There is no exact definition for psychological incapacity, but it was defined by the Supreme Court as “no less than a mental (not physi...

There is no exact definition for psychological incapacity, but it was defined by the Supreme Court as “no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage.” 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. (Santos v. CA, G.R. No. 112019, Jan. 4, 1995) 

The requisites of psychological incapacity are as follows:
1. Juridical antecedence – must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although overt manifestations may arise only after such marriage. 

2. Gravity – grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essental marital obligations. 

3. Permanence or incurability – must be incurable. If curable, the cure should be beyond the means of the parties involved.

Following are some instances where allegations of psychological incapicity were not sustained:
1. Mere showing of irreconcilable differences and personalities. conflicting (Carating‐Siayngco v. Siayngco, G.R. No. 158896, Oct, 27. 2004)  

2. Mere sexual infidelity or perversion, do not by themselves constitute psychological incapacity, as well as immaturity and irresponsibility.  
Note: It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which would make respondent completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of a marital state, not merely youth, immaturity or sexual promiscuity. (Dedel vs CA, G.R. no. 151867, Jan.29, 2004) 

3. Disagreements regarding money matters. (Tongol v. Tongol, G.R. No. 157610, Oct. 19, 2007)

4. Mere abandonment.  
Note: There must be proof of natal or supervening disabling element in the personality factor that effectively incapacitates a person from accepting and complying with the Essential Marital obligations of Marriage. (Republic v. Quintero‐Hamano, G.R. No. 149498, May 20, 2004) 

5. Sexual infidelity (Republic v. Dagdag, GR No. 109975, February 9, 2001).  

In the case of Santos v. CA (240 SCRA 20, 1995), the Supreme Court held that being of unsound mind, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality may be indicia of psychological incapacity, depending on the degree of severity of the disorder. However, the concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality is a ground of annulment of marriage.

DISCLAIMER: The author is not lawyer nor an authority on this topic. It is a product of humble research and study of law. It should not be used as sole basis in filing a case, instead, consult your lawyer for proper legal advice.

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  1. In the case of CHI MING TSOI vs. CA (G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997),

    The Supreme Court held that one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage." Constant non- fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity.


    While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order" (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say "I could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations.

    It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent. That is — a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution.

  2. Below is the opinion of Atty. Theodore Te on the allege report that SC RELAX its guidelines on Psychology Incapacity:

    "With due respect to the headline writers of the various iterations of the story on "psychological incapacity" as a ground to annul marriages, the SC DID NOT "RELAX" IN ALL CASES the guidelines set forth in its precedents--all of which remain and have not been overturned.

    In this one specific case, Kalaw v. Fernandez, G.R. No. 166357 (January 14, 2015), the SC, through its Special First Division, granted a motion for reconsideration and reinstated the RTC ruling declaring the particular marriage null and void. The headline writers perhaps could have included the phrase "in this case" otherwise it would be misleading--as it currently is because it gives the impression that the Court has abandoned the guidelines it had previously set. The dispositive portion of the Resolution did not state that the SC was abandoning its precedents on psychological incapacity as a ground for declaring marriages null and void under the Family Code, only that the Motion for Reconsideration was granted and the particular marriage, based on the evidence presented and appreciated, is declared null and void. The decisions in Molina, Santos, and Ngo Te that set and interpreted the guidelines are en banc decisions which can only be overturned by the Court en banc, not in division; absent an express declaration from the SC that it is abandoning Molina et al., the guidelines remain.

    As a purely academic matter, the value of the Kalaw Resolution is that it may provide basis for argument in future cases similarly situated and may perhaps, given confluence of similar facts and evidence, lead to a reconsideration of the Molina Guidelines in an appropriate case.

    The link to the Kalaw Resolution is found at; the link to the dissenting opinion is found at"