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42 Phil 54 (1921)
Street , J. / alo

SUBJECT MATTER: Obligation to live with the other spouse > General rule and exceptions


This is case is about a wife who left the conjugal home due to the alleged cruel treatment of her
husband. She filed a petition for legal separation, dissolution of conjugal partnership, and
alimony, which was granted by the CFI. The husband appealed, asking for a restitution of
conjugal rights. The SC held that there is no sufficient evidence to support the claims of the wife
so she is not entitled to legal separation and alimony. However, the SC refrained from issuing an
absolute order requiring the wife to return to the conjugal home.


Provision should not be made for separate maintenance in favor of the wife unless it
appears that the continued cohabitation of the pair has become impossible and
separation necessary from the fault of the husband.
In an action by the husband against a wife to obtain a restitution of conjugal rights, the
court entered a judicial declaration to the effect that the wife had absented herself from
the marital home without sufficient cause, and she was admonished that it was her duty
to return. The court, however, refrained from making an order absolute requiring her to


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 left 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 Php400,
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

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. NO. The evidence shows that the wife is afflicted with a disposition of jealousy towards
her husband in an aggravated degree; and to his cause are chiefly traceable without a
doubt the many miseries that have attended their married life. The record shows neither
of the spouses has at any time been guilty of conjugal infidelity, or has given just cause to
the other to suspect illicit relations with any person. The tales of cruelty on the part of the
husband towards the wife, which are the basis of the cross-action were considered by
the SC as colored versions of personal wrangles in which the spouses have allowed
themselves from time to time to become involved and would have little significance
apart from the morbid condition exhibited by the wife. The judgment must therefore be
recorded that the abandonment by her of the marital home was without sufficient
justification in fact.

The obligation which the law imposes on the husband to maintain the wife is a duty
universally recognized in civil society and is clearly expressed in articles 142 and 143 of
the Civil code. The enforcement of this obligation by the wife against the husband is not
conditioned upon the procurance of a divorce by her, nor even upon the existence of a
cause for divorce.

The interests of both parties as well as of society at large require that the courts should
move with caution in enforcing the duty to provide for the separate maintenance of the
wife, for this step involves a recognition of the de facto separation of the spouses a
state which is abnormal and fraught with grave danger to all concerned. From this
consideration it follows that provision should not be made for separate maintenance in
favor of the wife unless it appears that the continued cohabitation of the pair has
become impossible and separation necessary from the fault of the husband.

2. NO. It is not within the province of the courts of this country to attempt to compel one of
the spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. Where the property
rights of one of the pair are invaled, an action for restitution of such rights can be
maintained. But the court is disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an order, enforcible
by process of contempt, may be entered to compel the restitution of the purely personal
rights of consortium. 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.

DISPOSITIVE: Therefore, reversing the judgment appealed from, in respect both to the original
complaint and the cross-bill, it is declared that Dolores Vasquez de Arroyo has absented herself
from the marital home without sufficient cause; and she is admonished that it is her duty to return.
The plaintiff is absolved from the cross-complaint, without special pronouncement as to costs of
either instance.