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John Arnel H. Amata (Respondent) and Haydee N. Amata (Haydee) met at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, eventually became sweethearts, and got married. They are blessed with three children. Respondent’s and Haydee’s marriage was blissful at the incipient but eventually turned sour. After an alleged affair was discovered by Haydee, she became suspicious of respondent and started to secretly check his cellular phone. Respondent, feeling betrayed and angry about his spouse’s action, packed his things, left their abode, and stayed in a hotel. Respondent eventually returned home. However, their relationship continued to deteriorate, forcing respondent to leave the house again to spare their children from witnessing their fights.

Respondent instituted the instant petition for declaration of nullity of marriage on October 13, 2008 on the ground of psychological incapacity. The psychological and marital evaluation conducted on respondent shows that he is suffering from a passive-aggressive personality disorder.

The RTC declared the marriage of respondent and Haydee void ab initio. On appeal, the Court of Appeals sustained the findings of the RTC.


Whether there is sufficient basis to nullify respondent’s marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.


Yes. Psychological incapacity, as a ground to nullify a marriage, must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. Expounding on these characteristics means: that the incapacity should be grave or serious in a way that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party predating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may only emerge after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

To support a petition for the severance of marital tie, it is not enough to show that a party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated had difficulty in complying with his marital obligations or was unwilling to perform these obligations. It is indispensable for the party moving for the dissolution of marriage to present proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor that effectively incapacitated him or her from complying with his or her essential marital obligations.

In this case, the couple had a normal relationship during the period of their courtship, when they were boyfriend-girlfriend, and even during the first 7 years of their 13-year marriage before the instant petition was filed. They had the occasional misunderstandings which they quickly resolved at the instance of the respondent. Respondent even testified that he is capable of taking good care of his wife and children. There was a momentary falling out during the marriage when respondent allegedly engaged in an affair but the couple eventually reconciled and Haydee even conceived their third child.

Evidently, the totality of these evidence negates any manifestation that respondent was indeed afflicted with psychological disorder that is so grave, permanent, incurable, and existed at the inception of the marriage which incapacitated him to perform his matrimonial duties and obligations. At most, the evidence presented reveals that respondent’s refusal to cohabit with Haydee was because the marriage has become unsatisfactory. The frequent quarrels caused by suspicion of marital infidelity and the consequent sexual dissatisfaction of the respondent were some of the reasons he is now unwilling to assume the essential obligations of marriage. However, an unsatisfactory marriage is not a null and void marriage. And a person’s refusal to assume essential marital duties and obligations does not constitute psychological incapacity.

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