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Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

Parrilla, Kristela Ivy Marie A. Tan Pastor, Edmund Joseph D.


Brief Introduction

Like most Filipino culture, the institution of marriage in the Philippines was reformed hundreds of years ago to the then-modern standards of Spanish Catholic Law. In Mark 10:9 Jesus states, Therefore what God has joined together let not man separate. Consider this famous Filipino saying: Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi isang biro. Di tulad ng kanin, iluluwa lang kapag napaso. This means that being in a marriage is never a joke; it is a lifelong commitment. Anyone who enters a marriage should continue believing that their relationship is always worthy of holding on to. No matter what the circumstances and obstacles are, letting go of ones marriage should never be an option. A struggling couple should exhaust all options attempting to maintain and reinvent their bond, because every marriage is worth fighting for.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

Objectives: -To be able to identify the importance of marriage. -To be able to differentiate legal separation from annulment. -To be able to cite the grounds for legal separation and annulment.

Methodology: -video clips


Review of Related Literature

Annulment is a judicial statement that there was never a marriage between the man and the woman. It is the cancellation of marriage as if it never happened.

Legal Separation is a decree that gives the husband and wife the right to live separately from each other. Through this decree, the conjugal partnership of properties or the absolute community of properties is dissolved. However, the man and woman are still considered married. They may not remarry. Divorce is a court order saying that a man and woman is no longer a husband and a wife.

Grounds for Legal Separation

1. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner; 2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation; 3. Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement; 4. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned; 5. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent; 6. Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondents; 7. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad; 8. Sexual infidelity or perversion; 9. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or 10. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

Grounds for Annulment

1. Minority (those contracted by any party below 18 years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians). 2. Lack of authority of solemnizing officer (those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages, unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so). 3. Absence of marriage license (except in certain cases). 4. Bigamous or polygamous marriages (except in cases where the other spouse is declared as presumptively dead). 5. Mistaken identity (those contracted through the mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other). 7. Incestuous marriages (between ascendants and descendants of any degree, between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood). 8. Void by reason of public policy. Marriages between (i) collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree; (ii) step-parents and step-children; (iii) parents-in-law and children-in-law; (iv) adopting parent and the adopted child; (v) surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child; (vi) surviving spouse of the adopted child and
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

the adopter; (vii) an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter; (viii) adopted children of the same adopter; and (ix) parties where one, with the intention to marry the other, killed that other persons spouse, or his o r her own spouse. 9. Psychological Incapacity. Psychological incapacity contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations; not a mere refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. Irreconcilable differences, conflicting personalities, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, physical abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment, by themselves, also do not warrant a finding of psychological incapacity.


Case Study

Legal Separation

A woman named Luicta filed a petition for legal separation.

Lucita claimed that: soon after three years of marriage, she and William quarreled almost every day, with physical violence being inflicted upon her; William would shout invectives at her like putang ina mo, gago, tanga, and he would slap her, kick her, pull her hair, bang her head against concrete wall and throw at her whatever he could reach with his hand; the causes of these fights were petty things regarding their children or their business; William would also scold and beat the children at different parts of their bodies using the buckle of his belt; whenever she tried to stop William from hitting the children, he would turn his ire on her and box her; on December 9, 1995, after she protested with Williams decision to allow their eldest son Kingston to go to Bacolod, William slapped her and said, it is none of your business; on December 14, 1995, she asked William to bring Kingston back from Bacolod; a violent quarrel ensued and William hit her on her head, left cheek, eye, stomach, and arms; when William hit her on the stomach and she bent down leave the house; she then went to her sisters house in Binondo where she was fetched by her other siblings and brought to their parents house in Dagupan; the following day, she went to her parents doctor, Dr. Vicente Elinzano for treatment of her injuries.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

because of the pain, he hit her on the head then pointed a gun at her and asked her to

William for his part denied that he ever inflicted physical harm on his wife, used insulting language against her, or whipped the children with the buckle of his belt. While he admits that he and Lucita quarreled on December 9, 1995, at their house in Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Tondo, Manila, he claimed that he left the same, stayed in their Greenhillscondominium and only went back to their Tondo house to work in their office below. In the afternoon of December 14, 1995, their laundrywoman told him that Lucita left the house.

There was no enough evidence so the petition was denied.


After four years, the Pasig Regional Trial Court affirmed the annulment of controversial couple Rustom Padilla and Carmina Villarroels marriage yesterday. In a 29-page decision issued by Judge Lorifel Lacap-Pahimna of PRTC Branch 69, the said marriage was ordered annulled on the ground of psychological incapacity on Villarroels side. Pahimnas decision disclosed that Villarroel cannot resume the responsibility of a housewife. Both Padilla and Villarroel agreed to the voluntarily dissolution and liquidation of their absolute community property as part of the peaceful annulment of the marriage.

Villarroel filed the petition on 1998, stating that she has been undergoing psychological stress during her marriage to Padilla. In her petition, Villarroel claimed that she suffered during the time she was with Padilla because of his overprotectiveness, jealousy, low-sex drive and insecurity. But Padilla belied Villarroels
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

statement. He insisted that Villarroel failed to have child since they both prioritized their respective movie careers and that she was taking contraceptives. Padilla and Villarroel got married on June 24, 1998 in civil rights at the house of Padillas brother at BF Homes, Paraaque City.


Analysis of Norms and Approaches

Utilitarianism. At this level, it is pretty generally agreed that divorce is a human ill, that it is a problem, a symptom of something wrong, an unfortunate (if some times necessary) way out of problems that arise in marriage. Divorce is viewed pretty much as war is viewed: neither is good in itself, either may become necessary as a last resort. Why does a utilitarian ethic take so dim a view of a practice as widespread as divorce?

Even without considering the consequences of divorce, a utilitarian can observe that for most men stable marriage is an ideal, and the commonness of this judgment can be taken as a distillation of experience. Divorce is a major upheaval in anyone's life. It often causes psychological damage to all concerned, especially to the children. It does not always solve personal problems, and sometimes even increases them. A dancer who stumbles from in eptitude does not become any more skillful by changing partners. A utilitarian also may point out that the very possibility of divorce weakens every marital bond. In the past, a common utilitarian argument was that divorce weak ened the foundations of society. This argument has force, however, only to the extent that society is built on stable familiessomething less true today than it was in former ages.

Deontological Approach Deontology is also known as non-consequentialism. Deontologists argue the rightness or wrongness of an action does not depend on the goodness or badness of its consequences. In contrast, consequentialism holds that the right act or system of rules is the one that maximizes or satisfies good consequences as determined by an impartial determination of good and evils.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

The most famous deontological theory is that of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. In his theory, Kant claimed that various actions are morally wrong if they are inconsistent with the status of a person as a free and rational being, and that, conversely, acts that further the status of people as free and rational beings are morally right. Which would make me assume that legal separation or annulment is not right, as it does not "act to further the status of people as free and rational beings" and it would not "maximize or satisfy good consequences", happiness, equal right and others. The fact that being divorced or annulled creates chaos both within and outside the family leads to the conclusion that legal separation or annulment is a negative thing. It disrupts the happiness of the family, and the children (if there are any) would suffer the consequences of being separated from one of their parents in the guise of upholding equal rights. The principle of deontology states that the morality of an action depends on the intrinsic nature of the action (e.g., harming others is wrong regardless of its consequences).

Theological Approach. A Biblical View of Divorce The traditional attitude toward divorce, especially as it was interpreted in earlier generations by the American religious community in general and by mainline Protestantism in particular, was simple and clear: since marriage is sacred -- even sacramental -- it must be honored and defended. Whatever erodes the sanctity or jeopardizes the stability of marriage and the family must be combated. Prime among these enemies is divorce. Therefore divorce must be inhibited by all means available, including moral teaching, social pressure and legal constraint. This conviction was reinforced for Christians by the clear teaching attributed to Jesus himself: And he said to them, Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery [Mark 10:11-12, RSV]. Matthew quotes Jesus as allowing an exception in the case of unchastity (Matt. 5:32); but the discouragement of divorce as a violation of Gods will is stated in unmistakably emphatic terms. Elsewhere Matthew quotes Jesus further on the topic of divorce: And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, Is it lawful to divorce ones wife for any cause? He answered, Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder. They said to him, Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and put her away? He said to them, For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and -- marries another, commits adultery [Matt. 19:3-9, RSV]. The question of biblical and religious attitudes toward divorce evoked little debate within the church. Divorce must be discouraged in the most forceful terms possible; should it occur, remarriage must be made difficult if not impossible. This position came to be embodied in the churchs teaching -- and, to a remarkable extent, in civil law as well.

Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

In more recent times new questions have been raised on biblical and theological grounds. The key Old Testament teachings take a substantially more open attitude toward the dissolution of marriages than the position attributed to Jesus: When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house [Deut. 24:1,KJV]. Though written from the bias of a patriarchal society, this passage clearly sanctions acts of divorce, leaving the question of grounds to the elusive justification that the wife possesses some uncleanness or that she find no favor in his eyes. The act of divorce itself was relatively simple; it evidently carried no stigma and involved no litigation. With divorces so easily available to men, abuses were bound to occur; a womans position was exceedingly vulnerable. A wife might be summarily stripped of both status and security through an arbitrary decree delivered by her husband. The rigor of Jesus opposition to divorce can be interpreted as arising from his desire to defend women against the ravages of such dehumanizing treatment. His resistance to divorce may have been directed more at its shabby abuse than against the principle itself. The churchs inflexible opposition to divorce is being re-examined with the emergence of a fresh theological perspective. The older ethical position of code morality has been challenged by the values of situation ethics. The situationist approach was developed by Joseph Fletcher in his volume Situation Ethics (Westminster, 1966). Code morality finds its behavioral imperatives in the developed codification of laws and mandates. Christian situation ethics, while accepting such laws and rules as important, refuses to affirm them as absolute and binding for all occasions. The only absolute is the Great Commandment of Jesus (Matt. 22:37-40). Practically speaking, this commandment calls the Christian to strive toward the most loving action possible within the context of any given situation. Usually this approach will entail following the inherited code, but at times it may require acting contrary to the code in order that the commandment to love might be honored.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

A Situationist Approach Situationists contend that a legalistic rendering of ancient laws is not theologically adequate. Rote obedience to law may actually do violence to Gods will in a particular situation. This situationist or contextual approach is based upon an interpretation of Jesus fundamental attitude toward the decisions of life, contending that at heart he was very much a situationist. Jesus voicing of the Great Commandment clearly revealed his theological priority: . . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets [Matt. 22:37-40, RSV]. Partisans of a situationist approach interpret Jesus use of the Great Commandment as meaning that love must always take precedence. If laws, no matter how hallowed by use and tradition, collide with the fulfillment of this love, then such laws must for the moment be set aside. Jesus actions, such as healing (Mark 3:1-6) and gleaning (Mark 2:23-8) on the Sabbath, embody his working out of this conviction. Rather than being legalistically inflexible, Jesus approach was adaptive; he sought always to honor the Great Commandment in the midst of the changing circumstances in which he continually found himself. Thus advocates of situation ethics quote Jesus against himself when it comes to divorce. Jesus own words put him on record as vigorously opposing a termination of the God-intended, lifelong union of husband and wife through the instrumentality of divorce. Since his fundamental ethical approach, however, was that of a situationist, he should be willing to allow for occasions when divorce might be the most loving act possible. In such situations the permission of divorce would be the most responsible way of honoring the Great Commandment. It is therefore possible to draw more than one interpretation from Jesus recorded teachings on the subject of divorce and remarriage. Nelson Manfred Blake offers a veritable cafeteria of options: 1. Christ taught the indissolubility of marriage and forbade all divorce. 2. He allowed divorce, but only to the husband, and only for one cause, adultery. 3. He allowed divorce for adultery to both husband and wife. 4. Neither party to a divorce may
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

marry again while his [or her] former mate is still alive. To do so is adultery. 5. The innocent party may remarry, but not the guilty. 6. Both parties may remarry, after sincere repentance. 7. Adultery means only one thing, the sexual intercourse of a married person with someone other than the husband or wife. 8. Adultery is a symbolic word, standing for any sin that violates the marriage contract [The Road to Reno (Macmillan, 1962), p. 1]. If the position of code morality is embraced in conjunction with a literal acceptance of Jesus recorded words on divorce and remarriage, then the Christian stance is clear and uncomplicated. Divorce is not to be allowed (or is to be accepted only on the condition of unchastity), and remarriage is to be forbidden as long as ones former mate is living. If a situationist approach is employed, however, the allowance for divorce within a Christian context is considerably expanded. If Jesus allowed for breaking the honored Sabbath laws so as to provide for healing or gleaning, though the ancient laws forbade these on the sacred day, would he not also allow for a suspension of the proscription against divorce if such were to liberate a person from the bondage of an intolerable marriage? If the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), does it not follow that marriage was made for humanity, rather than humanity for marriage? If the institution, important as it is, does violence to the individual, then shouldnt the institution be amended in order that the individual might flourish?
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

Teleological Approach Purposeness [teleology] seeks to answer the question: What shall I do? by raising as prior the question: What is my goal, ideal, or telos? Responsibility, however, proceeds in every moment of decision and choice to inquire: What is going on? If we use value terms then the differences among the three approaches may be indicated by the terms, the good, the right, and the fitting; for teleology is concerned always with the highest good to which it subordinates the right, no matter what may happen to our goods; but for the ethics of Responsibility the fitting action, the one that fits into a total interaction as response and as anticipation of further response, is alone conducive to the good and alone is right. Teleology is from the Greek telos, end, and logos, science, and it has had a rather stable definition. In ethics, teleology implies that ends determine some of the rightness of a choice, and at times even the rightness of a choice. Sometimes teleology has come to mean that ends are more important than means in the determination of the rightness of a choice. The Encyclopdia Britannica says teleology is a theory of morality that derives duty or moral

obligation from what is good or desirable as an end to be achieved. It is opposed to deontological ethics, which holds that the basic standards for an actions being morally right are independent of the good or evil generated.

Teleological theories differ on the nature of the end that actions ought to promote. Eudaemonist theories (Greek eudaimonia, happiness), which hold that ethics consists in some function or activity appropriate to man as a human being, tend to emphasize the cultivation of virtue or excellence in the agent as the end of all action. These could be the classical virtuescourage, temperance, justice, and wisdomthat promoted the Greek ideal of man as the rational animal; or the theological virtuesfaith, hope, and lovethat distinguished the Christian ideal of man as a being created in the image of God. Therefore, using the teological approach, it is right to be legally separated or annulled if the end is to put an end to the misery of both husband and wife or if any of them commit adultery then the other is better off without the adulterer.


Christian Perspective

God, the Creator of humanity and of marriage itself, has laid out His plan for marriage as a lifelong union. God knows this design is the best. When we stray from His plan, as we have seen in the studies mentioned above, the results are damaging on many levels. Unfortunately, the divorce rate in the church is comparable to that of the culture at large. Many Christians see nothing wrong with divorce, at least in their own particular situation. But the Bible clearly addresses marriage and divorce. Marriage is the first institution created by God. God made the first man, Adam, but declared that it was not good for Adam to be alone. He then brought to Adam all the animals, which Adam named, but "no companion suitable for him" was found (Genesis 2:20). God was revealing to Adam his incomplete nature. God then created a woman, Eve, for Adam. He blessed them and their union and gave them the earth to rule over. (Genesis 1:27-28.) The creation of marriage occurred prior to sin's entrance into the world. It was a part of God's perfect design for mankind. Through the prophets, God emphasized three principles: 1. Marriage is sacred 2. God hates divorce 3. Marriage is designed to produce children of good character. (Malachi 2:13-16) Jesus underscored the importance and sacredness of lifelong marriage in His own teachings.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

(Matthew 19:6.) The apostle Paul further taught that the marital relationship is to be an ongoing demonstration of the sacrificial love that Christ showed His church. (Ephesians 5:21-33.) Let's look at this issue more closely. Specifically, what does the Bible tell us about divorce? Malachi 2:13-16 gives us a clear look into God's heart for marriage: Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel. Jesus Christ reiterated the importance and permanence of marriage. Matthew 19:3-6 (NIV) says, "Some Pharisees came to Him to test Him. They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?'" "Haven't you read," He replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

Divorce is the tearing apart of the foundation of all stable societies the family. Sometimes, it's necessary. Sometimes, it's even unavoidable. (In Colorado, for example, if one spouse files for divorce, the other cannot stop it from occurring.) Nonetheless, it's important that we in the Body of Christ encourage those in troubled marriages to seek counseling and restoration because most divorces are neither necessary nor unavoidable. Many Christians disagree about whether the Bible allows divorce and/or remarriage. If we are concerned about whether we have biblical grounds for divorce, we will need to commit the matter to prayer and study. We should also seek out counsel from our own pastor and, ideally, a licensed Christian counselor. The question of sin cannot be taken lightly. But biblical grounds may exist: When one's partner is guilty of sexual immorality and is unwilling to repent and live faithfully with the marriage partner. Jesus' words in Matthew 19:8-9 indicate that divorce (and remarriage) in this circumstance is acceptable. That passage reads: "Why then," [the Pharisees] asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.

But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries [or, 'in order to marry'] another woman commits adultery." However, divorce is not required. If your spouse has committed adultery, divorce is morally allowed, but not required. Many couples have been able to rebuild their marriages even after such a devastating blow. When one spouse is not a Christian, and that spouse willfully and permanently deserts the Christian spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15).


Individual Standpoint I see legal separation and annulment as positive. To live with someone as if youre a punching bag to be physically abused, a megaphone to be mentally abused, and a toy to be used would be unfair. Marriage is supposed to be for a woman and a man who are bonded to love and live life happily. Theres always a time and place for everything. -Kristela Often we think an unhappy couple has only two options: 4. Stay together and be miserable.
Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines

5. Get a divorce. But there is a third option, and many couples successfully take this other road. This option is to look at the broken marriage as something worth mending. We all know that most people get married for love, while others marry for convenience. But the fact of the matter is that marriage is sacred and it should be treated as such. These married couple should find time to settle their individual differences and try to think of the many people that will be affected if they get divorced or annulled. They should not be selfish.

To have good marriages, we need to ride out the "lows" and learn from those times so that the relationship can be strengthened. If the relationship is at a low point and you wonder what happened to the spark, there is good news. It's not too late to revitalize the relationship.

My stand to legal separation and annulment is a negative one. Aside from the Biblical assertion that marriage is an institution made by God, the consequences of having a broken family are very ugly. I do not wish for any family to be broken simply because I believe that a family is a persons main support system. It is the lifeblood of a ones life. -Edmund

Marriage: Legal Separation and Annulment in the Philippines