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VERY COMPLICATED -- Bigamy, Annulment, Conjugal Property

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Arresto Menor
I would like to seek advise in behalf of my mother; wanting to know if I can file a "bigamy" case against my father. This will be the 1st time I will do this. I'm now 28 years old. He and my mother are separated for 15 years now (1997); my father abandoned us when I was still 13 and we didn't get any financial support (all 4 of his children). I've tried ways to make him support us but to no avail he just ignored his responsibility.

I just recently discovered that my father committed a second marriage upon checking for his records at NSO. The reason why I checked for his records is for me and my 3 siblings to know if he's still alive (still hoping that we can be a family). I was at rage upon learning of the second marriage and that he even dared made a name change. I got the chance to speak with NSO Director (I won't mention where) and she confirmed some details that my father got married 2006 in the Phils. I got the name of the lady and alas found out that she's currently working as a professor in one of the known universities in Manila. I know that by filing a "bigamy case", it's a public offense and that anybody who has knowledge of the facts can file a complaint. Three things I consider true and factual: 1) there was no legal document which will state that my father's 1st marriage is dissolved 2) marriage took place in the Phils, with both my father and her 2nd wife also are residents. I would like to take action on this given that my father abandoned us for so long, with my youngest sibling who was then 3 years old and now 18. I was just thankful that my mother took care of us and we're in a good living condition now.

QUESTIONS: Are my reasons valid to file a case against my father, without my mother's permission?
Can I make a request to NSO to grant me a legal marriage document of my father's 2nd marriage (w/o permission from the court)?
Can the 2nd wife's professional license be revoked for committing this crime which is against Magna Carta for Teachers?
How long will the imprisonment last? Is the imprisonment granted only to my father? His 2nd wife, will she also experience the same fate?
My father's original name consists only of a first name (ex: Ted) ? Upon checking with NSO, he now has 2 first names (ex: Teddy Dan) registered? How can I know if this is a valid name change or another case of "falsification of legal documents?"
Regarding annulment, can my mother be granted the status of being legally separated from my father? Or is it another case to be filed at court? If so, will the bigamy case be one of the grounds for my mother to process her annullment in a short timeframe?

To add to my story, I've also discovered that my father and 2nd wife adopted a son. That boy (on his toddler years) has the same surname as I have. I'm okay to that but what I'm concern of is that since my father and mother are not legally separated, they have our main house & lot as conjugal. That property (accdg to my mother) is named after my father although she fully paid the mortgage with PAG-IBIG a few years back. This makes me sick thinking that that boy might have his share on this property. Selfish I maybe, but he's not still a family.

QUESTIONS: Does the child gets a share in that main house & lot? How about for the properties that my mother acquired after 1997 when she and my father are no longer together, are those properties conjugal? (E.g. a lot named between me and my mother in the Deed of Absolute Sale, is this a conjugal property?)

I tried seeking help from lawyers, but most of them just wanted to focus on my mother's annulment first since it's easy money for them to get. Most even say that discovery of my father committing a second marriage and the history of his abandonement can be grounds for easy processing of annulment.

My mother has other plans on her own to fix this after 15 years... like having a story published in a newspaper/ tabloid stating our father's abandonement so that annulment will be processed quicker. But in my opinion, since she hasn't taken action for the past 15 years, I do have the right to help her also in the legal means to make her status single and also to make those bad/ irresponsible people suffer. I'm particularly concern on the notion that the adopted son can have a share of all of the hardships of my mother as an OFW.

Very complicated case... please send me a reply also to this email address:
If you can also suggest to me a good and committed lawyer that will represent me for this.

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Reclusion Perpetua
Hi anitsirk.

1. Yes, you may get your father's marriage documents from the NSO without court order. However, NSO may ask a few details from you when you request for a copy so it would be best if you know the answers to these questions for faster processing of request.

2. In my opinion, teachers follow a code of ethics, and violation thereof may be a ground for the revocation of their license. However, just like any other proceedings, due process should be given to the teacher so this means that the sanction will depend on the evidence presented for and against the teacher.

3. The penalty for bigamy is prision mayor, or 6 years and 1 day to 12 years. This penalty is applicable to both parties (your father and the 2nd wife) who contracted marriage before a former marriage has been legally dissolved.

4. As regards the 2 names of your father, try to check with NSO if your father has 2 birth certificates (bearing different names). If he has undergone a change of name, only one birth certificate should be existent (with an annotation that a change of name occured).

5. In my opinion, bigamy and annulment are 2 distinct proceedings, bigamy is a crime against the state while annulment is a civil case, which is against a private person. Moreover, bigamy is not one of the grounds for filing an annulment case, at the most it is a ground for legal separation.

6. As regards the properties of your parents, I think the child can only have a share from your father's properties once the marriage between your father and your mother has been dissolved, or upon death of your father.

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