Would you agree to legalize divorce in the Philippines? Why or why not?
The Philippines and the Vatican City remain to be the only two nations in the world that do not allow divorce. In our country, a couple may only file for an annulment of their marriage if they wish to dissolve their union. An annulment case is heard on the basis of fraud, impotence, mistaken identity, or failing to meet the legal age to marry. Believe it or not, infidelity and adultery are not accepted as grounds for annulment in the Philippines. This means that even after you have proven that your spouse is being unfaithful to you and your children, you cannot legally separate from him or her. You are tied to your marriage vows, until death frees you from it.
Now that the bill to legalize absolute divorce has been approved by the House Committee on Population and Family Relations, we realize that divorce might just be allowed in our country. And all those seeking to be freed from their marriages can, one way or the other, hope that they would not have to wait until they die before they are able to cut ties with their “maling akala” of a husband or wife.
What is the difference between a divorce and an absolute divorce?
According to http://www.peoples-law.org, an absolute divorce is the final ending of a marriage, while a limited divorce only establishes certain legal responsibilities while the husband and wife are separated. An absolute divorce permanently ends the marriage and any rights and privileges that came with it.
What is the difference between a divorce and annulment of marriage?
According to Justia, an annulment of marriage is a legal decree that a marriage is null and void. Annulments are granted when a court makes a finding that a marriage is invalid. While a divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.
The end result of an annulment is the same as a divorce — the parties are single and may remarry or enter into a domestic partnership with another person.
What are the grounds for absolute divorce?
According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage are still included as grounds for absolute divorce; however, absolute divorce also welcomes the following reasons:
- Separation in fact for at least five years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed;
- when one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another;
- irreconcilable marital differences as defined in the bill;
- domestic or marital abuse;
- valid foreign divorce secured by either the alien or Filipino spouse; and
- a marriage nullified by a recognized religious tribunal.
So, if I understood all these correctly, an absolute divorce will basically allow any married couple to release themselves from their marriage when they feel it is no longer working (irreconcilable marital differences). — even if the marriage is absolutely valid. Unlike with annulment where the acceptable reasons for separation (or nullification of marriage) are limited and requires extensive court proceedings to prove that the marriage was non-existent to begin with, a divorce embraces other more common reasons to get out of a relationship completely and permanently — without having to prove that the union was fake.
Given all these, would you agree to finally legalize absolute divorce in the Philippines? Why or why not?
I would love to read your answers.