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The sanctity of marriage is not based on the number of marriages existing individuals but does not confer them

them the legal right or remedy to extricate


but on the quality of marital relationships. When a marriage is no longer themselves from the ordeal of a broken marriage.
viable, divorce should be an option.
When lay people speak of annulment as a means of terminating a
Arguments FOR Divorce marriage, they actually refer to the remedy under Article 36 of the Family
Code. Article 36 declares that a marriage is void from the beginning when
1. Not all marriages succeed as a permanent union. one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to perform the
essential marital obligations. Under Article 36, a court does not terminate a
An increasing number of married individuals find themselves subjected by marriage but only declares it void. One must prove psychological
their marriage partners to physical violence, grossly abusive conduct and incapacity by presenting evidence on three essential elements of the
other acts of or offenses that rather than promote blissful, harmonious condition: that it already existed before the marriage; that it is grave or
conjugal and family life impair, debase or destroy the legitimate ends of serious; and that it is incurable. To do this, one usually needs the help of a
the marriage relationship. Divorce seeks to give spouses which are psychiatrist or psychologist to testify as an expert witness.
shacked by an irretrievably broken marriage the freedom to remarry and
possibly succeed in attaining a stable and fulfilling family life. But what if the marriage worked in the first ten years, but later the parties
drifted apart for some reason or another? What if the other spouse was
We agree that the family should be protected, but what kind of family do violent, unfaithful, indolent, or an alcoholic or a drug addict? What if one
we want? In the traditional sense, the family is a societal unit composed of spouse abandoned the family? These may not be used for annulment, or
father, mother and their children living in one home. However, beyond the for a marriage to be declared void under Article 36, unless it can be proved
composition of the family, don’t we also mean that these people that these are manifestations of psychological incapacity that predated the
involved must live in an atmosphere where love, understanding, trust and marriage.
respect prevail? If these are gone and instead hatred, abuse, violence
and/or mistrust become the norm, do we still call this societal unit a A divorce law will provide a remedy that Article 36 does not. Divorce does
family? not concern itself with validity or invalidity of a marriage. It terminates a
marriage based on a ground that occurred during the marriage, which
In our country where violence against women, specifically wife battering makes the marital relationship no longer tenable, regardless of the
and abuse are prevalent, must we force women to stay within an abusive spouses psychological constitution. A divorce law will provide a
relationship so as not to "destroy" a family? Truth be said, this kind of straightforward remedy to a marital failure. It will benefit Filipinos wherever
family is already ruined and there is nothing more to destroy. they are. (Positively Filipino, 2013)

Based on the National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the 3. Divorce is not exclusive to contemporary times.
National Statistics Office, one out of five women aged 15-49 has
experienced physical violence and 14.4 percent of married women have Before the Spanish colonial rule in the early 16th century, absolute divorce
experienced physical abuse from their husbands. Statistics have also had been widely practiced among our ancestral tribes the Tagbanwas of
shown that wife battery ranked highest among cases of violence against Palawan, the Gadang of Nueva Vizcaya, the Sagada and Igorot of the
women at 72 percent in 2009, affecting more than 6,000 women (Umil, Cordilleras, the Manobo, Bila-an and Moslems of Visayas and Mindanao
2011). On the other hand, a sad marriage is just as bad as an abusive one. islands, to name a few.
According to the Philippines Solicitor Generals office, there were 9,117
petitions for annulment filed in 2010, 61 percent of which were filed by 4. There were prior divorce laws.
women.
In 1917, Act 2710 allowed divorce on the grounds of adultery on the part of
2. Divorce is not a novel legal right. the wife and concubinage on the part of the husband. During the Japanese
occupation, pursuant to Executive Order No. 141 (1943). The ethno-
The Family Code sanctions relative divorce (a mensa et thoro). linguistic communities of the Philippine archipelago before the Spanish
conquest practiced divorce. We had a divorce law from 1917 until August
Legal separation is a recognized remedy for victims of failed marriages. 30, 1950, when the Civil Code of 1950 took effect. The latter law prohibited
Our civil laws on marriage justify and allow the separation of married divorce for Filipinos, and the prohibition continues under the present Family
Code. But Muslim Filipinos have always practiced divorce, which Philippine
law allowed. Today, divorce continues to be available to Muslim Filipinos that divorce may be granted when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable
under the Code of Muslim Personal Law of the Philippines (Presidential differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.
Decree No. 1083), promulgated in 1977. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or discord should be
given the opportunity to present their marital contrarieties in court and
In recognition of the history of divorce in the Philippines, the framers of have those differences adjudged as constituting a substantial ground to
the 1987 Philippine Constitution left the wisdom of legalizing divorce to the put an end to the marriage.
Congress. Thus, the 1987 Constitution does not prohibit the legalization of
divorce. Another ground for divorce is when one or both spouses are
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital
5. With the predominance of the Catholic faith in the Philippines, obligations. This provision will consequently repeal Article 36 of the Family
the fear that divorce will erode personal values on marriage Code. The bill seeks to include psychological incapacity in the grounds
appears unfounded. for divorce in the belief that the concept is consistent with the termination
of marital ties rather than with a void marriage.
The experience of Italy, where the Vatican is located, and Spain, two
predominantly Catholic countries which practice divorce, supports this. This will seek to eliminate condonation of the act and consent to the
Those countries have a low rate of divorce. Italy registers a 7% rate while act as grounds for denying a petition for legal separation and, by
Spain registers 15%. The figures reflect the strong influence of religious extension, a petition for divorce. Many spouses especially women ignore
beliefs and culture on individuals in deciding to terminate marital relations. the offense because of the social and economic conditions they are in.
Many women in the marginalized sectors tend to condone the offense
Based on the increasing number of failed marriages which confines many because they are economically dependent on their spouses or because of
of our citizens to a perpetual state of marital limbo, it has become morally the stigma attached to failed marriages. Some women who are perceived
and socially acceptable for many Filipinos to grant spouses of broken to be condoning the acts of their husbands actually suffer from the cycle of
marriages the legal right to remarry. The present grounds for legal spousal abuse such that they have become so disempowered to address
separation which are recognized in our society as justifiable bases for their situation.
relative divorce should be re-enacted as lawful grounds for absolute
divorce. In addition, it is recommended that irreconcilable marital Under this proposed measure, a decree of divorce dissolves the absolute
differences be included in our present civil laws as a justifiable cause for community or conjugal partnership of gains. The assets shall be equally
absolute divorce because not all circumstances and situations that vitiate divided between the spouses. However, this bill also proposes that in
the institution of marriage could be specifically categorized and defined by addition to his or her equal share in the assets, the spouse who is not
our lawmakers. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or gainfully employed shall be entitled to support until he or she finds
discord should be given the opportunity to present their marital adequate employment but the right shall only be effective for not more
contrarieties before the courts and have such differences adjudged as than one year. This provision is meant to address the economic deprivation
substantial grounds to dissolve or sever the legal bond of marriage. or poverty that many women experience as a result of a marital break-up.

Parameters We also propose that the custody of any minor child shall be decided by
the court in accordance with the best interests of the child and their
We on the government side proposes five grounds for divorce. All the five support provided in accordance with the Family Court provisions on
grounds are premised on the irreparable breakdown of the marriage and support. Actual, moral and exemplary damages shall be awarded to the
the total non-performance of marital obligations. Thus, a petition for aggrieved spouse when proper in accordance with the provisions of the
divorce may be filed when the petitioner has been separated de facto (in Civil Code on damages. The proposed measure also provides that parties
fact) from his or her spouse for at least five years at the time of the filing of shall be disqualified from inheriting from each other by intestate
the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable, or when the petitioner succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of one spouse made in the will of
has been legally separated from his or her spouse for at least two years at the other spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.
the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable.

Not all circumstances and situations that cause the total breakdown of a
marriage could be defined in this proposed measure. Thus, we also provide