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House Panel Approves Absolute Divorce Bill in PH

Divorce in PH

Absolute Divorce in PH: The House Committee on Population and Family Relations recently endorsed a bill for plenary approval. The bill aims to reinstitute absolute divorce as an alternative mode for the dissolution of marriage in the Philippines. During the hearing, the committee unanimously approved the unnumbered substitute bill allowing absolute divorce in the Philippines.

What is absolute divorce? According to the website, People’s Law, absolute divorce is defined as the final ending of a marriage. Once a decree is entered, both parties are free to remarry. The “decree of absolute divorce” is a formal order issued by the country to end the divorce proceeding. As part of its order, a spouse may ask the court to resume to their former name. Both parties may also ask the court to discuss the following: issues of alimony, custody and child support, and division of marital property.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, in his sponsorship remarks, said that the bill seeks to reinstate absolute divorce as it was already practiced during pre-Spanish times, the American colonial period, and the Japanese occupation.

“Today is a momentous occasion for countless wives, who are battered and deserted, to regain their humanity, self-respect and freedom from irredeemably failed marriages and utterly dysfunctional unions,” states Lagman.

According to Lagman, other amendments incorporated in the bill are the following: provisions of court-assisted petitioners, community-based pre-nuptial and post-matrimonial programs, community-based women’s desk for victims of violence and abuse, and appropriation language for the bill. He also included that the grounds for legal separation, annulment of marriage, and nullification of marriage based on psychological incapacity under the Family Code of the Philippines are included as grounds for absolute divorce.

Moreover, other grounds for divorce in the bill include the following: 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; other forms of domestic or marital abuse which are also defined in the bill; valid foreign divorce secured by either the alien or Filipino spouse; and a marriage nullified by a recognized religious tribunal.

“It is hard to believe that all the other countries collectively erred in instituting absolute divorce in varying degrees of liberality and limitations. An en masse blunder is beyond comprehension. An erroneous unanimity on such a crucial familial institution defies reason and experience. Obviously, the rest of the world cannot be mistaken on the universality of absolute divorce,” Lagman adds. Source: House panel approves absolute divorce bill, an article by the Philippine News Agency.

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