce is not legal, spouses have three choices; legal separation, annulment, or not doing anything. Annulment is a lengthy and expensive process; not doing anything (and having another partner) may be more dangerous as you will be charged with adultery plus properties may still be conjugal. The best thing to do is to file a petition for legal separation in the Philippines, read our guide.

How To File a Petition for Legal Separation in the Philippines
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Legal Separation is also termed as Bed and Board Separation as you won’t be sharing a home or a bed with your spouse. Filing a legal separation in the Philippines is not a bit as easy as it sounds. You need to be eligible to file such, and there is a period for reconciliation, too. This will be very helpful in the future; your assets are yours not anymore conjugal, and if you found a new love on the other side of the world, you can explain properly when it comes to visa applications and invitations.

Who can file for a Petition for legal separation in the Philippines?

As per Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, you can file on the following grounds:
P.S. Respondent is the defendant or the spouse of the petitioner

  • Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct (to the petitioner, their child, or child of petitioner) – this must be not a one-time thing, it must have been repetitive
  • Physical violence or moral pressure – e.g., if respondent forces the petitioner to change religion or political views
  • Prostitution of petitioner, their child, or child of the petitioner
  • Respondent is sentenced to imprisonment of more than 6 years
  • Drug Addiction or habitual alcoholism of respondent
  • Lesbianism or homosexuality of respondent
  • Respondent has another marriage in the Philippines or abroad
  • Sexual Infidelity or Perversion
  • Attempt in taking the life of the petitioner by the respondent
  • Abandonment of petitioner by the respondent without just cause for more than a year

Petition Denial

In the cases below, then you may not file a petition for legal separation:

  • Petitioner has condoned or consented the offense or act complained
  • Connivance between parties so that they will be legally separated
  • Both parties have given ground for legal separation
  • Collusion between the parties
  • Action is barred by prescription
How To File a Petition for Legal Separation in the Philippines
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Steps on how to File for a Petition for Legal Separation in the Philippines

STEP 1: Look for a lawyer.  A family lawyer is recommended. Talk to the lawyer about your circumstances and that you want to a Legal Separation with your spouse. Note that the husband or wife can only file for the petition, in-laws and children can’t.

STEP 2: The lawyer will make a petition on your behalf and file in the court.

STEP 3: After 6 months from filing, you can be tried. This is a cooling period where you and your spouse may reconcile. You should need to take steps, but in case it’s impossible to get back together, a decree is issued.

STEP 4: The court will issue summon for the respondent. The respondent needs to answer the summons 15 days after s/he received the order.

STEP 5: Go to the court for pre-trial proceedings. You should attend with your lawyer so that the case would not be dismissed. In case you are unable to go there due to an urgent matter, you can let your lawyer go to the court.

STEP 6: Go on a trial. Prepare your evidence, witnesses, etc. your lawyer will help you along the way. The evidence and witnesses must help you in your legal separation by proving the grounds. For example, if your ground is sexual infidelity, you may show text messages, pictures, etc. of your spouse and the other party at the court.

STEP 7: Wait for the verdict. It will take more than a year or two for the final judgment. So you need to be patient.

How To File a Petition for Legal Separation in the Philippines
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Getting a legal separation is not easy, but it’s a step closer to “being free.” However, you should note that you can’t marry another person if you are legally separated, only if your marriage is annulled, you can do so. If you have more questions on how to file a petition for legal separation, it’s better to consult a lawyer.

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About the Writer

Lyza Paloma

Hey, I’m Lyza! I once was a person who just imagined going to places “one day” but decided to pursue my dreams. My first travel abroad was in Japan, solo, last 2018, and fell in love with the journey since. I’m aiming to visit 10 countries before turning 30 and 2 new places in the Philippines every year. Besides traveling, I love organizing trips, photography, reading, and making new friends. Follow my adventures through my Instagram.​​

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21 thoughts on “How To File a Petition for Legal Separation in the Philippines

  1. Hi! My husband is currently working abroad. How can I file the legal separation if he is not here. I really want to end the marriage. He is abusive physically and emotionally. Syempre ngayon the physical abuse won’t happen but the words coming from him..those are so heartbreaking..nakakadurog ng pagkatao. Any advice?

  2. Pwde ba mag file ng legal separation pero wla ako evidence na pwde pang laban sakanya…nakaka pagud na kc at di na kmi nag kakaintindihan …ung reason ko lng nmn kya ko gusto mag file ay dhil iresponsible xai ..sarili lng ung iniisip nya… hopefully may mag responce ..thank u..

  3. Sino pwedi macontack na lawyer po at Ilan Kaya ang magagastos po at Ilan moths po matatapos po

  4. Hi magandang hapon po gusto Lang po malegal separation namin NG ex husband ko 6 years wla na po Kami dahil po sa lagi nya po ako sinasaktan at may appear din sya sa ibang babae at ako Lang PA nagtataguyod sa 4 nmin anak. Para sa akin gusto kopoa legal sepation na po Para kahet paano wla na ako comment met PA sa kanya Para hinde na gulohin PA buhay ko. Pls help Lang po ano po dapat gawen ko PA. Nasa ibang bansa po ako now.

  5. Hi, 11 years na kami na hindi nagsasama ng husband ko. I need legal separation for that due to his abandonment of responsibilities.

  6. Hi, we are separated with my husband for 8 yrs, may I can file a legal separation since my ex husband living with his mistress to our own house while I’m working abroad? And what I’m I gonna do … How to step by step to process? Thanks…

  7. Hello po….
    Gusto ko po kumuha Ng legal separeted almost 18 years na po kame na separeted walang suporta sa 3 kong mga anak…nakatapos na po ng college Yung isa kung anak. at Ang dalawa naman sa ngayun second year colleges na…ni kahit isang piso hnd po mag suporta Ang Ang tatay Nila at wala din kaming Alam Kung na saan na cya ngayun 18 na din po hand Alam ng mga anak ko at walang contact…Sana po matulungan niyu po ako.

  8. I am 3yrs separated we have 3 children my oldest daughter is in with my ex husband And my 2 boys is in with me .he did not give a support since we’re separated even where together he is no job to support our family ..can I file legal separation??
    Thank u for the answer.

  9. My husband and I is separated for two years and he did not support our kids,can i file a legal separation?

    1. It’s better to consult a lawyer with regards to that po. If you want him to push for child support, contact VAWC (Violence against Women and Children)

  10. Hi my husband and I are separated for more than a year already. He is currently in UAE and having an affair with another woman and did not sending financial support to our daughter, Can I still file Legal separation even if he’s out of the country? and can PAO be able to process my petition as I’m not financially capable?

    1. Hi ma’am relate here. Paano nyo po nahuli mister nyo na may ibang babae sa dubai. E ang galing nila magtago. Lahat ng babae at lalaki sa dubai may mga kinakasama.. if meron man na hindi nagloko, mabilang sa daliri.. so sad po..

  11. May husband and I were separated for about 4 years now. Am i qualified to file a legal separation. Also, Can PAO handle my case since i am not financially able?

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Written by Lyza Paloma

Lyza is a native of Leyte who spent 10 years studying and working in Cebu before working for Two Monkeys Travel. She decided to stop daydreaming and started to pursue her dreams of traveling to the Philippines and the world. She has already been to 4 countries in Asia and 18 provinces in the Philippines. She’s flexible and can travel solo, with friends, or family. Besides traveling, she loves organizing trips, taking pictures, reading, and making new friends.

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