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2009 BAR

FAMILY CODE:
MARRIAGE AND FILIATION
1. Marriage; Annulment; Grounds (2009)
Emmanuel and Margarita, American citizens and employees
of the U.S. State Department, got married in the African state
of Kenya where sterility is a ground for annulment of
marriage. Thereafter, the spouses were assigned to the U.S.
Embassy in Manila. On the first year of the spouses’ tour of
duty in the Philippines, Margarita filed an annulment case
against Emmanuel before a Philippine court on the ground of
her husband’s sterility at the time of the celebration of the
marriage. (B). Assume Emmanuel and Margarita are both
Filipinos. After their wedding in Kenya, they come back and
take up residence in the Philippines. Can their marriage be
annulled on the ground of Emmanuel’s sterility? Explain.
Suggested Answer
No, the marriage cannot be annulled under the Philippine law.
Sterility is not a ground for annulment of marriage under
Article 45 of the Family Code.
2. Marriage; Divorce Decrees; Filipino Spouse Becoming
Alien (2009)
Harry married Wilma, a very wealthy woman. Barely five (5) years into
the marriage, Wilma fell in love with Joseph. Thus, Wilma went to a
small country in Europe, became a naturalized citizen of that country,
divorced Harry, and married Joseph. A year thereafter, Wilma and
Joseph returned and established permanent residence in the
Philippines. (A). Is the divorce obtained by Wilma from Harry recognized
in the Philippines? Explain your answer.
Suggested Answer
As to Wilma, the divorced obtained by her is recognized as valid in the
Philippines because she is now a foreigner. Philippine personal laws do
not apply to a foreigner. However, recognition of the divorce as regards
Harry will depend on the applicability to his case of the second
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. If it is applicable, divorce is
recognized as to him and, therefore, he can remarry. However, if it is
not applicable, divorce is not recognized as to him and, consequently,
he cannot remarry.
If Harry hires you as his lawyer, what legal recourse
would you advise him to take? Why?
Suggested Answer
I will advice Harry to: (1) Dissolve and liquidate his
property relations with Wilma ; and (2) If he will
remarry, file a petition for the recognition and
enforcement of the foreign judgment of divorced
(Rule 39,Rules of Court ).
Harry tells you that he has fallen in love with another woman, Elizabeth,
and wants to marry her because, after all, Wilma is already married to
Joseph. Can Harry legally marry Elizabeth? Explain.
Suggested Answer
Yes, he can validly marry Elizabeth, applying the doctrine laid down by
the Supreme Court in Republic v. Obrecido (427 SCRA 114 [2005]). Under
the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, for the Filipino
spouse to have capacity to remarry, the law expressly requires the
spouse who obtained the divorce to be a foreigner at the time of the
marriage. Applying this requirement to the case of Harry it would seem
that he is not given the capacity to remarry. This is because Wilma was a
Filipino at the time of her marriage to Harry. In Republic v. Obrecido,
however, the Supreme Court ruled that a Filipino spouse is given the
capacity to remarry even though the spouse who obtained the divorce
was a Filipino at the time of the marriage, if the latter was already a
foreigner when the divorce was already obtained abroad. According to
the court, to rule otherwise will violate the equal protection clause of the
Constitution.
3. Marriage; Void Marriages; Status of Children (2009)
In December 2000, Michael and Anna, after obtaining a valid
marriage license, went to the Office of the Mayor of Urbano,
Bulacan, to get married. The Mayor was not there, but the Mayor’s
secretary asked Michael and Anna and their witnesses to fill up and
sign the required marriage contract forms. The secretary then told
them to wait, and went out to look for the Mayor who was
attending a wedding in a neighboring municipality. When the
secretary caught up with the Mayor at the wedding reception, she
showed him the marriage contract forms and told him that the
couple and their witnesses were waiting in his office. The Mayor
forthwith signed all the copies of the marriage contract, gave them
to the secretary who returned to the Mayor’s office. She then gave
copies of the marriage contract to the parties, and told Michael
and Anna that they were already married. Thereafter, the couple
lived together as husband and wife, and had three sons.
Is the marriage of Michael and Anna valid, voidable, or void?
Suggested Answer
The marriage is void because the formal requisite of
marriage ceremony was absent ( Art.3, F.C. 209,
Family Code).

What property regime governs the properties


acquired by the couple? Explain.
Suggested Answer
The marriage being void, the property relationship
that governed their union is special co-ownership
under Article 147 of the Family Code. This is on the
assumption that there was no impediment for them
to validly marry each other.
What is the status of the three children of Michael
and Anna? Explain your answer.
Suggested Answer
The children are illegitimate, having been born
outside a valid marriage.
4. Paternity & Filiation; Legitimation of a Dead Child (2009)

TRUE or FALSE. Answer TRUE if the statement is true, or


FALSE if the statement is false. Explain your answer in not
more than two (2) sentences.
A dead child can be legitimated.
Suggested Answer
TRUE. To be legitimated, the law does not require a child
to be alive at the same time of the marriage of his / her
parents ( Article 177, FC ). Furthermore, Art. 181 of the
Family Code which states that “[Th]e legitimation of
children who died before the celebration of marriage will
benefit their descendants,” does not preclude instances
where such legitimation will benefit no one but the child's
ascendants ,or other relatives .
5. Paternity & Filiation; Who May Impugn Legitimacy (2009)

Four children, namely: Alberto, Baldomero, Caridad,


and Dioscoro, were born to the spouses Conrado and
Clarita de la Costa. The children’s birth certificates
were duly signed by Conrado, showing them to be
the couple’s legitimate children. Later, one Edilberto
de la Cruz executed a notarial document
acknowledging Alberto and Baldomero as his
illegitimate children with Clarita. Edilberto died
leaving substantial properties. In the settlement of
his estate, Alberto and Baldomero intervened
claiming shares as the deceased’s illegitimate
children. The legitimate family of Edilberto opposed
the claim. Are Alberto and Baldomero entitled to
share in the estate of Edilberto? Explain.
Suggested Answer
No, Alberto and Baldomero are not entitled to share in Edilberto’s
estate. They are not related at all to Edilberto. They were born
during the marriage of Conrado and Clarita, hence, are considered
legitimate children of the said spouses. This status is conferred on
them at birth by law. Under Philippine law, a person cannot have
more than one natural filiation. The legitimate filiation of a person
can be changed only if the legitimate father will successfully impugn
such status. In the problem, therefore, the filiation of Alberto and
Baldomero as legitimate children of Condrado cannot be changed
by their recognition by Edilberto as his illegitimate children. Before
they can be conferred the status of Edilberto’s illegitimate children,
Condrado must first impugn their legitimacy. Since Condrado has
not initiated any action to impugn their legitimacy, they continue to
be the legitimate of Condrado. They cannot be the illegitimate
children of Edilberto at the same time. Not being the illegitimate
children of Edilberto, they have no right to inherit from him.