Concubinage

LAW EACH WEEK

What is Concubinage?

The act of the husband in keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, has sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not the wife, or cohabits with her in any other place, constitutes the crime of Concubinage.

To be charged with Concubinage, what are the elements that must concur?

1) He must be married;

2) He committed any of the following acts:

a) Keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling; or

b) Having sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife; or

c) Cohabiting with her in any other place,

3) That as regards the woman, she must know him to be married.

How is it prosecuted?

The crime of Concubinage is considered a private crime which may only be prosecuted by the offended wife. The offended wife upon filing of a complaint for concubinage should include both the guilty parties, if they are both alive – the offending husband and the woman with whom he cohabits or with whom he has sexual intercourse. The complaint cannot be filed against only one of them.

If a criminal complaint was filed without including one of the guilty parties, the case shall be dismissed for lack of conformity with the provisions of the law.

In case the wife changes her mind and forgive him, will it stop the case?

Yes. Pardon for adultery is allowed which must come before the institution of the criminal action. Both offenders must be pardoned by the offended wife to be effective. The pardon can be express or implied. Thus, when the offended wife in writing or in an affidavit asserts that she is pardoning his erring spouse and paramour for their adulterous act this is a case of express pardon. There is implied pardon when the offended party continued to live with his spouse even after the commission of the offense.

In case the mistress did not know that he is married, is she liable?

No. It is necessary that the mistress knows that the man is married to make her liable for Concubinage. If such knowledge cannot be proven, she may be absolved while the guilty husband shall be held liable alone.

Should there be a need for proof that the husband has sexual intercourse to be liable?

No. If the charges consist in keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling or cohabiting with her in any other place, there is no need for proof of sexual intercourse. As to keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, the woman brought to the conjugal home must be brought as a concubine. As to cohabitation, they must be living together as husband and wife and that it must be for some period.