MANILA, Philippines — A Senate panel has finally approved a consolidated measure providing for absolute divorce in the Philippines.
The introduction of divorce is part of Senate Bill No. 2443, which aims to expand the grounds for dissolution of marriage.
It was approved by the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, which also published a report for approval in plenary.
Among the authors of the consolidated bill are panel leader Senator Risa Hontiveros, Senators Raffy Tulfo, Robin Padilla, Senators Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos.
Besides the five authors, four others also signed the panel report, including Senators JV Ejercito, Grace Poe, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda.
“The State shall ensure that legal procedures for obtaining absolute divorce are affordable, expeditious and inexpensive, particularly for indigent litigants,” the bill states.
Absolute divorce is defined in the bill as “the lawful termination of a marriage by a court through legal proceedings”.
A petition or complaint for divorce must be filed by one or both spouses, which would “return both parties to the status of single for all purposes, including the right to enter into a subsequent marriage.”
Annulment or dissolution of marriage, on the other hand, “refers to a marriage duly solemnized by a priest, imam, rabbi, or former president of a church or religious entity, or duly solemnized or solemnized by an elder or leader of an indigenous cultural community (ICC). or an indigenous people (IP) in the Philippines, which is subsequently annulled, dissolved, declared void or terminated in a final judgment or declaration in accordance with the canons or precepts of that church, religious entity, or the customs and practices of the ICC or IP.
The bill lists the following grounds for seeking an absolute divorce:
- Five years of separation, continuous or interrupted, without a judicial decision of separation
- The commission of the crime of rape by the defendant spouse against the applicant spouse, whether before or after the celebration of their marriage;
- Grounds for legal separation within the meaning of article 55 of the Family Code or any other special law
- A final decree of absolute divorce validly obtained in a foreign jurisdiction by any Filipino citizen, regardless of the person to whom he or she married;
- Irreconcilable marital differences or an irreparable breakdown of the marriage, despite serious efforts at reconciliation, subject to a 60-day reflection period in accordance with Article 8 of this Law;
- An annulment or dissolution of marriage, duly authorized by a church or religious entity, or a dissolution of marriage duly authorized by customs and practices traditionally recognized, accepted and observed by an ICC 15 or IP to which the parties belong, having the same effect than a decree. of divorce, annulment, dissolution or declaration of nullity pronounced by a competent court.
According to the bill, a joint petition filed by both spouses with common children should be accompanied by a joint parenting plan, which provides for alimony, custody and living arrangements for the common children.
“If the court determines that the joint parenting plan is adequate to protect the rights and interests of the common children, the court will approve the joint parenting plan as well as the granting of a divorce decree if warranted,” states the text.
Failure to provide “court-ordered child and/or spousal support” would be punishable by the jail mayor and a fine of up to P300,000, as provided in the draft law.
A similar proposal was also approved earlier this year by a House of Representatives panel.
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