Sunday, October 23, 2011

Arroyo v Vasquez (1921)


Plaintiff Mariano and defendant Dolores were married in 1910, and lived in Iloilo City. They lived together with a few short intervals of separation. On July 4, 1920, defendant Dolores went away from their common home and decided to live separately from plaintiff.  She claimed that she was compelled to leave on the basis of cruel treatment on the part of her husband. She in turn prayed for a decree of separation, a liquidation of their conjugal partnership, and an allowance for counsel fees and permanent separate maintenance.
CFI ruled in favor of the defendant and she was granted alimony amounting to P400, also other fees
Plaintiff then asked for a restitution of conjugal rights, and a permanent mandatory injunction requiring the defendant to return to the conjugal home and live with him as his wife.

1. WON defendant had sufficient cause for leaving the conjugal home
2. WON plaintiff may be granted the restitution of conjugal rights or absolute order or permanent mandatory injunction

1. The wife had sufficient cause for leaving the conjugal home. Cruelty done by plaintiff to defendant was greatly exaggerated. The wife was inflicted with a disposition of jealousy towards her husband in an aggravated degree. No sufficient cause was present.
Courts should move with caution in enforcing the duty to provide for the separate maintenance of the wife since this recognizes the de facto separation of the two parties. Continued cohabitation of the pair must be seen as impossible, and separation must be necessary, stemming from the fault of the husband. She is under obligation to return to the domicile.
“When people understand that they must live together…they learn to soften by mutual accommodation that yoke which they know they cannot shake off;  they become good husbands and wives…necessity is a powerful master in teaching the duties which it imposes…” (Evans v. Evans)

2. On granting the restitution of conjugal rights. It is not within the province of the courts to compel one of the spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other.  In the case of property rights, such an action may be maintained. Said order, at best, would have no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live together.  Other countries, such as England and Scotland have done this with much criticism.
Plaintiff is entitled to a judicial declaration that the defendant absented herself without sufficient cause and it is her duty to return. She is also not entitled to support.

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