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ANNULMENT, DIVORCE, OR DISSOLUTION: IS MARRIAGE IN THE PHILIPPINES GOING BROKE

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has proposed a law for dissolving marriages on the ground of “unhappiness” with the other spouse. The proposed bill is intended to make dissolution easier. Currently, marriages which are not otherwise defective because of a prior marriage (bigamous), non age (below 18), among other grounds, can be dissolved only by a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, or loosely referred to as an Annulment in the Philippines on the ground of psychological incapacity. The proposal, according to Alvarez, does not aim to abolish annulments nor allow for divorce. Legally however, if the ground for dissolution is “unhappiness” then it is worse than a divorce which generally can be obtained in Western countries on the common ground of “irreconcilable differences”.
The bill has very few supporters and has in fact been met with opposition from the Catholic church and other lawmakers who insist that there is already a law in place under the Family Code of the Philippines. It has also been criticized as self-serving since Alvarez as a Muslim has several wives. Under a separate law, Muslims are allowed to maintain more than one spouse. The proposed law is one in a long line of proposed legislation in the last 68 years which would finally allow for divorce . None has been approved to date.

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