G.R. No. 162368 – 495 SCRA 396 – Civil Code – Family Code- Annulment of Marriage – Article 36: Psychological Incapacity
Armida and Brix are a showbiz couple. The couple’s relationship before the marriage and even during their brief union (for well about a year or so) was not all bad. During that relatively short period of time, Armida was happy and contented with her life in the company of Brix. Armida even admits that Brix was a responsible and loving husband. Their problems began when Armida started doubting Brix’ fidelity. It was only when they started fighting about the calls from women that Brix began to withdraw into his shell and corner, and failed to perform his so-called marital obligations. Brix could not understand Armida’s lack of trust in him and her constant naggings. He thought her suspicions were irrational. Brix could not relate to her anger, temper and jealousy. Armida presented a psychological expert (Dr. Dayan) who finds Brix to be a schizoid and a dependent and avoidant type. This is evidenced by Brix’s “leaving-the-house” attitude whenever they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family.
ISSUE: Whether or not PI is attendant in the case at bar.
HELD: No. The SC upheld the decision of the lower courts. The alleged mixed personality disorder, the “leaving-the-house” attitude whenever they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family, are not rooted on some debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage and these do not constitute PI. Further, the expert was not able to prove her findings. Notably, when asked as to the root cause of respondent’s alleged psychological incapacity, Dr. Dayan’s answer was vague, evasive and inconclusive. She replied that such disorder “can be part of his family upbringing” She stated that there was a history of Brix’s parents having difficulties in their relationship- this is of course inconclusive for such has no direct bearing to the case at bar.
What is psychological incapacity?
The term “psychological incapacity” to be a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. As all people may have certain quirks and idiosyncrasies, or isolated characteristics associated with certain personality disorders, there is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of “psychological incapacity” to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. It is for this reason that the Courts rely heavily on psychological experts for its understanding of the human personality. However, the root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature must be fully explained in court.