Cooling Off Period in Legal Separation

There are a number of differences between legal separation and annulment/declaration of nullity. One of the differences, in terms of procedure, is the requirement of a “cooling off” period

A “cooling off” period is not required in proceedings for annulment/declaration of nullity. On the other hand, a “cooling off” period his is required in cases for legal separation. The Family Code explicitly provides that the case cannot be tried before six (6) months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition for legal separation. This 6-month “cooling off” period is provided in Article 58 of the Family Code, which reads:

Art. 58. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition.

[See: Steps / Procedure in Legal Separation Cases]

The 6-month “cooling off” period is intended to give the parties time to “cool off” and possibly come up with a reconciliation. This is separate from the legal requirement that “[n]o legal separation may be decreed unless the Court has taken steps toward the reconciliation of the spouses and is fully satisfied, despite such efforts, that reconciliation is highly improbable” (Article 59, Family Code).┬áThe court cannot schedule the pre-trial conference within six (6) months from the date of filing of the petition.

[Refer to the related discussions on legal separation, annulment, and declaration of nullity.]


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