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According to the Law: Difference Between Adultery and Concubinage
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  • Dear SmartParenting.com.ph,

    My husband and I have been married for several years, and we have two kids together. I used to think that we were happy, but I recently confirmed that my husband has been having an affair with a co-worker. Apparently, they are very “out” with their relationship, and everyone at their office knows about them. There has been no attempt to be discreet, and they even stayed in the same room together during their company outing.

    What is adultery and concubinage in Philippine law?

    I confronted my husband, and he admitted to their illicit relationship. He moved out of our home and is now living with the other woman in a house within our village. I have been so humiliated because even our neighbors know about it now. I don’t want to get an annulment, but I do want to file cases against them. What are my rights? What is the difference between adultery and concubinage? Which case can I file against him?

    Mrs. No More

    We are so sorry to hear about what happened. Sometimes life can really catch us unaware. But we are glad to hear you're thinking about legal remedies. The best person to ask is a lawyer so we gave your letter to Atty. Nikki Jimeno. Here is her reply: 

    Because of the stress and humiliation that you suffered after discovering your husband’s affair, you may file a case under the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Law, or Anti-VAWC for short. Abuse under the Anti-VAWC is not limited to physical violence — it also includes sexual violence, economic abuse (when the partner commits acts that make the woman financially dependent on him), and psychological violence.


    Psychological violence is any act or omission that causes mental or emotional suffering to the victim. Thus, your husband is liable for the psychological and emotional suffering that he has caused you.

    Likewise, you may file a complaint for concubinage against your husband and his mistress. Article 334 of the Philippine Revised Penal Code states that concubinage is committed by “Any husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place.” 

    What is the difference between adultery and concubinage?

    Adultery is committed by the wife. It may only be filed by the husband against his wife and the wife’s lover under our laws. A husband only needs to prove that his wife committed an act of sexual infidelity (even if it’s done with the same person every time) to file for adultery. Concubinage is committed by the husband.

    But, in order for a husband to be liable for concubinage, it is not enough to prove that he had a sexual relationship with another woman. Such infidelity must also be coupled with:

    (1) the fact that the mistress is kept in the same home as the wife, or
    (2) that it is committed under scandalous circumstances, or
    (3) that he lives with her in any other place.

    In your case, since your husband is already living with his mistress, and they are blatantly flaunting their relationship in front of their co-workers and neighbors, then their acts clearly fall under the crime of concubinage. Take note that you have to file the complaint against both your husband and his mistress since the crime is considered to have been committed by the both of them. Good luck!

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    This article was updated on March 19, 2019 at 7:32 p.m.

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