Lack Of Personal Examination or Assessment By A Psychologist Is Not Fatal In Declaration Of Nullity Of Marriage

This is an instant petition assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals upholding the validity of the marriage between petitioner Glen...

This is an instant petition assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals upholding the validity of the marriage between petitioner Glenn Vinas and respondent Mary Grace Vinas.
Glenn and Mary Grace, then 25 and 23 years old, respectively, got married in civil rites held in Lipa City, Batangas. Mary Grace was already pregnant then. The infant, however, died at birth due to weakness and malnourishment. Glenn alleged that the infant’s death was caused by Mary Grace’s heavy drinking and smoking during her pregnancy.
The couple lived together under one roof. Glenn worked as a bartender, while Mary Grace was a production engineer.
Mary Grace left the home which she shared with Glenn. Glenn subsequently found out that Mary Grace went to work in Dubai. At the time the instant petition was filed, Mary Grace had not returned yet.
Glenn filed a Petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage with Mary Grace. He alleged that Mary Grace was insecure, extremely jealous, outgoing and prone to regularly resorting to any pretext to be able to leave the house. She thoroughly enjoyed the night life, and drank and smoked heavily even when she was pregnant. Further, Mary Grace refused to perform even the most essential household chores of cleaning and cooking. According to Glenn, Mary Grace had not exhibited the foregoing traits and behavior during their whirlwind courtship.
Glenn likewise alleged that Mary Grace was not remorseful about the death of the infant whom she delivered. She lived as if she were single and was unmindful of her husband’s needs. She was self-centered, selfish and immature. When Glenn confronted her about her behavior, she showed indifference.
Glenn sought professional guidance and submitted himself to a psychological evaluation by Clinical Psychologist Nedy Tayag (Dr. Tayag). Dr. Tayag found him as "amply aware of his marital roles" and "capable of maintaining a mature and healthy heterosexual relationship."
On the other hand, Dr. Tayag assessed Mary Grace’s personality through the data she had gathered from Glenn and his cousin, Rodelito Mayo (Rodelito), who knew Mary Graceway back in college. Dr. Tayag diagnosed Mary Grace to be suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder with anti-social traits. Dr. Tayag concluded that Mary Grace and Glenn’s relationship is not founded on mutual love, trust, respect, commitment and fidelity to each other. Hence, Dr. Tayag recommended the propriety of declaring the nullity of the couple’s marriage. Respondent, however, was not physically examined by Dr. Tayag.

Is lack of personal examination by psychologist on one spouse fatal to the declaration of nullity of marriage ?

The lack of personal examination or assessment of the respondent by a psychologist or psychiatrist is NOT necessarily fatal in a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage. "If the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to."
In the instant petition, however, the cumulative testimonies of Glenn, Dr. Tayag and Rodelito, and the documentary evidence offered do not sufficiently prove the root cause, gravity and incurability of Mary Grace’s condition that would warrant the nullity of their marriage.
Further, considering that Mary Grace was not personally examined by Dr. Tayag, there arose a greater burden to present more convincing evidence to prove the gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability of the former’s condition. Glenn, however, failed in this respect. Glenn’s testimony is wanting in material details. Rodelito, on the other hand, is a blood relative of Glenn. Glenn’s statements are hardly objective. Moreover, Glenn and Rodelito both referred to Mary Grace’s traits and acts, which she exhibited during the marriage. Hence, there is nary a proof on the antecedence of Mary Grace’s alleged incapacity. 
Dr. Tayag, in her report, merely summarized the petitioner’s narrations, and on this basis characterized the respondent to be a self-centered, egocentric, and unremorseful person who "believes that the world revolves around him"; and who "used love as a…deceptive tactic for exploiting the confidence [petitioner] extended towards him."
These observations and conclusions insufficiently in-depth and comprehensive to warrant the conclusion that a psychological incapacity existed that prevented the respondent from complying with the essential obligations of marriage. It failed to identify the root cause of the respondent’s narcissistic personality disorder and to prove that it existed at the inception of the marriage. Neither did it explain the incapacitating nature of the alleged disorder, nor show that the respondent was really incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological, not physical, nature.

GR. No. 208790, January 21, 2015
GLENN VIÑAS, Petitioner, v. MARY GRACE PAREL-VIÑAS, Respondent.

The author takes no responsibility for the validity, correctness and result of this work. The information provided is not a legal advice and it should not be used  as a substitute for a competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer. See the disclaimer

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