By Emmy Catugas, Nelie France Sanchez and Michael Villagracia

INTRODUCTION

When we make mistakes, we are given two choices: we either correct them, or leave them as they are and move on with our lives. This world of ours is a large playground of life. It is inevitable that we, as people, would make mistakes. Elders teach us to correct ourselves, and to learn from the mistakes that we make. Only then we can grow and be better versions of ourselves.

In a pre-dominantly Christian country like the Philippines, marriage is regarded as something so sacred, that even the fundamental law of the land seeks to preserve it. In a sense, marrying in the Philippines is a once in a lifetime offer. You either hit the jackpot that is a cloud nine of romance for a lifetime, or forever be imprisoned in a loveless marriage.

A lot of factors make up bad marriages, teen pregnancies, forced and arranged marriages, marriages where you thought your partner was as sweet as an angel, but in truth it was only the devil’s guise to enter your life and wreak havoc within. Normally mistakes can be corrected, but how about this one? Will the innocent parties in these kinds of marriage forever be scarred? The reminder of the violations and abuse forever engraved in their hearts, in their minds and forever in this lifetime? Are they eternally doomed in this prison that the state ultimately seeks to preserve?

The remedies available for those who seek to end a possible eternal prison are only but limited. The Family Code provides, but for some, it could be inadequate. Annulment, which renders the marriage void ab initio, or in layman’s terms, void from the beginning. It is as if there was no marriage to begin with, however not all spouses can always avail of this remedy, this only remedy, which can grant them a right to remarry, a right to have another shot at forever with perhaps the right partner. The requirements of annulment is as narrow as it can be exclusive, and most couples fall short on the requirement that the ground should have existed at the time the marriage was celebrate.

This is where Legal Separation would come in, the next thing closest to divorce but it could also be miles away from it. Legal Separation doesn’t terminate the marital bond between the spouses, unlike in divorce, it doesn’t render a marriage non-existent from the start, unlike in annulment. In the famous words found in the annals of jurisprudence, it is but the separation of bed and board. The marital tie is still there, the parties still married, the least the law can provide is to not oblige them to be with each other.

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage through a legal proceeding, by a complaint or petition for divorce by one party (Divorce Law and Legal Definition, 2010).

According to Emery (2013), the Philippines is the only country in the world, aside from Vatican City, where divorce is not legalized.

What is the reason for this?

Marriage is defined in the Family Code of the Philippines as: “… a special contract of PERMANENT union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with the law for the establishment of conjugal and family life (Article 1(a) of the Family Code, The New Civil Code)”, it was the intention of the lawmakers to always favor the preservation of marriage in the Philippines.

The mandate of separation of church and state, although enshrined in the constitution of the Philippines, is merely but written words in a document, a legal concept which cannot never be put to action. In this country where majority of the people are Catholic, divorce is a very difficult topic to discuss, since the church considers the bond of marriage to be sacred and permanent during the life of the spouses (Divorce in Christianity, 2003). Unions that are dissolved are greatly stigmatized by society (Chant, 1997). 

Although in a recent survey, Cornelio (2018) discovered that there is a change of opinion from Filipinos in favor of legalizing divorce, in 2005 only 43% of adult Filipinos agreed on divorce while 45% disagreed; in 2017 53% agreed while only 32% disagreed, others remain undecided ([OPINION] Divorce and the Religious Response, 2018).

In this study, the researcher will look into the pending Divorce bill of the Philippines, which is House Bill 7303: An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce in the Philippines, and compare it to Luxembourg’s divorce law, and relate it to laws that are possibly related to the bill.

Before we embark in this study, we would like to fully disclose the knowledge that the researchers are for the legalization of divorce in the Philippines, however that fact will not prejudice the contents of this research.

OBJECTIVES

The aim of this research is to compare the current modes of annulment and legal separation under the Family Code with the provisions of the pending House Bill #7303 of the 17th Congress of the Philippines, most commonly known as “The Absolute Divorce Act of 2018”, the closest alternative for divorce in the Philippine legal setting technically being the present provisions of the Family Code regarding legal separation.

The researchers will look into the current modes of annulment and legal separation under the Family Code, House Bill#7303, and compare the three (3) legislations with each other and try to apply them with select Philippine jurisprudence where the decisions of the court was beneficial or detrimental to the injured parties regarding the circumstances that are present in each case and the available remedies that they can apply for with regard to the facts of the case.

The researchers will also scrutinize the provisions of House Bill #7303 if whether or not it may successfully passed as a law. Taking into account the fundamental law of the land, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, with regard to its provisions relating to the preservation of the family and marriage, and the possibilities of a constitutional prohibition or limitation on the applications and passage of the above stated laws.

The researchers, in the event of a constitutional prohibition or limitation on the possible passage of House Bill #7303, will propose an amendment or a revision on the corresponding provisions that would prohibit or limit the passage of the said bill into a law.

Scope and Limitations

The scope of the research is the contents of House Bill# 7303, the provisions on legal separation and annulment under the Family Code, select Philippine jurisprudence, where the circumstances of each case would result to legal separation or annulment and the relevant provisions of the 1987 Constitution with regard to the family and marriage.

This research is limited only to jurisprudence in the Philippines and the pertinent provisions of civil law, namely: The Family Code of the Philippines, The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

The Supreme Court decisions included in this research are limited only to jurisprudence in the Philippines which decisions were for the imposition or granting of legal separation as a remedy to the parties.

The amendments and revisions to be suggested by the researchers after scrutinizing the pending divorce bill regarding its constitutionality, if any, are limited only to the provisions of the 1987 Constitution with relation the preservation of the family and the sanctity of marriage.

The researchers, in comparing pertinent provisions of the Family Code and the the house bill, in the application in select Supreme Court cases, are limited by their own opinion and perceptions of justice, equity and fairness in deciding which set of laws are more suitable to be applied as a remedy in those cases.

The information gathered by the researchers is limited, only those which are found in Philippine jurisprudence, Philippines text books and sites in the internet which provide a copy of the relevant laws of the Philippines and the provisions of House Bill #7303.

METHODOLOGY

This chapter describes and explains in detail the research methodologies that have been utilized for the completion of this study. The first part defines the research design applied in the conduct of the study, followed by the research instruments used, and the data gathering procedure followed by the researchers.

Research Design

The descriptive-comparative research design was used in this study, wherein the researchers essentially compare the current provisions on the modes of legal separation and annulment under the Family Code and the pending House Bill 7303.

Comparative research design is the analysis of data that helps researchers compare two or more groups in an attempt to identify and analyze similarities and differences of the groups being compared. Since the study compares the provisions of legal separation and annulment under the Family Code and those of House Bill 7303 in the Philippines, the comparative research is the most appropriate method to use. The researchers will compare each set of laws to identify the contrast and comparison in terms of its application, and utilization regarding such bill/law.

 Furthermore, the descriptive method is also applied to describe the characteristics of each law and bill to further understand the idea of each as it enables the researchers to determine when will it be applied in relevance to a particular situation.

Instrumentation

In this study, the researchers maximized the use of literary works such as published legal articles, books from the library, and information from reliable internet sites to understand the provisions of the Family Code regarding annulment and legal separation and of the pending House Bill 7303. Many published books and articles were read and studied to ensure the accuracy of the information for the variables being compared. Information gathered from internet sites were cautiously chosen by the researchers to avoid any misleading information to be grasped, which can jeopardize the actual definition and characteristics of the law and the bill being compared. Also, the researchers employed a self-constructed survey questionnaires that were disseminated through the use of technology, wherein the questions can measure how knowledgeable the chosen respondent is regarding the existence of the of a pending divorce law in the form of House Bill 7303 in the Philippines. The survey forms are just for auxiliary purposes of the study.

Data Gathering Procedure

The researchers gathered necessary data from different literary works that are relevant and useful to the study such as books and internet sites. These resources enabled the researchers to collect data which can be highly beneficial in answering this study’s objectives. The research group also had a collaborative discussion regarding the data collected before advancing to the data analysis proper.

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

In this chapter, the researchers will take a look at the studies done about divorce, provisions of law and other legal journals that can be related to it.

Dena Taylor (no date) of the University of Toronto explains it in a more straightforward manner, “A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers” that will allow us to “demonstrate skills in two areas: information seeking, and critical appraisal (Taylor, no date available).

Here, we shall justify our research, develop our thesis and place our portion, as explained by the University of Arizona Libraries (2015) “in the academic context by showing that ther are gaps in knowledge in (the) field that merit a closer investigation.”

We have also provided short critical analyses (Skills You Need, no date) of the literature we have encountered, sourced mainly through computer-aided or desktop research, which allowed us to access materials online or those available through textbooks.

A Legal History of Divorce in the Philippines

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

In order to fully understand today’s divorce in the Philippines, we should look into the past and its history.

In the pre-colonial period, Filipinos are more liberal than of today’s Filipinos when it comes to absolute divorce (De Borja Lamonera and Duano Law Offices, 2016); it has been found out that it was practiced by the Tagbanwans of Palawan, the Gadangs of Nueva Viscaya, the Sagadans and Igorots of Cordilleras, and the Manobos, B’laans, and Moslems of the Visayas and Mindanao islands (House of Representative, Republic of the Philippines, 2010).

In the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, absolute divorce was prohibited, and the only divorce law that was practiced by the government was the Siete Partidas of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889; their law only allowed legal separation (Divorce Law in the Philippines, 2012).

When the Philippines was freed under the colonization of Spain via the Treaty of Paris (1898) by the United States, a new wave of culture and religious principle about the Separation of Church and State and religious freedom entered the islands of the Philippines (De Borja Lamonera and Duano Law Offices, 2016). The Americans established a system of government similar to that of the mainland, it also includes a divorce law, which was enacted by the Philippine legislature in 1917 through Act No. 2710, divorce was allowed in the grounds of adultery (Divorce Law in the Philippines, 2012).

Republic Act No. 386 or the Civil Code of the Philippines repealed Act No. 2710 on June 18, 1949. It only allowed legal separation by the same ground and by an attempt of one spouse against the life of another.

In 1988, the Family Code under the New Civil Code became effective, it allowed filing of a petition for Declaration of Nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity (Article 36, Family Code of the Philippines), which was argued by some that this article is a form of divorce since the ground must have existed upon the celebration of marriage although it may manifest itself after the marriage (Divorce in the Philippines: A Legal History, 2016). The Family Code also carried out the legal separation provisions but broaden the grounds for filing such.

Marrying Religion and Reality

Philippines, now the only country in the world where divorce is not legal, one of the reason is the Church’s strong opposition to this (Abalos, 2017).

In a reality that necessitate divorce because of violence, infidelity, and abandonment; and instead of giving comfort, religion in the Philippines tend to bring only oppression when often a romanticized image of the family is used against even to the most dysfunctional relationship (Cornelio, 2018).

For the past years, support for divorce has grew, but it is still a struggle to marry faith and freedom, religion and reality in this country with a high number of broken families in the predominantly Catholic nation (Elemia, 2018).

In an article, Camille Elemia (2018) said that “Religious groups and supporters see the measure, which passed the House of Representatives in a historic first, as evil, “anti-family”, and detrimental to the children. The Bible, after all, says, what God has united let no man tear apart” (‘Til Divorce do us part? PH struggles to marry religion and reality, 2018).

Although this groups claim to be pro-women and pro-freedom, reality shows another picture on women who is stuck on bad marriages.

It is clear that in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, it is stated that “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable” and “no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

Filipinos of today regarding Divorce

As the only country in the world not having a law on absolute divorce, does the people also feel that the enactment of divorce in the country is unnecessary?

Social Weather Station conducted a survey last year that showed majority of Filipinos support the legalizing of divorce in the Philippines; it shows that 53 percent of the Filipinos agreed to legalized divorce – 30 percent “strongly agreed” while 23 percent “somewhat agreed” – and 32 percent did not agree, only 15 percent answered undecided (Social Weather Stations, 2018).

While most of Filipinos have conservative views about religion, marriage and divorce, but a growing number of population is becoming more receptive to the idea of divorce, also a survey conducted by the Social Weather Station in 2014 shows that Filipinos who agreed that “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can remarry” increased for, 43 percent in 2005 to 60 percent in 2014.

(Data from Rappler)

There is a growing number of annulment and nullity cases filed that has been increasing since 2001.

(Data from Rappler)

This table was based from the OSG’s random sampling of cases filed in 2012, a large majority of the cases for the dissolution of marriage were for the nullity of marriage; followed by annulment, then legal separation.

Based on these data, Filipinos are now more open of the concept of marriage dissolution compared before.

The researchers conducted a little survey about House Bill 7303: An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce in the Philippines.

Based on the researchers’ survey 56.7 percent are in favor of divorce while 43.3 percent are not in favor. The researchers participants are only within Negros.

Laws and Jurisprudence related to Absolute Divorce

HOUSE BILL 7303

“AN ACT INSTITUTING ABSOLUTE DIVORCE AND DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE IN THE PHILIPPINES”

Be approved in substitution of HB 116, 1062, 2380 and 6027 with Reps. Edcel C. Lagman, Robert Ace S. Barbers, Emmi A. De Jesus, Arlene D. Brosas, Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Rodel M. Batocabe, Ariel B. Casilao, France L. Castro, Nancy A. Catamco, Pia S. Cayetano, Sarah Jane L. Elago, Gwendolyn F. Garcia, Ana Cristina Go, Pantaleon D. Alvarez, Antonio L. Tinio, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Feliciano Belmonte Jr.m Kaka J. Bag-ao, Doy C, Leachon, and Eleanor C. Balut-Begtang as atuhors thereof.

Congress of the Philippines

House of Representatives

Republic of the Philippines

Seventeenth Congress

Second Regular Sessions

Substitute Bill no. 7303

(In substitution of House Bills Numbered 116, 1062, 2380, and 6027)

Introduced by Representatives Edcel C. Lagman, Robert Ace S. Barbers, Emmi A. De Jesus, Arlene D. Brosas, Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Rodel M. Batocabe, Ariel B. Casilao, France L. Castro, Nancy A. Catamco, Pia S. Cayetano, Sarah Jane L. Elago, Gwendolyn F. Garcia, Ana Cristina Go, Pantaleon D. Alvarez, Antonio L. Tinio, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Feliciano Belmonte Jr.m Kaka J. Bag-ao, Doy C, Leachon, and Eleanor C. Balut-Begtang.

AN ACT INSTITUTING ABSOLUTE DIVORCE AND DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE IN THE PHILIPPINES

            SECTION 1. Short Title – This Act shall be known as the “Absolute Divorce Act of 2018.”

            Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. – While the State continues to protect and preserve marriage as a social institution and as the foundation of the family, it shall also give the opportunity to spouses in irremediably failed marriages to secure an absolute divorce decree under limited grounds and well-defined judicial proceduresto terminate a continuing dysfunction of a long broken marriage; save the children from the pain, stress, and agony consequent to their parents’ constant marital clashes; and grant the divorced spouses the right to marry again for another chance to achieve marital bliss.

            Sec. 3. Guiding Principles – The following shall be the guiding principles of this Act:

  1. Absolute divorce shall be judicially decreed after the fact of an irremediably broken marital union or a marriage that is defective from the start.
  2. The state shall assure that the court proceedings for the grant of divorce shall be affordable and inexpensive, particularly for court assisted litigants or petitioners.
  3. Concerned spouses have the option to file for absolute divorce under this Act or seek legal separation, annulment of marriage or nullification of marriage under the pertinent provisions of E.O. No. 209 otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines.
  4. The option of absolute divorce is a pro-woman legislation because in most cases, it is the wife who is entitle to a divorce as a liberation from an abusive relationship and to help her regain dignity and self-esteem.
  5. A six-month cooling-off period is instituted after the filing of a petition for absolute divorce as a final attempt for reconciliation of concerned spouses.
  6. A divorce decree shall include provisions for the care and custody of children, protection of their legitime, termination and liquidation of the conjugal partnership of gains or the absolute community, and alimony for the petitioner.
  7. Even as absolute divorce is instituted, the State has the role of strengthening marriage and family life by undertaking relevant pre-nuptial and post-matrimonial programs and activities.

Sec. 4. Definition of Terms – As used in this Act:

  1. Abandonment refers to the act of leaving of a husband or wife from the conjugal home without justifiable cause and with a deliberate intention of creating a perpetual separation. The desertion amounts to an absolute cessation of marital relations, rights and duties;
  2. Absolute divorce refers to the separation between married couples that is total and final where the husband and wife return to their status of being single with the right to contract marriage again;
  3. Alcoholism refers to a habitual or excessive drinking of alcoholic liquor, often resulting in impaired social functioning and damage to the liver, heart and nervous system;
  4. Alimony refers to an allowance for support made under court order to a divorced person by the former spouse, usually the main financial provider during the marriage;
  5. Bigamous marriage refers to a second or subsequent marriage contracted before the former marriage has been legally dissolve, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings;
  6. Child refers to a descendant of the first degree by birth, and shall include an offspring by legal adoption or one whose custody and care is judicially decreed to be given to a guardian;
  7. Child custody refers to the parental authority and care of a child decreed by a competent court when the parents of the child are divorced;
  8. Child support refers to a method of compensating a parent needing monies for raising and sheltering a child by the other parent who has the means to manage the expenses associated with child support. A court of law usually determines the payments, based on the income level of the other parent and the need of the child;
  9. Chronic gambling refers to a disorder of impulse control in which a person makes wagers of various types which compromise, disrupt or damage family, work and social relations, and vocational pursuits;
  10. Competent court refers to the proper family court established under RA 8369 or the “Family Courts Act of 1997”, which shall exercise jurisdiction both over the absolute divorce proceeding and the persons of the petitioner and respondent spouses;
  11. Court assisted petitioner or petitioners refer to those who have personal or real properties not exceeding five million pesos (P5,000,000.00);
  12. Domestic or marital abuse refers to violence or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse by the other. It may be committed in the form of:
    1. Physical violence
    1. Psychological and emotional violence
    1. Sexual violence; or
    1. Economic abuse;
  13.  Drug addiction refers to  habitual dependence on a prohibited drug or drugs;
  14. Homosexuality refers to a person who is attracted to persons of the same sex;
  15. Insanity refers to a condition or “a manifestation in language or in conduct of a disease or defect of the brain, a more or less permanent disease or disorder condition of the mentality, functional or organic, and characterized by perversion, inhibition, or disordered function of the sensory or of the intellectual faculties, or by impaired or desired volition”;
  16. Irreconcilable differences refer to the existence of overriding conflicts between a married couple that are so pronounced and beyond repair as to make the marriage unworkable, and for which law permits a divorce;
  17. Joint Petition refers to the legal action filed by both spouses, before the Family Court for the dissolution of their marriage based on any of the grounds for absolute divorce provided for in this Act.
  18. Legitime refers to the portion of a parent’s estate from which they cannot disinherit the children, without sufficient legal cause;
  19. Marital Infidelity refers to the unfaithfulness of a spouse during the marriage;
  20. Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) or Migrant Worker refers to a citizen of the Philippines who is living and working in a foreign country, typically on a temporary basis with a work contract or as defined under Sec. 3. of RA 8042 as amended by RA 10022 otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995”;
  21. Psychological incapacity refers to the condition provided for in Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines which warrants the nullification of a marriage;
  22. Sex reassignment surgery refers to the procedure by which a person’s physical appearance and function of primary sex characteristics are altered to resemble that of the identified or preferred gender;
  23. Summary judicial proceedings refer to an expeditious manner of resolving a petition for divorce without regard to technical rules and the petitioner is given the option to be assisted or not by a lawyer. The proper court may allow presentation of evidence ex parte as warranted by circumstances. The decision shall be immediately final and executory;
  24. Transgender refers to those whose gender identity or expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex assigned at birth;
  25. Transsexual refers to a person who emotionally and psychologically feels that one belongs to the opposite sex, and who opts for a transition from one sex to another through the use of hormones or surgical procedure.

Sec. 5. Grounds for Absolute Divorce – The following are the grounds for a judicial decree of absolute divorce:

  1. The grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, modified or amended, as follows:
  2. Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
  3. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;
  4. 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;
  5.  Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;
  6.  Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling of the respondent;
  7. Homosexuality of the respondent;
  8. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;
  9. Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when upon the mutual agreement of the spouses, a child is born to them by in vitro or a similar procedure or when the when the wife bears a child after being a victim of rape;
  10. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner, a common child or a child of the petitioner;
  11. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.

When the spouse are legally separated by judicial decree for more than two (2) years, either or both spouses can petition the proper court for an absolute divorce based on said judicial decree of legal separation.

  • Grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines, restated as follows:
  •  That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;
  •  That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
  • That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
  • That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
  •  That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable;
  • That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Provided, That the grounds mentioned in number 2, 5, and 6 existed at the time of the marriage or supervening after the marriage.

  • When the spouses have been separated in fact for at least five (5) years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed, and reconciliation is highly improbable.
  • Psychological incapacity of either spouses as provided for in Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of the celebration of the marriage or later.
  • When one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another, the other spouse is entitled to petition for absolute divorce with the transgender or transsexual as respondent or vice versa.
  • Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts which have resulted in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair, despite earnest and repeated effort at reconciliation, shall entitle either spouse or both spouse to petition for absolute divorce.

Sec. 6. Procedure for Obtaining Absolute Divorce. –

  1. The established and recognized procedures for securing legal separation, annulment of marriage and voiding of a marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines, as far as practicable, shall govern the process of obtaining a judicial decree of absolute divorce from the proper family court which shall be commenced by the petitioners or joint petitioners filing a verified petition for absolute divorce.
  2. The factors and ground which militate against the grant of legal separation and the annulment and nullification of marriages as provided for in the Family Code of the Philippines shall likewise be assessed, based on competent and credible proof, against the grant of absolute divorce.
  3. Upon application of a court-assisted petitioner or petitioner, the proper court shall likewise be assessed, based on competent and credible proof, against the grant of absolute divorce.
  4. A petition for absolute divorce may be filed jointly by the spouses on the ground of de facto separation for five (5) years, legally separated by judicial declaration for at least two (2) years, or irreconcilable differences or other ground for absolute divorce provided for in this Act.

A join petition filed by both spouses with common children should be accompanied by a joint plan for parenthood which provides for the support, parental authority custody and living arrangements of the common children.

If the court determines that the joint plan for parenthood is adequate to protect the rights and interests of the common children, the court shall approve the joint plan for parenthood together with the grant of a divorce decree if warranted.

The court shall ensure the enforcement of the joint plan for parenthood and may require the spouses to submit periodic reports on its implementation subject to the validation of the courts social worker or by the local social welfare officer.

  • All creditors of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership of gains, as well as the personal creditors of the spouses, shall be listed in the petition for absolute divorce and notified of the filing thereof. The court shall take measures to protect the creditors and other persons with pecuniary interest.
  • No decree of absolute divorce shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or a confession of judgment.
  • The Office of the Public Prosecutor in provinces, cities, and capital towns is authorized and obliged to conduct investigations to find out whether or not there is collusion between the spouses in a petition for absolute divorce and shall report its findings to the proper court within six (6) months from the filing of the petition.

Sec. 7. Overseas Filipino Workers – Petitioners who are OFWs shall be given priority by the proper court with respect to the hearing of their petitions and the court shall set the reception of evidence, upon the availability of the petitioners, for not more than two (2) consecutive days.

Sec. 8. Summary Judicial Proceedings. ­– The following rounds for absolute divorce may be subject to summary judicial proceedings as defined in Sec. 4 (w):

  1. When the spouses have been separated de facto for at least five (5) years.
  2. When one of the spouses have contracted a bigamous marriage;
  3. When the spouses have been legally separated by judicial decree for two (2) years or more;
  4. When one of the spouses has been sentenced to imprisonment for six (6) years, even if subsequently pardoned;
  5. When one of the spouses has undergone a sex reassignment surgery or has transitioned into another sex; and
  6. When both spouses have filed a joint petition for the dissolution of their marriage before the proper Family Court based on any of the ground for in this Act.

Sec. 9. Mandatory six-month cooling-off period. – Except for grounds under summary judicial proceedings, the proper court shall not start the trial of a petition for absolute divorce before the expiration of a six-month cooling-off period after the filing of the petition during which the court shall exercise all efforts to reunite and reconcile the parties.

            The requirement of a cooling off period shall not apply in cases which involve acts of violence against women and their children under Republic Act No. 9262 otherwise known as the “Anti-violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” or attempt against the life of the other spouse or a common child or a child of the petitioner.

Sec. 10. Effects of Absolute Divorce. – The decree of absolute divorce shall have the following effects.

  1. The marriage bonds shall be severed and the divorced spouses shall have the right to contract marriage again, either by civil or religious ceremony.
  2. The custody of the minor children shall be decided by the proper court in accordance with the best interests of the children, subject to the provisions of Article 213 of the Family Code of the Philippines taking into primary consideration that no child under seven (7) years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the proper court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.
  3. The conjugal partnership of gains or the absolute community shall be dissolved and liquidated and the assets shall be equally divided between the spouses excluding the paraphernal or exclusive properties of either spouse. The recognition and delivery of the presumptive legitime of the common children shall be at the option of both spouses. The presumptive legitime shall be computed as of the date of the finality of the decree of absolute divorce. The partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses and the delivery of the children’s presumptive legitime upon the option of the spouses shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry and registries of property, otherwise the same shall not affect third persons.
  4. In addition to the equal share in the assets of the absolute community or conjugal partnership, the petitioner who is not gainfully employed shall be entitled to support from the respondent until the petitioner find adequate employment: Provided, That the support shall only be for one (1) year from he finality of the decree of absolute divorce; Provided, Further, That the right to support shall be subject to the provisions of Article 201 of the Family Code of the Philippines where the amount of support shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.
  5. The proper court shall have the discretion to grant alimony, child support and child custody pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines, and impose contempt of court against the defaulting parties. The petitioner may opt for a one-time or on a monthly basis alimony. The necessity of alimony and the amount shall be determined by the court taking into consideration all relevant factors.
  6. The petitioner may revoke the donations made in favor of the respondent, as well as the designation of the latter as a beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable. The revocation of the donations shall be recorded in the registries of properties in the places where the properties are located. Alienations, liens and encumbrances registered in good faith before the recording of the complaint for revocation in the registry of property shall be respected. The revocation of or a change in the designation of the insurance beneficiary shall take effect upon written notification thereof to the insured.

The action to revoke the donation under provision must be brought within five (5) years from the time the decree of absolute divorce has become final.

  • The effect on the divorced spouses with respect to intestate succession, testamentary dispositions, donations and insurance provisions on the beneficiaries in accordance with the Family Code of the Philippines and jurisprudence will be observed.
  • The legitimate and adopted children of divorced parents shall retain their legal status and legitimacy; a child conceived or born within 300 days after the filing of a petition for absolute divorce shall be considered legitimate, unless the ground for divorce is the marital infidelity of the wife.

Sec. 11. Recognition of Reconciliation. – a) If the petitioner have agreed to reconcile, a corresponding joint manifestation under oath duly signed by them shall be filed with the same court where the petition for absolute divorce was filed with the interest of the children duly protected.

      b) The plan to reconcile shall have the following consequences:

(1) The absolute divorce proceedings, if still pending, shall be terminated at whatever stage, and

(2) The final decree of absolute divorce shall be set aside, but the separation of property and any forfeiture of the share of the respondent already effected shall subsist, unless the spouses agree to revive their former property regime.

            The court order containing the foregoing shall be recorded in the proper civil registries.

            c) The agreement to revive the former property regime referred to in this Act shall be executed under oath and shall specify:

1) The properties to be contributed anew to the restored regime;

2) Those to be retained as separate properties of each spouse; and

3) The names of all their known creditors, their addresses and the amounts owing to each.

            The agreement of revival and the motion for its approval shall be filed with the court in the same proceeding for absolute divorce, with copies of both furnished to the creditors named therein. After due hearing, the court shall issue an order to protect the interest of creditors and such order shall be recorded in the proper registries of properties.

            The recording of the order in the registries of properties shall not prejudice any creditor not listed or not notified.

            Sec. 12. Penalty. – A spouse who is a party to a petition for absolute divorce who is found by the court to have used threats or coercion to compel the other spouse in filing the petition, and spouses guilty of collusion, shall be punished with imprisonment of five (5) years and a fine of Two hundred thousand pesos (Php 200,000.00).

            Any parent in default of providing child support under this Act shall be imposed stiff fines and contempt of court.

            Sec. 13. Options and Remedies. – The concerned spouse or spouses shall have the option to file a petition for absolute divorce under this Act or avail of legal separation, annulment or nullification of marriage as provided for in the Family Code of the Philippines.

            Sec. 14. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). ­– The Department of Justice (DOJ) as lead agency, together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippines Commission on Women (PCW), the National Youth Commission (NYC), and at least two (2) representatives from women’s organization to be appointed by the PCW on consultation with civil society and women’s organizations shall promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) within sixty (60) days after the effectivity of this Act.

            Sec. 15. Separability Clause. – If any part or provisions of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.

            Sec. 16. Repealing Clause. – All laws, executive orders, issuances, decrees, rules and regulations inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions of this Act are deemed amended, modified or repealed accordingly.

            Sec. 17. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation approved.

OBJECTIVES:

  • To provide opportunity to spouses in irremediably failed marriages to secure absolute divorce decree under limited grounds and well-defined judicial procedures.
  • To protect the children from the pain and stress resulting from their parent’s marital problems.
  • To grant the divorced spouses the right to marry again.

KEY PROVISIONS:

  • Provides that the State shall ensure an inexpensive and affordable court proceedings in securing an absolute divorce decree.
  • Provides for the grounds on the grant of an absolute divorce decree to include grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines, separation in fact for at least five (5) years, legal separation by judicial decree for at least two (2) years, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences, and joint petition of spouses.
  • Provides priority for OFWs with respect to court hearings.
  • Mandates for summary judicial proceedings for certain grounds of absolute divorce to facilitate and eliminate costly and cumbersome court process.
  • Provides for a mandatory six-month cooling-off period for petitioner spouses.
  • States the effect of absolute divorce on the right of the spouses to remarry, the conjugal partnership of gains, the children and their legitime, donation and alimony.
  • Recognizes reconciliation of the spouses through a joint manifestation under oath submitted to the court.
  • Provides option for a one-time grant of alimony.
  • Provides options for delivering the presumptive legitime if the spouses are still living.

REPEALED LAWS:

  • E.O. No. 209, as amended (THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES)
  • E.O. No. 227, series 1987 (AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 209, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES”)
  • R.A. No. 8533 (AN ACT AMENDING TITLE I, CHAPTER 3, ARTICLE 39 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 209, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, NULLIFYING THE PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD FOR ACTION OR DEFENSES GROUNDED ON PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY)
  • R.A. No. 9262 (AN ACT DEFINING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN, PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR VICTIMS, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFORE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES)
  • Civil Code of the Philippines

Void and Voidable Marriages

Chapter 3. Void and Voidable Marriages

Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning: 

(1) Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians; 

(2) 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) Those solemnized without license, except those covered the preceding Chapter; 

(4) Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not failing under Article 41; 

(5) Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other; and 

(6) Those subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.

Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. (As amended by Executive Order 227)

Art. 37. Marriages between the following are incestuous and void from the beginning, whether relationship between the parties be legitimate or illegitimate: 

(1) Between ascendants and descendants of any degree; and 

(2) Between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood. (81a)

Art. 38. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning for reasons of public policy: 

(1) Between collateral blood relatives whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree; 

(2) Between step-parents and step-children; 

(3) Between parents-in-law and children-in-law; 

(4) Between the adopting parent and the adopted child; 

(5) Between the surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child; 

(6) Between the surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter; 

(7) Between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter; 

(8) Between adopted children of the same adopter; and 

(9) Between parties where one, with the intention to marry the other, killed that other person’s spouse, or his or her own spouse. (82)

Art. 39. The action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage shall not prescribe. (As amended by Executive Order 227 and Republic Act No. 8533; The phrase“However, in case of marriage celebrated before the effectivity of this Code and falling under Article 36, such action or defense shall prescribe in ten years after this Code shall taken effect”has been deleted by Republic Act No. 8533 [Approved February 23, 1998]).

Art. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. (n)

Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. 

For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. (83a)

Art. 42. The subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall be automatically terminated by the recording of the affidavit of reappearance of the absent spouse, unless there is a judgment annulling the previous marriage or declaring it void ab initio

A sworn statement of the fact and circumstances of reappearance shall be recorded in the civil registry of the residence of the parties to the subsequent marriage at the instance of any interested person, with due notice to the spouses of the subsequent marriage and without prejudice to the fact of reappearance being judicially determined in case such fact is disputed. (n)

Art. 43. The termination of the subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall produce the following effects: 

(1) The children of the subsequent marriage conceived prior to its termination shall be considered legitimate; 

(2) The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as the case may be, shall be dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse contracted said marriage in bad faith, his or her share of the net profits of the community property or conjugal partnership property shall be forfeited in favor of the common children or, if there are none, the children of the guilty spouse by a previous marriage or in default of children, the innocent spouse; 

(3) Donations by reason of marriage shall remain valid, except that if the donee contracted the marriage in bad faith, such donations made to said donee are revoked by operation of law; 

(4) The innocent spouse may revoke the designation of the other spouse who acted in bad faith as beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable; and 

(5) The spouse who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith shall be disqualified to inherit from the innocent spouse by testate and intestate succession. (n)

Art. 44. If both spouses of the subsequent marriage acted in bad faith, said marriage shall be void ab initio and all donations by reason of marriage and testamentary dispositions made by one in favor of the other are revoked by operation of law. (n)

Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage: 

(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;

(2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife; 

(3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife; 

(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife; 

(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or 

(6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable. (85a)

Art. 46. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in Number 3 of the preceding Article: 

(1) Non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(2) Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband; 

(3) Concealment of sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the time of the marriage; or 

(4) Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage.

No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage. (86a)

Art. 47. The action for annulment of marriage must be filed by the following persons and within the periods indicated herein: 

(1) For causes mentioned in number 1 of Article 45 by the party whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of twenty-one, or by the parent or guardian or person having legal charge of the minor, at any time before such party has reached the age of twenty-one; 

(2) For causes mentioned in number 2 of Article 45, by the same spouse, who had no knowledge of the other’s insanity; or by any relative or guardian or person having legal charge of the insane, at any time before the death of either party, or by the insane spouse during a lucid interval or after regaining sanity; 

(3) For causes mentioned in number 3 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years after the discovery of the fraud; 

(4) For causes mentioned in number 4 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years from the time the force, intimidation or undue influence disappeared or ceased; 

(5) For causes mentioned in number 5 and 6 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years after the marriage. (87a)

Art. 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. 

In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, no judgment shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of judgment. (88a)

Art. 49. During the pendency of the action and in the absence of adequate provisions in a written agreement between the spouses, the Court shall provide for the support of the spouses and the custody and support of their common children. The Court shall give paramount consideration to the moral and material welfare of said children and their choice of the parent with whom they wish to remain as provided to in Title IX. It shall also provide for appropriate visitation rights of the other parent. (n)

Art. 50. The effects provided for by paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and (5) of Article 43 and by Article 44 shall also apply in the proper cases to marriages which are declared ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45. 

The final judgment in such cases shall provide for the liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the common children, and the delivery of third presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings. 

All creditors of the spouses as well as of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership shall be notified of the proceedings for liquidation. 

In the partition, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is situated, shall be adjudicated in accordance with the provisions of Articles 102 and 129. 

Art. 51. In said partition, the value of the presumptive legitimes of all common children, computed as of the date of the final judgment of the trial court, shall be delivered in cash, property or sound securities, unless the parties, by mutual agreement judicially approved, had already provided for such matters. 

The children or their guardian or the trustee of their property may ask for the enforcement of the judgment. 

The delivery of the presumptive legitimes herein prescribed shall in no way prejudice the ultimate successional rights of the children accruing upon the death of either of both of the parents; but the value of the properties already received under the decree of annulment or absolute nullity shall be considered as advances on their legitime. (n)

Art. 52. The judgment of annulment or of absolute nullity of the marriage, the partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses and the delivery of the children’s presumptive legitimes shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry and registries of property; otherwise, the same shall not affect third persons. (n)

Art. 53. Either of the former spouses may marry again after compliance with the requirements of the immediately preceding Article; otherwise, the subsequent marriage shall be null and void.

Art. 54. Children conceived or born before the judgment of annulment or absolute nullity of the marriage under Article 36 has become final and executory shall be considered legitimate. Children conceived or born of the subsequent marriage under Article 53 shall likewise be legitimate. 

Legal Separation

TITLE II: LEGAL SEPARATION
Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds: 

(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 respondent; 

(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.

For purposes of this Article, the term “child” shall include a child by nature or by adoption. (9a)

Art. 56. The petition for legal separation shall be denied on any of the following grounds: 

(1) Where the aggrieved party has condoned the offense or act complained of; 

(2) Where the aggrieved party has consented to the commission of the offense or act complained of; 

(3) Where there is connivance between the parties in the commission of the offense or act constituting the ground for legal separation; 

(4) Where both parties have given ground for legal separation; 

(5) Where there is collusion between the parties to obtain decree of legal separation; or 

(6) Where the action is barred by prescription. (100a)

Art. 57. An action for legal separation shall be filed within five years from the time of the occurrence of the cause. (102)

Art. 58. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition. (103)

Art. 59. No legal separation may be decreed unless the Court has taken steps toward the reconciliation of the spouses and is fully satisfied, despite such efforts, that reconciliation is highly improbable. (n)

Art. 60. No decree of legal separation shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or a confession of judgment. 

In any case, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. (101a)

Art. 61. After the filing of the petition for legal separation, the spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other. 

The court, in the absence of a written agreement between the spouses, shall designate either of them or a third person to administer the absolute community or conjugal partnership property. The administrator appointed by the court shall have the same powers and duties as those of a guardian under the Rules of Court. (104a)

Art. 62. During the pendency of the action for legal separation, the provisions of Article 49 shall likewise apply to the support of the spouses and the custody and support of the common children. (105a)

Art. 63. The decree of legal separation shall have the following effects: 

(1) The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other, but the marriage bonds shall not be severed; 

(2) The absolute community or the conjugal partnership shall be dissolved and liquidated but the offending spouse shall have no right to any share of the net profits earned by the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, which shall be forfeited in accordance with the provisions of Article 43(2); 

(3) The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse, subject to the provisions of Article 213 of this Code; and 

(4) The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in the will of the innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law. (106a)

Art. 64. After the finality of the decree of legal separation, the innocent spouse may revoke the donations made by him or by her in favor of the offending spouse, as well as the designation of the latter as beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable. The revocation of the donations shall be recorded in the registries of property in the places where the properties are located. Alienations, liens and encumbrances registered in good faith before the recording of the complaint for revocation in the registries of property shall be respected. The revocation of or change in the designation of the insurance beneficiary shall take effect upon written notification thereof to the insured. 

The action to revoke the donation under this Article must be brought within five years from the time the decree of legal separation become final. (107a)

Art. 65. If the spouses should reconcile, a corresponding joint manifestation under oath duly signed by them shall be filed with the court in the same proceeding for legal separation. (n)

Art. 66. The reconciliation referred to in the preceding Articles shall have the following consequences: 

(1) The legal separation proceedings, if still pending, shall thereby be terminated at whatever stage; and 

(2) The final decree of legal separation shall be set aside, but the separation of property and any forfeiture of the share of the guilty spouse already effected shall subsist, unless the spouses agree to revive their former property regime.

The court’s order containing the foregoing shall be recorded in the proper civil registries. (108a)

Art. 67. The agreement to revive the former property regime referred to in the preceding Article shall be executed under oath and shall specify: 

(1) The properties to be contributed anew to the restored regime; 

(2) Those to be retained as separated properties of each spouse; and 

(3) The names of all their known creditors, their addresses and the amounts owing to each.

The agreement of revival and the motion for its approval shall be filed with the court in the same proceeding for legal separation, with copies of both furnished to the creditors named therein. After due hearing, the court shall, in its order, take measure to protect the interest of creditors and such order shall be recorded in the proper registries of properties. 

The recording of the ordering in the registries of property shall not prejudice any creditor not listed or not notified, unless the debtor-spouse has sufficient separate properties to satisfy the creditor’s claim. (195a, 108a) 

DISCUSSION

            The introduction of a divorce bill in congress would spark questions as to why would a person pick divorce over annulment, over legal separation or vice versa?

The key difference between legal separation and divorce is that when you are separated, you are still legally married to your spouse even though you are living apart. If you later decide to get divorced, you’ll have to go through the legal steps necessary to terminate your marriage.

Why would people consider a legal separation over a divorce? There are several reasons why people would legally separate. This would include: the opposition on divorce because of religious beliefs, the Philippines being the bastion of Christianity in Asia, a lot of religious sect condemn the idea of divorce; Tax benefits, married people pay lower tax as compared to single individuals; A chance to reconcile, maybe the marital spat isn’t permanent, maybe it was just a huge misunderstanding and each spouse just needed to chill out.

While the difference of divorce and annulment is that a divorce recognizes and ends a legally valid marriage. Meanwhile, an annulment once granted treats the marriage as if it never existed because the court found that it was invalid in the first place. However the court grants annulment to a couple when it finds that the marriage is invalid from the very beginning. They do have the same end result: the dissolution of the marriage. Both parties are single and may enter into a domestic partnership with another person.

An annulment means that the marriage never occurred. Thus, issues such as child custody and support are not included in annulment proceedings. The law’s view that the marriage never occurred after an annulment is granted may impact child custody and support proceedings. Similarly, property division is not an issue in an annulment. But the fact that the marriage never occurred in the eyes of the law can impact how property is divided during other legal proceedings. And the worst case, some couples don’t even qualify for an annulment.

            Technically, divorce is already granted in the Philippines, provided that your spouse is a foreigner, and he or she went back to their home country and acquired a divorce decree (Republic vs Obrecido G.R. No. 154380) or in the case where the Filipino would go to their spouse’s homeland and acquire a divorce decree there, it would be honored here in the Philippines (Republic vs Manalo, G.R. No. 221029). Even Muslim citizens in the Philippines can acquire divorce through the rulings of the Sariah Courts (Code of Muslim Personal Laws). , the case of Mendez vs Shari’a District Court where the Supreme Court upheld the validity of divorce granted by the Muslim court  under the grounds of irreconcilable religious beliefs because the wife was a convert to Islam, formerly a Catholic, for the purpose of their marriage (Mendez vs Shari’a District Court G.R. No. 201614)

            Imagine how absurd it would be if you’d have to marry a foreigner or convert to Islam just to have the remedy of divorce as an option to end the marriage. Do normal Filipino really have to go through this arduous process, or are they just held back by the cultural and religious beliefs?

            In this section of the study, the researchers will scrutinize and compare the provisions of the divorce bill with the provisions of the Family Code regarding annulment and legal separation. The researchers will try to see which of the three laws and their provisions would be better applied as a remedy in certain cases with regard to each circumstances present in the facts of the case.

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE, ANNULMENT, AND LEGAL SEPARATION
House Bill 7303 Absolute DivorceFamily Code – AnnulmentFamily Code – Title II Legal Separation
Sec. 5. Grounds for Absolute Divorce – The following are the grounds for a judicial decree of absolute divorce:   a)         The grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, modified or amended, as follows:   1)         Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;   5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling of the respondent;   6)         Homosexuality of the respondent;   8)         Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when upon the mutual agreement of the spouses, a child is born to them by in vitro or a similar procedure or when the when the wife bears a child after being a victim of rape;   b. Grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Provided, That the grounds mentioned in number 2, 5, and 6 existed at the time of the marriage or supervening after the marriage.   c. When the spouses have been separated in fact for at least five (5) years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed, and reconciliation is highly improbable.   d. Psychological incapacity of either spouses as provided for in Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of the celebration of the marriage or later.   e. When one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another, the other spouse is entitled to petition for absolute divorce with the transgender or transsexual as respondent or vice versa.   f. Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts which have resulted in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair, despite earnest and repeated effort at reconciliation, shall entitle either spouse or both spouse to petition for absolute divorce.Art. 36 A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. (As amended by Executive Order 227)   Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:   (1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;   (2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   (3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   (4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   (5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or   (6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable. (85a)  Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:   (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 respondent;   (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.

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Grounds

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE, ANNULMENT, AND LEGAL SEPARATION
House Bill 7303 Absolute DivorceFamily Code – AnnulmentFamily Code – Title II Legal Separation
Sec. 5. Grounds for Absolute Divorce – The following are the grounds for a judicial decree of absolute divorce:   a)         The grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, modified or amended, as follows:   1)         Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;   5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling of the respondent;   6)         Homosexuality of the respondent;   8)         Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when upon the mutual agreement of the spouses, a child is born to them by in vitro or a similar procedure or when the when the wife bears a child after being a victim of rape;   b. Grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Provided, That the grounds mentioned in number 2, 5, and 6 existed at the time of the marriage or supervening after the marriage.   c. When the spouses have been separated in fact for at least five (5) years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed, and reconciliation is highly improbable.   d. Psychological incapacity of either spouses as provided for in Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of the celebration of the marriage or later.   e. When one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another, the other spouse is entitled to petition for absolute divorce with the transgender or transsexual as respondent or vice versa.   f. Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts which have resulted in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair, despite earnest and repeated effort at reconciliation, shall entitle either spouse or both spouse to petition for absolute divorce.Art. 36 A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. (As amended by Executive Order 227)   Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:   (1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;   (2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   (3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   (4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   (5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or   (6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable. (85a)  Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:   (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 respondent;   (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.

House Bill No. 7303 takes the grounds for: legal separation and improves upon them; annulment reiterating them and, converts them to possible grounds for obtaining absolute divorce.

The notable modifications House Bill No. 7303 to the grounds of legal separation are:  The removal of the adjective, “repeated”, which denotes to the frequency of the physical violence inflicted on the aggrieved spouse, a common child of the parties, or the child of the aggrieved spouse (par. 5 of Sec. 1 (a) of HB#7303). In the case of Dabalos vs RTC where petitioner performed an act of violence to the respondent after their relationship has ceased,the court decreed that a single act of violence would constitute the imposition of the penalties under the VAWC Law (Dabolos vs RTC G.R. No. 193960). It is apparent that the lawmakers have taken into account the records and statistics that have been made as the foundation of legislations particularly of the VAWC Law. The removal of the adjective “repeated” could be seen as cohesive change to the current provisions, aligning the proposed statute to current jurisprudence by way of cementing it.

The addition of chronic gambling to activities that are harmfully addictive and can jeopardize the welfare of the family, mentally, morally, and financially (par. 5 of Sec. 1 (a) of HB#7303) is an acknowledgement of the lawmakers that this is only currently a ground in psychological incapacity. In the case of Republic vs Molina where respondent husband “squandered” his money with his friends and was not honest with his wife with regard to the state of their finances, the court rendered judgment of nullity of marriage on the ground that the husband was psychologically incapacitated (Republic vs Molina G.R. No. 108763). Chronic gambling could lead to consequences like the depletion of the family fund, the neglect of the obligations to the family by the addicted spouse, however this is not a ground in legal separation, leaving the innocent spouse irremediable if they fall off the requirements of annulment.

The removal of lesbianism (par. 6 of Sec. 5 (a) of HB#7303). This is probably a change lodged on style, because the original inclusion of homosexuality already encompassed both male and female, therefore lesbianism would be redundant. It might also be because of the growing trend of acceptance and recognition of the LGBTQ community. Currently if one has a homosexual spouse, they can avail of the grounds under legal separation, but if they don’t want the consequences of it, they could try for annulment however, in the case of Almelor vs RTC, where the petitioner husband was caught by his wife being affectionate with his male companions to the point that she saw him kiss another man, the court declared that their marriage could not be annulled under the grounds of fraud where petitioner Almelor used fraud to vitiate his wife’s consent to the marriage, thus dismissing the case (Almelor vs RTC G.R. No. 179620). The provision of the divorce bill gives remedy to the innocent spouse, like in the above case when the homosexuality was not a vice of consent in the marriage.

The change in describing the type of infidelity, from “sexual” to “marital” (par. 8 of Sec. 5 (a) of HB#7303), the latter being more expansive in scope; the adoption of one of the means that constitute fraud which can be found in the grounds for annulment, Art. 45 (3), and expanding on it. The case of Garcia vs Drilon where the petitioner husband Garcia boastfully claimed that he was having an affair with a family friend would constitute marital infidelity, the wife however did not file any petition for legal separation, but the physical abuse that petitioner Garcia did to his wife and children are grounds enough that divorce would be a proper remedy sought by the injured spouse (Garcia vs Drilon G.R. No. 179267)

The provision now recognizes as a ground for divorce, the concealment of: a previous child of one of the spouses; that child born by in vitro fertilization or a similar procedure; a child being bore by the mother because of rape, without the mutual agreement of both spouses (par. 8 of Sec. 5 (a) of HB#7303). In the case Antonio vs Reyes, the innocent spouse was granted the petition for nullity under the ground of psychological capacity because of the excessive misrepresentation of the guilty spouse of herself, where there was additional information that she concealed her previous child as an adopted child of their family (Antonio vs Reyes G.R. No. 155800). The auxiliary information of the concealment of the child would not have been a valid ground alone for the nullity of the marriage under psychological incapacity if not for the excessive misrepresentation of the spouse. The bill now improves upon the current remedies by making it a possible ground if the parties fail to meet the requisites of annulment.

Furthermore in the current law, mere pregnancy alone at the time of the marriage is not sufficient to successfully annul a marriage on the ground of fraud, there must be concealment of such pregnancy (Sta. Maria, 2015). The provision in the bill says that, there must be an agreement between the spouses when it comes to a child being born to solely either of them (par. 8 of Sec. 5 (a) of HB#7303).

The reiteration of the grounds for annulment, grounds for absolute divorce (Sec. 5 (b) of HB#7303).means that the said grounds have been adopted to also be considered as grounds for the granting of absolute divorce, however as previously above stated, it modifies the said ground on what constitutes fraud, grounds for absolute divorce (par. 8 of Sec. 5 (a) of HB#7303), and expands upon it.

The addition of the “provided” clause at the end of ground (b) (Sec. 5 (b) of HB#7303) seeks to clarify, that grounds 2, 5, and 6 can only be availed of only if that said ground existed before the marriage or is supervening after the marriage. As compared to the current provision which was silent but is controlled by the jurisprudence regarding the matter (Art. 45 of the Family Code), the case of Santos vs CA where the guilty spouse’s psychological incapacity was not determined to be existent before the marriage, the court dismissed the petition for annulment (Leouel Santos vs. CA 204 SCRA 20).

House Bill #7303 furthermore introduces four (4) additional grounds (Sec. 5 (c), (d), (e), and (f) of HB#7303), aside from the modifications of the provisions on annulment (par. 8 Sec. 5 (a), and the provisions of legal separation, (par. 1, 5, and 6 of sec. 5 (a) of HB#7303), to obtain absolute divorce.

Spouses who failed to take judicial action for proper legal separation can instantly file for divorce provided they have been separated in fact for five (5) years (Sec. 5 (c) of HB#7303).

This provision is for couples who cannot avail of the grounds for the annulment of marriage and also are not in agreement of the legal consequences that would follow in the granting of a legal separation proceeding and thus did not have the initiative to take any legal action.

The psychological incapacity of either of the spouses as provided for in Art. 36 of the Family Code, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of the marriage or later (Sec. 5 (d) of HB#7303).

This improves upon the current provision of the Civil Code on psychological incapacity (Art. 36 of the Family Code). In the case of Tuason vs CA, the court said that it was suffice to state that the finding of the trial court as to the existence or nonexistence of petitioner’s psychological incapacity at the time of the marriage is final and binding on us. (Tuason vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 116607).

The original provision states that a marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of the marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. (n) (As amended by EO 227 dated July 17, 1987) (Art.36 of the Family Code).

The current provision on psychological incapacity (Art.36 of the Family Code), to be a ground for the annulment of the marriage, such incapacity must be present at the time of the celebration of the marriage (Sta. Maria, 2015). Even if it does manifest after the solemnization of the marriage, it still must be proved that such incapacity was present at the time of the celebration.

This is more in line with other provisions defining void or nulling marriages, that for a marriage to be considered void, such ground must be present at the time of the celebration of the marriage (Caguioa, 1986).

The provision introduced by House Bill #7303 does not limit the ground of psychological incapacity to only be present during the time of celebration of the marriage. It recognizes that the psychological incapacity in any of the spouses can occur even after the solemnization of such marriage (Caguioa, 1986).

This is a substantial improvement on the current provision on psychological incapacity and may be availed of by couples who fell short on the requirement that psychological incapacity should be present at the time that the marriage was celebrated. The new provision is not bound by the mechanics of a void marriage since the marriage itself isn’t aimed to be nullified but instead to be ceased (Sec. 5 (d) of HB#7303). Such example can be found in the case of Hernandez vs. Court of Appeals  where petitioner failed to establish the fact that at the time they were married, private respondent was suffering from a psychological defect which in fact deprived him of the ability to assume the essential duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities; It was not sufficiently proved that private respondent was really incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological nature, and not merely physical. (Hernandez vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 126010)

The introduction of this provision (Sec. 5 (e) of HB#7303) as a ground for absolute divorce is probably due to the rise of LGBTQ movements, where the world is now more accepting to the members of LGBTQ community as compared to before where it was seen as a social stigma and the members of such community was forced into hiding, in terms of their sexual preferences or identities. The resulting effect is a mass coming out of the closets, to the extent that these closeted individuals would avail of procedures such as gender reassignment.

This ground is kind of an amalgamation of two grounds found in legal separation and annulment in the family code, namely: The incapability of consummating the marriage, being incurable (Art.45 (5) of the Family Code); the homosexuality of the respondent (Art. 55 (6) of the Family Code), and improves upon said provisions.

Currently one cannot file for legal separation if one of the spouses might undergo gender reassignment surgery but not engage in acts of infidelity, for only homosexuality is an available ground (Art. 55 (6) of the Family Code). Transsexuality is not the same as homosexuality and is not a ground for legal separation. Homosexuality is the attraction to one’s own gender, transsexuality is the jump from one’s original gender to the opposite gender. Therefore a person may end up with a transsexual spouse who does not commit sexual infidelity. Only then when the transsexual spouse engages in sexual relations with another person can there be a ground for legal separation (Art. 55 (8) of the Family Code).

The ground also adds upon the provision on incapability of consummating the marriage, in the Case of Chi Ming Choi, where the respondent husband prolonged the consummation of his marriage, in fact never being able to consummate the said marriage, said prolonging was a valid ground for legal separation. Furthermore, it was proved that the inability to consummate was a psychological incapacity which was a ground for an annulment of the marriage. (Chi Ming Choi vs Ca. 266 SCRA 324). What more a transsexual? In the case Alcazar vs Alcazar the Court stated that non-consummation of a marriage may be cause by a physical or structural defect (change) in the anatomy of one of the parties (Alcazar vs Alcazar Gr. 174451). The gender reassignment process would invalidate any possible consummation of the marriage.

It is also to note that the occurrence of homosexuality after the marriage will not be within the purview of the grounds for annulment, the case of Dede vs Court of the Appeals, Supreme Court stated that If drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the marriage, they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. These provisions, however, do not necessarily preclude the possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending on the degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity (Dedel vs CA G.R. No. 151867). Therefore this could be seen as a substantial improvement to the remedies provided to the spouses of homosexuals, because they will be granted the right to remarry again under this bill if they fall short-off the requirements of psychological incapacity in annulment.

Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts which have resulted in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair, despite earnest and repeated effort at reconciliation is now considered a ground (Sec. 5 (f) of HB#7303). This is an original ground for the attainment of absolute divorce, it is not based on any current grounds available for legal separation and annulment.

The introduction of this ground is a remedy for couples who cannot avail of the grounds under either legal separation (Art. 55 of the Family Code) or annulment (Art. 45 of the Family Code), but whose relationship is in an irreparable state despite taking actions to repair it.

Currently, irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts cannot be considered as sufficient grounds to merit either legal separation or annulment. Usually it is only an auxiliary along with the exclusive grounds. It is clear from the evidence of the respondent that mere refusal or neglect in the performance of the marital obligations do not amount to psychological incapacity. Irreconcilable difference and conflicting personalities in no wise constitute psychological incapacity. The trial court was evidently convinced that irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities are enough to constitute psychological incapacity and ordered the petitioner to disprove. The case should been dismissed outright and there was no necessity of elevating the case to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court (VOL. 392, NOVEMBER 26, 2002 page 661 Incompatibility or Conflicting Personalities Between Spouses Not Sufficient to Declare the Nullity of Marriage on Ground of Psychological Incapacity).

Important Details on the Procedure for Obtaining Absolute Divorce

             Sec. 6. Procedure for Obtaining Absolute Divorce (a) The established and recognized procedures for securing legal separation, annulment of marriage and voiding of a marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines, as far as practicable, shall govern the process of obtaining a judicial decree of absolute divorce from the proper family court which shall be commenced by the petitioners or joint petitioners filing a verified petition for absolute divorce.

The act adopts the current procedures laid out in the Family Code of the Philippines on the attainment of legal separation (Art. 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, and 65 of the Family Code) and annulment of marriage (Art. 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, and 54 of the Family Code).

Defenses and Limitations

DEFENSES AND LIMITATIONS
House Bill 7303 Absolute DivorceFamily Code – AnnulmentFamily Code – Title II Legal Separation
Sec. 6 (b) The factors and ground which militate against the grant of legal separation and the annulment and nullification of marriages as provided for in the Family Code of the Philippines shall likewise be assessed, based on competent and credible proof, against the grant of absolute divorce.     Sec. 6 (d) A joint petition filed by both spouses with common children should be accompanied by a joint plan for parenthood which provides for the support, parental authority custody and living arrangements of the common children.   If the court determines that the joint plan for parenthood is adequate to protect the rights and interests of the common children, the court shall approve the joint plan for parenthood together with the grant of a divorce decree if warranted.   The court shall ensure the enforcement of the joint plan for parenthood and may require the spouses to submit periodic reports on its implementation subject to the validation of the courts social worker or by the local social welfare officer.   Sec. 6 (f) No decree of absolute divorce shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or a confession of judgment.   Sec. 6(g) The Office of the Public Prosecutor in provinces, cities, and capital towns is authorized and obliged to conduct investigations to find out whether or not there is collusion between the spouses in a petition for absolute divorce and shall report its findings to the proper court within six (6) months from the filing of the petition.Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:   (3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;   Art. 46. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in Number 3 of the preceding Article: (1) Non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude; (2) Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband; (3) Concealment of sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the time of the marriage; or (4) Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage. No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage. (86a)   Art. 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.   In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, no judgment shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of judgment. (88a)Art. 56 of the Family Code: The petition for legal separation shall be denied on any of the following grounds: (1) Where the aggrieved party has condoned the offense or act complained of; (2) Where the aggrieved party has consented to the commission of the offense or act complained of; (3) Where there is connivance between the parties in the commission of the offense or act constituting the ground for legal separation; (4) Where both parties have given ground for legal separation; (5) Where there is collusion between the parties to obtain decree of legal separation; or (6) Where the action is barred by prescription. (100a)   Art. 57. An action for legal separation shall be filed within five years from the time of the occurrence of the cause. (102)   Art. 59. No legal separation may be decreed unless the Court has taken steps toward the reconciliation of the spouses and is fully satisfied, despite such efforts, that reconciliation is highly improbable. (n)   Art. 60. No decree of legal separation shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or a confession of judgment. In any case, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. (101a)

The bill adopts the current defenses and limitations against a grant of annulment and legal separation and makes it possible to use them against a grant of absolute divorce (Sec. 6 (b) HB#7303).

The limitations in the defenses against the grant of annulments are:

            The defense of fraud to obtain the consent in the marriage (Art 45. (3) of the Family Code). Furthermore, the code states what acts would constitute fraud (Art. 46 of the Family Code).

            The court will order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties, and no judgment shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of judgments (Art. 48 and 60 of the Family Code).

            The bill adopts these current provisions and expressly state, that within the six (6) month period of the cooling-off, the Office of the Public Prosecutor shall submit their findings to the court (Sec. 6 (g) of House Bill #7303). The court in the case of Republic vs. Iyoy states the role of the prosecuting attorney or the fiscal, that their office must always be present in annulment and legal separation cases, even the Solicitor General can intervene, because the issue primarily deals with the validity of the marriage or the separation of one, because the family is considered to be vested with public interest. (Republic vs. Iyoy, GR. No. 152577).

            The provision reiterates the last paragraph of Art. 48 stating that no grant of absolute divorce shall be based on the stipulation of facts and a confession of judgment (Sec. 6 (f) of HB#7303). The case of Cardenas vs Cardenas, the Court said that no annulment or legal separation decree cannot be issued by them on the sole basis of a stipulation of facts, or a confession of judgment (Cardenas vs Cardenas 98 Phil. 73). However, a confession of judgment accompanied by evidence of the guilty spouse’s illicit relations with another is sufficient to merit a decree (Ocampo vs Florenciano G.R. No. L-13553).

The defenses against the grant of legal separation are:

            Condonation of the act, done by the innocent spouse, condonation being the forgiveness of a marital offense constituting a ground for legal separation, the case of Bugayong vs Ginez, the Court deemed a single instance of voluntary marital intercourse between the spouses would constitute to a condonation of the offenses of the guilty spouse (Bugayong vs Ginez G.R. No. L-10033). The giving of consent to the act, by the innocent spouse such as in the act . When there is connivance in the commission of the act constituting the ground for a grant of legal separation. When both parties have given ground for legal separation, both being at fault such us in the case of Brown vs Yambao where the petitioner was found to also maintain extra-marital relations pending judgment of legal separation for his petition, the trial court denied his petition (Brown vs Yambao G.R. No-10699). When the parties collude in order to be granted a legal separation decree. When the action is barred by prescription (Art. 56 (1),(2),(3),(4),(5), and (6) of the Family Code).

            Prescription on the action being five (5) years from the time of the occurrence or cognizance of the information of the occurrence (Art. 57 of the Family Code).

            House Bill #7303 impliedly adopts the prescription of legal separation, which is five (5) years (Sec. 6 (b) HB#7303). This is because of the fact that acting beyond the five (5) year period granted by law means to consent on the action done by the guilty spouse. The law assumes that the spouses have reconciled absent the filing of any petition on either grounds of divorce or separation, in the case of People vs Sensano where the husband did nothing to assert his right as a spouse and went abroad for seven years, the court declared that he consented to the illicit relationship and was barred from attaining a legal separation decree (People vs Sensano  G.R. No. L-37720).. If the aggrieved parties in cases of annulment and or legal separation do not bring the suit within five (5) years after the marriage ceremony, they are forever barred by prescription (Sta. Maria, 2015).

            No granting of a decree of legal separation unless the courts have done everything to reconcile the parties (Art. 59 of the Family Code).

The defenses against the grant of an absolute divorce decree in House Bill #7303 are:

            A joint petition may be filed by the spouses, or any of them, and said petition should be accompanied by a joint plan for parenthood which provides for child support and custody (par. 2 of Sec. 6 (d) of HB#7303). The court will then determine the adequacy of the plan (par. 3 of Sec. 6 (d) of HB#7303), and shall ensure its enforcement for the welfare of the children (par. 4 of Sec. 6 (d) of HB#7303). If the court does not find it sufficient enough, there will be no granting of divorce.

            This provision is in line with the constitutional mandate that the state shall take advances in the protection of the family, specifically: The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development (Art.15 (1) of the Constitution); The State shall defend the right of the children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development (Art.15 (3) of the Constitution). Our Constitution is committed to the policy of strengthening the family as a basic social institution. Our family law is based on the policy that marriage is not a mere contract, but a social institution in which the state is vitally interested. The state can find no stronger anchor than on good, solid and happy families. The break-up of families weakens our social and moral fabric and, hence, their preservation is not the concern alone of the family members (Tuason vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 116607).

            The state recognizes that children in annulled and void marriages, and legal separated ones are granted limited protection by the law in terms of the child’s welfare and upbringing. The parents could even sometimes neglect these limited rights granted by law. Thus, this legislation aims to correct that gap left in the current provisions by providing a plan for the upbringing of this children. Penalties are also imposed to those parents who neglect the said plan, therefore the plans are to be performed as they were intended because of judicial mandate. 

Who may file?

WHO MAY FILE THE PETITION?
House Bill 7303 Absolute DivorceFamily Code – AnnulmentFamily Code – Title II Legal Separation
Sec. 6 (d) A petition for absolute divorce may be filed jointly by the spouses on the ground of de facto separation for five (5) years, legally separated by judicial declaration for at least two (2) years, or irreconcilable differences or other ground for absolute divorce provided for in this Act.  Art. 47. The action for annulment of marriage must be filed by the following persons and within the periods indicated herein:   (1) For causes mentioned in number 1 of Article 45 by the party whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of twenty-one, or by the parent or guardian or person having legal charge of the minor, at any time before such party has reached the age of twenty-one;   (2) For causes mentioned in number 2 of Article 45, by the same spouse, who had no knowledge of the other’s insanity; or by any relative or guardian or person having legal charge of the insane, at any time before the death of either party, or by the insane spouse during a lucid interval or after regaining sanity;   (3) For causes mentioned in number 3 of Articles 45, by the injured party, within five years after the discovery of the fraud;   (4) For causes mentioned in number 4 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years from the time the force, intimidation or undue influence disappeared or ceased;   (5) For causes mentioned in number 5 and 6 of Article 45, by the injured party, within five years after the marriage. (87a)Sec. 2. Petition. – (a) Who may and when to file. – (1) A petition for legal separation may be filed only by the husband or the wife, as the case may be within five years from the time of the occurrence of any of the grounds in Art. 55 of the Family Code. A. M. NO. 02-11-11-SC [MARCH 15, 2003].

            A petition for absolute divorce may be filed jointly by the spouses (Sec. 6 (d) of HB#7303). The inclusion of the word jointly indicates that both spouses may agree on the dissolution of their marriage which would permit them a summary proceeding (Sec.8 (f) HB#7303). However one spouse can still file a petition for absolute divorce under the said grounds available. The courts will however need both of the spouses, if joint, or any of them to present a plan on the upbringing of their common children.  

Under the mode of annulment, those who can file are only limited, namely:

            The parents or guardian of the party who was over eighteen (18) below twenty-one (21) whose consent was not sought before the party reaches twenty-one (21) or the spouse within five (5) years upon reach the age of twenty-one (21) (Art. 47 (1) of the Family Code).

            The spouse who had no knowledge of the insanity, or any relative or guardian of the insane spouse before the death of either party, or the insane spouse during a lucid interval or after regaining sanity (Art. 47 (2) of the Family Code).

            The injured party of the fraud within five (5) years after the discovery of the fraud (Art. 47 (3) of the Family Code)

            The injured party upon the cessation of the force, intimidation within five (5) years (Art. 47 (4) of the Family Code).

            The injured party within five (5) years after the marriage (Art. 47 (5) of the Family Code).

            Under the mode of legal separation, only the injured spouse can file the case within five years from the time of the occurrence of any of the grounds in Art. 55 (Sec. (2) of A. M. NO. 02-11-11-SC)

            Currently the list for who can file for a petition for an annulment is exclusive and is limited, making the grant of annulment harder to be obtained by other spouses who cannot satisfy the requirements.

            The only other option left for them would be to avail for legal separation, but legal separation is only the separation of bed and board and not the dissolution of the marital bond. Either of the spouses will not be allowed to remarry again in the case of legal separation, unlike in annulment where the marriage was invalid from the start and it was as if they were not married in the first place.

Cooling-Off Period

COOLING-OFF PERIOD AFTER FILING
House Bill 7303 Absolute DivorceFamily Code – AnnulmentFamily Code – Title II Legal Separation
Sec. 9. Mandatory six-month cooling-off period. – Except for grounds under summary judicial proceedings, the proper court shall not start the trial of a petition for absolute divorce before the expiration of a six-month cooling-off period after the filing of the petition during which the court shall exercise all efforts to reunite and reconcile the parties.             The requirement of a cooling off period shall not apply in cases which involve acts of violence against women and their children under Republic Act No. 9262 otherwise known as the “Anti-violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” or attempt against the life of the other spouse or a common child or a child of the petitioner.No cooling-off period because there is no marriage to cool off, the marriage being void ab initio.Art. 58. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition. (103)

            The filing for a petition for absolute divorce also adopts the current six-month cooling-off period found in legal separation. It is conceded that the period of six months fixed therein is evidently intended as a cooling off period to make possible a reconciliation between the spouses. The recital of their grievances against each other in court may only fan their already inflamed passions against one another, and the lawmaker has imposed the period to give them opportunity for dispassionate reflection (Araneta vs Concepcion G.R. No. L-17806 ) but gives an exception when the case involves acts of violence found in VAWC or when the petitioner, child of petitioner, or common child’s life is on the line (Sec. 9 of HB#7303). Current jurisprudence gives exception to the cooling-off period where the guilty spouse abuses his administrator powers in the case of De la Vina vs Villareal where the Supreme Court said that as long as this harmonious relation, as contemplated by law, continues, the wife cannot and should not interfere with the husband in his judicious administration of the conjugal property. But when that relation ceases and, in a proper action, the wife seeks to dissolve the marriage and to partition the conjugal property, it is but just and proper, in order to protect the interests of the wife, that the husband’s power of administration be curtailed, during the pendency of the action, insofar as alienating or encumbering the conjugal property is concerned (De la Vina vs Villareal, 41 Phil 13). The law, however, remains cognizant of the need in certain cases for judicial power to assert itself is discernible from what is set forth in the following article. It reads thus: “After the filing of the petition for legal separation, the spouse shall be entitled to live separately from each other and manage their respective property the court declared in Samosa vs Vamenta (Samosa vs. Vamenta G.R. No. L-34132).

Effect of the Decree

(Table)

            Probably the most important effect of a grant of absolute divorce is the severance of the marital ties between the former spouses allowing them to marry once more. (HB#7303 Sec.10 (a)). Although this effect is present under the mode of annulment (Art. 53 Family Code) provided that the spouses comply with the requirements to remarry again (Art. 52 Family Code), the benefit of being able to remarry again is absent under the mode of legal separation, because such decree does not affect the marital status of the parties, the marital tie still existing (Laperal vs. Republic, 6 SCRA 357) and such decree does not dissolve the marriage, it involves nothing more than a bed and board separation of the spouses. (Lapuz vs. Eufemio, 43 SCRA 177).

            The custody of the minor children shall be decided by the court taking into account their best interests and welfare, and considering the provision of Art. 213 of the Family Code that no child under seven (7) shall be separated from the mother unless the court finds compelling reasons otherwise (HB#7303 Sec.10 (b), this provision is the same with the custody clause found under annulment (Art. 49 Family Code) and that found under legal separation (Art. 63 (2) of the Family Code). In the case of Silva vs Court of Appeals, the Court stated that there is no doubt that in all cases involving a child, his interest and welfare is always the paramount consideration. The Court shares the view of the Solicitor General, who has recommended due course to the petition, that a few hours spent by petitioner with the children, however, could not all be that detrimental to the children (Silva vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 114742).

            The dissolution of the property regime of the spouses resulting to the conjugal assets being equally divided between them, with the exclusion of paraphernal or exclusive properties (HB#7303 Sec. 10 (c)). In annulment however, if either spouse contracted the marriage in bad faith, his or her share of the net profits of the community property shall be forfeited in favor of their common children, in their absence, the children of the guilty spouse, and if non, the innocent spouse (Art. 43 (2) of the Family Code), and in legal separation, the offending spouse shall have no right to any share of the net profits, which shall be forfeited in the same procedure found in Art. 43 (2) (Art 63 (2) of the Family Code) in the case of Banez vs Banez the Court decreed the dissolution of conjugal property and division of net conjugal assets forfeiture of Gabriel’s half share in the net assets in favor of the common children, payment of 100,000 as attorney’s fees and surrender the Mazda car and small residential house to petitioner and common children 15 days after the receipt of decision was also decreed by the RTC of Cebu (Bañez vs. Bañez 374 SCRA).

            Delivery of the presumptive legitime of the common children is recognized in the dissolution of the marriage shall be at the option of both spouses (Sec. 10 (c) HB#7303). This differs with the current provision on the delivery of presumptive legitime in annulment and legal separation where the presumptive legitime shall be delivered in cash, property or sound securities, unless the parties, by mutual agreement judicially approved, had already provided for such matters upon the dissolution of the property regime of the former spouses (Art. 51 of the Family Code). While its divorce counterpart, delivery of the presumptive legitime is at the option of the spouses.

            Upon the dissolution of the property regime, the spouses shall have equal shares in the assets, furthermore the petitioner spouse who is not gainfully employed shall be entitled to alimony which would last for one (1) year from the finality of the divorce decree, or until upon finding adequate employment subject to the discretion of the courts (Sec. 10 (d) and (e) HB#7303). The case of Garcia vs Drilon supra, petitioner husband upon the issuance of the TPO to him by respondent judge under the provisions of the VAWC law neglected the giving of support to his wife, who was originally dependent on him. (Garcia vs Drilon supra). The current form of support under the Family Code is only through pendent lite or support during the proceedings of annulment or legal separation (Art. 49 of the Family Code). Comparing the two, it is more beneficial for the innocent spouse if he or she used to be financially dependent on the guilty spouse, because under the provisions of divorce he or she is entitled to alimony.

            Under the modes of annulment and legal separation, the innocent spouse may revoke insurance benefits of the guilty spouse even if it be irrevocable (Art. 43 (4) and par. 1 of Art. 64 of the Family Code), the same method is adopted by the divorce bill however with the inclusion that the petitioner may revoke the donations made in favor of the respondent spouses within five (5) years after the finality of the divorce decree (Sec. 10 (f) of HB #7303).The provisions on revocation of donation is more relaxed under the divorce bill, not having the requirement that the marriage should be contracted in bad faith, otherwise the donations will remain valid (Art. 43 (3) (4) (5) and Art. 44 of the Family Code).

            Regarding the legal status of the children, under the divorce bill the legitimate and adopted children shall retain their status as legitimate and a child born within 300 days after the filing of the petition for absolute divorce shall be considered legitimate, unless the ground for divorce was the marital infidelity of the wife (Sec. 10 (h) HB #7303). Under annulment, the child is only legitimate if it was born before the judgment of annulment (Art. 54 of the Family Code).

Effects of Reconciliation

(Table)

            The effects of reconciliation under the divorce act adopts the current effects of reconciliation under the provisions of legal separation.

Original Provisions

ORIGINAL PROVISIONS INTRODUCED BY HOUSE BILL #7303
Sec. 7. Overseas Filipino Workers – Petitioners who are OFWs shall be given priority by the proper court with respect to the hearing of their petitions and the court shall set the reception of evidence, upon the availability of the petitioners, for not more than two (2) consecutive days.   Sec. 8. Summary Judicial Proceedings. – The following rounds for absolute divorce may be subject to summary judicial proceedings as defined in Sec. 4 (w):   a) When the spouses have been separated de facto for at least five (5) years.   b) When one of the spouses have contracted a bigamous marriage;   c) When the spouses have been legally separated by judicial decree for two (2) years or more;   d) When one of the spouses has been sentenced to imprisonment for six (6) years, even if subsequently pardoned;   e) When one of the spouses has undergone a sex reassignment surgery or has transitioned into another sex; and   f) When both spouses have filed a joint petition for the dissolution of their marriage before the proper Family Court based on any of the ground for in this Act.   Sec. 12. Penalty. – A spouse who is a party to a petition for absolute divorce who is found by the court to have used threats or coercion to compel the other spouse in filing the petition, and spouses guilty of collusion, shall be punished with imprisonment of five (5) years and a fine of Two hundred thousand pesos (Php 200,000.00).             Any parent in default of providing child support under this Act shall be imposed stiff fines and contempt of court.             Sec. 13. Options and Remedies. – The concerned spouse or spouses shall have the option to file a petition for absolute divorce under this Act or avail of legal separation, annulment or nullification of marriage as provided for in the Family Code of the Philippines.  

The bill gives extra protection to OFW spouses by granting them priorities in hearing (Sec. 7 of HB#7303). The law acknowledges that it is hard for injured OFW petitioners to present their side of the case because of the nature of their work and would not want to burden them. The case of Marilyn Manalo where she was allowed to testify in advance as she was scheduled to leave for Japan for her employment. (Manalo vs Republic G.R. No. 221029)

            The bill also permits summary proceedings under extraordinary circumstances namely:

(a)       Separation de facto for at least five (5) years.

(b)       Guilty spouse has contracted a bigamous marriage.

(c)       Separation de jure for at least two (2) years.

(d)       A spouse has been sentenced to imprisonment for six (6) years even if pardoned.

(e)       Reassignment surgery of a spouse.

(f)        A joint petition for divorce. (Sec. 8 of HB#7303).

The bill acknowledges the effects of legal separation and annulment on the welfare and upbringing of the common children (Sec. 12 of HB#7303). In the case of Socorro vs Wilsem where the respondent made a promise to provide monthly support to their son in the amount of Two Hundred Fifty (250) Guildene (which is equivalent to Php17,500.00 more or less). However, since the arrival of petitioner and her son in the Philippines, respondent never gave support to the son (Socorro vs Wilsem G.R. No. 193707). The lawmakers inserted a penal clause in this act so that the child will not be neglected support in his upbringing. It is not only by the parent’s hearts that they would comply to the giving of support but also by judicial mandate that they should comply or else they will suffer the penalty.

Also, spouses who force the other spouse to file for a joint petition, or both of them are found to be colluding with each other shall be punished with the penalty. This is a form of constitutional safeguard by the state in order to prevent spouses from groundlessly divorcing each other because they just want to, or they may have found another relationship with people. The state must and will always take precautions in the protection of the family.

The bill states that there are now three (3) options or remedies for the spouses, depending under what grounds are present in their circumstances or whatever beliefs they may have that can influence their decisions, they can now avail of any of the remedies: divorce, annulment, or legal separation (Sec. 13 of HB#7303).

CONCLUSION

            The provisions of the House Bill #7303 substantially improves on the available remedies to the injured spouses in marriages. It adopts the current grounds available in the Family Code and widens the coverage and scope, further strengthening it so that more innocent spouses can avail of such remedy (Sec.5 (a) and (b) of HB#7303). The fact that it acknowledges as a ground, the separation in fact for 5 years, giving more leeway to spouses whose actions have prescribed to attain divorce and recognizing the shortcomings of psychological capacity with regard to the welfare of children (Sec. 5 (c ) and (d) of HB#7303). The provision also recognizes that because of changing times, more people are now open to their sexuality, and giving chances to spouses of homosexuals and transsexuals the benefit of remarrying if their spouse’s homosexuality wasn’t manifest during the marriage (Sec. 5 (e) of HB#7303). Finally, the acceptance of the fact that certain marital differences can sometimes be beyond human repair and the forced preservation would sometimes be detrimental to the welfare of the spouses and especially the children (Sec. 5 (f) of HB#7303).

            The most important part of the divorce law is, it not only that it grants the spouses the right to remarry, but also it provides for a joint plan in the raising of the children. This is in line with the provisions of the Constitution regarding the family, that the state must preserve the welfare of the children. The researchers have concluded that the provisions of the bill does not contradict in any way with the relevant provisions of the Constitution.

The only thing probably preventing the bill to be passed into law is the deep faith of the people that divorce is prohibited in the bible or whatever notions relating to religion in the preservation of marriage. The separation of church and state is already enshrined in the Constitution, only movement is lacking. If people would be more cognizant to the situations happening in their daily lives they would see the necessity for this bill’s passage. Laws must be passed in accordance with the purpose of furthering the welfare of the people and not on whatever religious belief they may hold, they must not be allowed to remain stagnant, but rather they should be more dynamic. Inclined towards the evolution of the beliefs regarded by the current generation, catering to the needs of those who are bound by them rather than remain under the precepts of age-old traditions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations were reached by the researchers after the conduct of the study:

For the people. The passage of laws are for the people and for the harmony of living. This study aims to educate people about the House Bill 7303 and its difference from legal separation, void and voidable marriages; so that people can educate other people who don’t have access to the Internet and can make them understand HB 7303, legal separation, void and voidable marriages and its differences. To understand more about this can lessen the stigma society puts on couples who are legally separated or separated de facto.

For the lawmakers. To encourage them to give more attention into this House Bill, and to look deeper into it, whether its needed in our country or not.

For the future researchers. The study should have more research put into other variables that may also add up for us to better understand Absolute Divorce and what can it do to our community. Since the House Bill was submitted on February 28, 2018, there is only a limited number of literature to support this study, more researches can be made in the future.

This study is completed with participants from Negros Occidental who answered our online survey. This can be further improved by broadening the scope on a regional and even national level.

SOURCES

https://definitions.uslegal.com/d/divorce/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317215981_Divorce_and_separation_in_the_Philippines_Trends_and_correlates?fbclid=IwAR3KWbP9Hp1fVn3c-A6SknayenAxoX-eNsFDYn048s6kzfUy-vbQ-tgYeGc

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/divorce-in-the-philippines-a-legal-history-45701

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/ritesrituals/divorce_1.shtml#h3

https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/198617-divorce-philippine-religious-response

https://hrepreflibrarian.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/divorce-law-in-the-philippines/

http://www.niussp.org/article/the-rise-of-divorce-separation-and-cohabitation-in-the-philippines/

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/200630-divorce-bill-philippines-marriage-reality-religion

https://www.ucanews.com/news/philippine-bishops-issue-appeal-against-divorce-bill/81783

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/117260-in-numbers-marital-woes-annulment-philippines

Republic v Manalo G.R. No. 221029

Gandionco v Penaranda, 155 SCRA 725

Dela Cruz v Dela Cruz, 22 SCRA 333

Partosa-Jo v CA, 216 SCRA 692

People v Sensano, 59 Phil. 73

Ocampo v Florenciano, 107 Phil. 35

Brown v Yambao, 102 Phil. 168

Bugayong v Ginez, 100 Phil. 620

Matubis v Parexedes, 109 Phil. 620

Somosa-Ramos v Vamenta, 46 SCRA 11

Republic vs Molina G.R. No. 108763

KARLO ANGELO DABALOS v. RTC, BRANCH 59, ANGELES CITY (PAMPANGA), ET. AL., G.R. No. 193960

Chi Ming Tsoi vs CA 266 SCRA 324

Garcia vs Drilon G.R. No. 179267

Almelor vs RTC G.R. No. 179620

Antonio vs Reyes G.R. No. 155800

Tuason vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 116607

Hernandez vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 126010

Dedel vs CA G.R. No. 151867

Silva vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 114742

Alcazar vs Alcazar Gr. 174451

Republic vs. Iyoy, GR. No. 152577

Socorro vs Wilsem G.R. No. 193707

Incompatibility or Conflicting Personalities Between Spouses Not Sufficient to Declare the Nullity of Marriage on Ground of Psychological Incapacity VOL. 392, NOVEMBER 26, 2002 661

De la vina vs villareal 41 phil 13

Mendez vs Shari’a District Court G.R. No. 201614

Republic vs Obrecido G.R. No. 154380

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2016/02/05/1550098/sc-upholds-divorce-granted-muslim-couple

Reyes vs Luciano

Santos vs CA 204 SCRA 20

Araneta vs Concepcion GR17806

Bañez vs. Bañez 374 SCRA

Researchers:

Emmy Catugas

Nelie France Sanchez

Michael Villagracia

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