7 Tips from a Family Law Expert: Connie Aquino on Legal Separation and Women’s Rights

Atty. Connie Aquino is aware what she provides to the table. An qualified in legal separation, annulment and custody, she guides us by means of women’s rights under the guidelines of Violence Towards Gals and Young children (VAWC), prenuptial agreements, adoption, guardianship and estate scheduling. Because passing the bar in 2005, she has excelled beneath the mentorship of Atty. Howard Calleja. Her early nullity and custody scenarios have been of buddies and kin. These felt personal, and it was only a make a difference of time before she transformed her sympathy into the ambition to give her consumers what they deserved. 

She tells us dealing with these circumstances involves “Not just a doing work knowledge of the regulation, but adeptness at understanding how human relations do the job. There is no templated way of handling these circumstances.”

As she goes through separation proceedings, she encourages women to have a great viewpoint. “Women ought to remind on their own that this method will not past without end. Separation proceedings will usually be really hard and it is not a acquire-or-lose fight.” A veteran expert in family members regulation, Atty. Connie shares with us how women of all ages (and also adult males) can be empowered below the eyes of the regulation, with focus and respect to their humanity.

1. Know your standard legal rights

Atty. Connie encourages ladies not to be scared, “In particular if they are in abusive relationships — they can get out of it and commence more than. Even if they are fiscally dependent on their associates, they can question the courts to oblige their spouses to supply them with the financial assist they need to have. Marital infidelity is also now considered psychological abuse and is punishable beneath RA 9262 or Violence Versus Females and Small children Act. Observe laws below RA 9262 secure ladies even in illicit interactions.

The basic legal rights of ladies in the spouse and children context include the ideal to spousal help, suitable to training parental authority about kids (if any), correct to keep their maiden identify, suitable to exercising their chosen occupation, suitable to own residence, and ideal to participate and be listened to in conversations among spouses involving spouse and children daily life.

Aside from professional guidance from their attorneys, women really should search for assist and emotional assistance from family and good friends. I also refer them to psychiatrists if necessary to assist them cope with this kind of an emotional course of action.”

2. Prepare for legal separation costs and procedures

Whilst Connie herself does pro-bono work as her responsibility to give again, she also accepts payments as a law firm via installments or phrases. In consideration of prices, she states her number a single idea is to, “Get an effective lawyer, since the shorter the case will be, the less costly it will be for you.

Since annulments and authorized separations and instances of this variety are litigious and long-drawn, I would recommend clientele focus on the believed expenditures with their attorneys.

Lawful separation has what they call a “cooling down period” wherein the get-togethers are demanded to wait around for 6 months from the filing of the petition ahead of the circumstance ought to progress.”

3. For women of all ages working with VAWC

“If there are abuses, I generally advise filing a case of VAWC – Violence Against Women and Little ones simply because beneath that legislation is a series of other offenses like sexual abuse, psychological abuse, psychological abuse and actual physical abuse. So we have felony legal guidelines ought to there be any other fee of crimes like rape, discouraged parricide, an try on the women’s daily life.”

For tricky spouses who refuse to honor put up-separation conditions, she claims, “A girl can still file other instances from the partner not constrained to invocation of assistance for their popular youngsters or VAWC instances if there are abuses dedicated.”

For girls who have seasoned bodily violence, drug addiction or something far more grievous this kind of as an try in opposition to the woman’s existence, she endorses viewing psychiatrists and or medical doctors to skillfully assist restoration. 

4. Navigating custody

Custody is perhaps just one of the additional challenging aspects of legal separation. Irrespective of age or family set up, the youngster needs to be listened to in a protected room, from how they want visitation rights of the non-custodial mum or dad to rising higher than this very psychological time. Atty. Connie asserts, “The paramount welfare of the youngsters will have to be regarded. They have to be associated with this,”

She informs us that “Below the age of seven, females are automatically supplied custody. Unless there is a compelling explanation for them to lose custody of the child like actual physical abuse or trafficking. Custody can be threshed out early on, before likely into the nullity good. I would recommend my clients to communicate to their children beforehand so their greatest pursuits are considered. The knowledge that will come out of this would manual the lady in deciding her way ahead —  in a way that is both wholesome for her and her kids.”

5. Split the prenup taboo 

“Before it was really taboo to go over prenups simply because you are discussing funds when you have not gotten married. But now a large amount of young couples are opting to do that because it saves them issues later on on. There’s almost nothing incorrect with it, you are just declaring how your finances are going to go when you’re married.

For example, when they break up up, it’s now set. The property you brought in ahead of the relationship are not touched. I’ve constantly discussed to my customers that prenups do not mean you do not have faith in the man or woman – Of study course not! It’s also to preserve the community home. If your partner commits a criminal offense or is sued, your legal responsibility will not be joint. Below the law, spouses are jointly liable, except in the absence of a prenup. 

At times there are loaded small children offered houses or masses of funds even in advance of they get an inheritance. It also applies to plain Janes. What if your husband or wife accumulates credit card debt? Without the need of a prenup, you’re heading to pay out for all those debts. But with a prenup, you are excused. 

Your prenup will have to be registered. Not just notarized. You provide your prenuptial settlement when you file your relationship license. You really should also have affidavits in all the registers of deeds where by you have qualities.”

6. A number of words and phrases on adoption and estate situations

Besides legal separation and annulment, Atty. Connie has dealt with adoption conditions equally domestically and inter-region. She notes there is special focus supplied to the peculiar instances, and reminds us of the actuality of human emotions—like how some carry hope as a one mom gives an orphan a dwelling, while other individuals are trickier, like adoption as a suggests to clear away a youngster from a neglectful partnership.

For the duration of our dialogue, Atty. Connie reminds us in so a lot of words and phrases that “Nothing is sure except demise and taxes.” She suggests more mature ladies and men get ready disposal of their belongings by planning of past will and testomony, as effectively as transfers of properties–while reducing taxes. 

“When you die you’re routinely taxed for your selected estate. If you do not program it correctly, you can inherit a good deal of properties but if you really don’t have the dollars, the penalties and surcharges will just go up and you will be trapped with all those homes.” She also informs us about other choices this kind of as existence coverage.

When requested about the ripe time to prepare your estate, she states, “We can not inform with dying. I’ve experienced young people asking me to draft wills for them ideal now. Just to assure that almost everything is adequately taken care of should really they pass.”

7. Protecting your independence and the keys to a good relationship

Atty. Connie shares with us how she retains herself brimming with vitality to go after her results in – involving a observe of two times-a-7 days pilates, 3-periods-a-week energy schooling, functioning, boxing, and a long-length bike route from Alabang to Tagaytay and back again each weekend, it is no speculate she maintains her bodily self-treatment (a idea she suggests to all her feminine clientele, as well) holding the blood flowing, brain pumping, so she can get care of herself and empower gals in return.

“I highly advise self-treatment,” she claims, “Because if you get treatment of your physical, psychological and religious elements, you can functionality thoroughly. You can be a improved mom, a better wife. A greater employee. At this age, I do not want to stereotype gals that they are just supposed to be at home. We’re past that. We are in the 2020s now.”

Having witnessed quite a few nullity and legal separation cases and a wife herself, she has a couple solid phrases of guidance on how to nurture a fantastic relationship: “Have your possess individual life. Just simply because you’re married does not signify you have to observe all the things your partner does. You eliminate your individuality and it will become unexciting, a regime. When you have individual life you deliver in anything fresh new. Go on all-girls vacation. Do matters with your pals. Don’t just comply with the shadow of your husband. Or if you are in a profession, really do not give it up. It’s all about stability.

And of system to have a thriving marriage, get married when you’re confident – when you have thoroughly gotten to know your associate, and you see that he’s another person you can reside with as a companion, a good friend, a lover, almost everything! Not just a financier.

During Atty. Connie reminds us that it is not an Us. vs. Them situation, and that whilst most of her customers are ladies, “In our legislation agency, we also have male shoppers, so we really don’t discriminate from the other sex. It just so comes about that there are a ton much more females now who are a lot more knowledgeable of their legal rights. If they are in abusive marriages, they get out,” demonstrating the rise of awareness and action for women’s legal rights.

There are a several far more issues we question Atty. Connie. We replicate on church law, which she reminds us is not dealt with by civil attorneys, but canonical legal professionals, monks who focus in relationship annulment in the Vatican.

On the topic of divorce, she tells us it is about time it must be legalized, but also that she is “Not for it totally. I’m nevertheless for the sanctity of relationship, specified the proper safeguards,” she suggests, “It just should not be applied to conveniently get out of any relationship.” 

Family Lawyer Expert Connie Aquino of Calleja Law specializing in legal separation

Sporting a Dior laser-slice belt, Atty. Connie provides us a person past bonus idea on how a female can clearly show up for herself in proceedings, “I convey to my clients, appear rather! Have a change of hairstyle. Appear healthy, look nice. Never inform me pag iniwan ka, you’re likely to seem sad, bugbog. No, go out! Wanting excellent is a sort of self-empowerment. When you’re fit and you truly feel superior, you search great, you can deal with something. It can be extremely superficial but it will help.”

Just very last yr, Atty. Connie cycled lengthy-length in the Pyrenees mountains from Spain to France. She finished the previous leg of the tour de France, named Col du Tourmalet, 1 of the maximum-paved and most hazardous mountain passes. Following a long time of a job in legislation serving to women claim their energy, Atty. Connie Aquino has shown us how a woman can present up for herself and go outside of society’s expectations–all the though shining boldly and looking superior, as well.

Images by JT Fernandez

Resourceful Route by Sophia Ysabel Concordia 

Created by Angela Manuel Go