Jordan Paz vs Jeanice Paz

June 13, 2015
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613 SCRA 195 – Civil Code – Persons and Family Relations – Family Code – Article 36; Psychological Incapacity – Proof of Psychological Incapacity

When personal examination by psychologist is necessary

In 1996, Jordan Paz and Jeanice Pavon met. Jordan was then 27 years old while Jeanice was 19. In 1997, they got married. In 1998, they had a child.

In 1999, after a big fight, Jeanice filed a petition to have their marriage be declared void on the ground of psychological incapacity. In court, Jeanice presented as expert witness Dr. Cristina Gates. Gates testified that based on her interview with Jeanice, she concluded that Jordan is psychologically incapacitated and that his mental status can be designated as “Borderline Personality Disorder as manifested in his impulsive behavior, delinquency and instability.” Gates concluded that Jordan’s psychological maladies antedate their marriage and are rooted in his family background. Gates added that with no indication of reformation, Jordan’s personality disorder appears to be grave and incorrigible. This was based on Jeanice’s description of Jordan as being a mama’s boy who depended on his mom for support; by his uncontrollable tendency to be self-preoccupied and self-indulgent, as well as his predisposition to become violent and abusive whenever his whims and caprices were not satisfied; by his resentment of his own child; by his failure to provide any financial support.

ISSUE: Whether or not Jordan Paz is psychologically incapacitated.

HELD: No. It is true that there is no requirement that a party to be declared psychologically incapacitated should be personally examined by a physician or a psychologist, there is nevertheless a need to prove the psychological incapacity through independent evidence adduced by the person alleging said disorder. In this case, the only basis upon which Dr. Gates made her conclusion were the information fed to her by Jeanice. Consequently, Gates’ report and testimony were hearsay evidence since she had no personal knowledge of the alleged facts she was testifying on. Gates’ testimony should have thus been dismissed for being unscientific and unreliable.

 

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