“The Court pronounced that psychological incapacity is not a medical but a legal concept,” said a press release issued after the En Banc session on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Psychological incapacity is now seen as “a personal condition that prevents a spouse” from complying with marital obligations but this incapacity may have manifested only after the wedding ceremony.
“It need not be a mental or personality disorder. It need not be a permanent or incurable condition,” the statement further said.
Under the new Supreme Court interpretation, “the testimony of psychologist or psychiatrist is not mandatory in all cases.”
“The totality of the evidence must show clear and convincing evidence to cause the declaration of nullity of marriage,” the statement further said.
Prior to this landmark decision, erstwhile couples petitioning to have their marriage dissolved would need to contract the expertise of a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Family lawyer Atty. Marjorie de Castro said the testimony and recommendation of a psychologist had been crucial in specific types of cases.
De Castro and her law firm have been handling annulment cases for several years now. The testimony of an expert was indispensable for cases of declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity.
Depending on the complexity of the case, an expert could set the petitioner around Php25,000 to Php50,000 for the services of an expert.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
These services include the conduct of tests and interviews of the involved parties and witnesses, preparation of a psychological evaluation and conclusion, and testimonies in open court.
The full text of the decision penned by Justice Marvic Leonen, in the case of Tan-Andal v. Andal (G.R. No. 196359, May 11, 2021) has yet to be released to the public.
Click here for everything you need to know on the annulment process in the Philippines.