Have these things been happening in your home lately?
- Husband taking his mobile phone everywhere he goes, even in the shower.
- Credit card charges made at restaurants you know you’ve never visited with your spouse ever.
- Frequent “company trips” to romantic places like Tagaytay, Baguio, and Palawan. And no, wives and kids are not invited.
- A new perfume, watch, or expensive shirt you know your husband won’t buy for himself even if his life depended on it.
Different people may have different means to crack a ‘philandering husband’ or ‘cheating wife’ code, but all would probably have the same agenda: to snatch the unfaithful partner away from the interloper and save the marriage. In extreme cases though, the discovery of a spouse’s unfaithfulness often result to separation. And since the cost of annulment in the Philippines is prohibitive, the ex-couple would resort to living apart while they try to ‘move on’ and make sense of their complicated situation.
Philippine laws do not simply shrug off infidelity. The aggrieved wife may file criminal charges against a philandering husband and his mistress. In the same manner, a husband whose wife has had extramarital affairs with another man can slap her with adultery, also a criminal offense.
To help you understand how grave a transgression it is to cheat on your spouse or be the ‘third party’ in an otherwise blissful marriage, read the following:
- A man and his mistress can be charged with concubinage under any of the following circumstances:
- The husband allows the mistress to live in the house he shares with his legal wife;
- The husband buys or rents a house for him and his mistress;
- Practices scandalous intimate acts with the mistress.
- A wife and her lover may be charged with adultery.
- Any person proven to have committed concubinage or adultery is criminally liable and may be imprisoned. If the cheating spouse and his/her lover get married while one or both of them are still legally married to their rightful partners, they can be charged with bigamy, also a criminal offense.
- The charges shall be applied to both the cheating spouse and the mistress or lover; the law does not select only one of the two (as you cannot be adulterous all on your own and a woman becomes a concubine only when a married man woos her to be one).
- In the legal proceedings, the aggrieved party must not be proven to have consented the ‘affair’ or have forgiven or condoned the cheating spouse and the ‘third party’. An example of ‘consent’ is if the legal (aggrieved) spouse agrees to share the marital bed with the cheating spouse even after he/she has proven that the other is already having extramarital affairs.
The Philippines, being a predominantly Christian nation, does not support divorce. The society frowns upon infidelity and illicit relationships especially when children get dragged into the ugly picture of scandal and separation. The law protects the victims of such scandalous affairs and upholds the rights of the aggrieved parties. If you feel you need to take the high road to secure your family’s rights against the indiscretion of brazen individuals, seek the assistance of a lawyer.