The House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations has submitted a divorce bill for plenary debates on the floor. It is a consolidated version of several proposed bills in Congress for dissolution and other related issues.
The text of the proposed bill has not yet been released, but these are the important features of the law gathered from official media releases of the House and the public domain.
1) There would still be annulment under the grounds provided for in the Family Code, but the proposed bill has expanded the grounds to get a divorce to cover the following:
- a) A divorce secured by one of the spouses in a foreign country that is established to be valid shall entitle the other spouse to petition for absolute divorce as a consequence of the said foreign divorce.
- b) A canonical divorce or declaration of nullity of marriage issued by an ecclesiastical tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church, which was or is secured by one of the spouses, shall entitle the other to petition for absolute divorce based on the said canonical decree.
- c) When one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery, the other spouse is entitled to petition for absolute divorce with the transgender or transsexual as respondent or vice versa.
- d) Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts which have resulted in the breakdown of the marriage beyond repair, despite earnest and repeated efforts at reconciliation, shall entitle either spouse to petition for absolute divorce.
2) To address the concerns of Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW), the law would give their divorce or annulment cases preference in the scheduling of hearings;
3) There would be summary procedure, and not a full-blown trial in the following cases:
- a) separation in fact for five (5) years;
- b) bigamous marriage;
- c) when one spouse has undergone sex reassignment surgery;
- d) legal separation for 2 years or more;
- e) when one of the spouses has been sentenced to imprisonment for more than 6 years, even if pardon
4) The law will allow courts to appoint counsel de officio and social workers ( in lieu of psychologists) for indigent citizens.
For the full text of House Bill No. 116 authored by Congressman Edcel Lagman, which is one of the main bills consolidated in the proposed legislation, CLICK HERE.
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