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Advantages of divorce law arbitration include: Ability of participants to decide who will be their judge. Parties can select an arbitrator with particular expertise, such as business valuation, retirement plans, tax, nonmarital tracing issues, mental health, etc. More privacy. Quicker trial dates and pre-arbitration conferences, which also may result in less expense and tension. Swiftness of decision making. Less formal. The arbitrator has all the time you need to put on your case. Disadvantages voiced by some include: Perception that there cannot be binding child custody decision. (Maybe but not necessarily true; usually are subject to trial de novo if the court concludes the award is contrary to a childs best interest.) Beliefs that parties are not protected by rules permitting discovery and required financial disclosure. Under the Uniform Arbitration Act mechanisms for disclosure are provided and in the arbitration agreements parties may have the arbitrator supervise the discovery, or the parties may complete discovery and then arbitrate. Fears that the arbitrator will be able to ignore the law. While an arbitrators mistake of law does not generally provide a basis for refusing to confirm an award, the parties can agree that the arbitrator will be bound by the substantive law of the state. Inability of the arbitrator to enforce an award. Awards are tendered to the court and after confirming the award, all remedies for enforcement are available in court as with any other judgment. The parties must pay for the arbitrators time.

The Best Way to Stop Divorce Stop a divorce as much as possible. Thats one rule that most married couples abide by for the sake of their children and the immediate family members who can get affected by the separation. The worst scenario could lead to the problems of broken homes and demoralizing children in the family. So it is only necessary for married couples to avoid getting divorced. If the relationship can still be worked out, why not work it out? Isnt it best to try and make things work? To stop fighting is one of the best things to do to stop divorce. Simple disagreements lead to serious disputes without respect and consideration. Consider the important fact that everybody commits mistakes at least once in a while. So to make things better, considering the spouses opinions or conditions would only be a good step forward. Respect is also very necessary that without which, proper communication wouldnt be possible at all.

For women, threatening and nagging the husband isnt at all respectful. Divorce is neither a good bribe nor a good trade. It isnt a good motivation as well. Women should learn how to control themselves and should avoid yelling or running away. Sometimes, menstrual period is reasoned for this behavior; however, such occurrence can be avoided by simply having an open mind. Whether in a menstrual cycle or not, one has the power to control by simply having the will power to embrace amity. If loves the issue, the best way to stop divorce is to establish a good and honest communication in the relationship. When it comes to love affair, consultation could help ease the doubts or misunderstanding. Confrontation as well makes it easier to determine if the spouse concerned is being honest or not. If something is totally wrong, do not pretend. Honesty with ones feelings is only important otherwise, it would only create a series of lies thereby. Being calm also helps ease the tension so try to be calm. To stop divorce, one must do away with the nonsense fighting. Fighting with each other is not good especially in front of the children. Always consider the sake of the children. To stop divorce is the same way as stopping the almost impossible. However, in due time, it could be the best choice. It could lead to a happy family and best of all; the moral fiber of the children still stays with the family. Its truly difficult to stop divorce but with the truest desire of keeping the family whole and happy everything is possible. A lot of people would have resorted immediately to divorce without amicable settlement first. The result is that the relationship ends, the family broken and the childrens pain are never mended. The best way to stop divorce is to stop being hasty and thinking that the good relationship isnt recoverable. Imminently, problems are never truly solved with divorce. It just starts more problems as another course of action is taken. To stop divorce is to stop it all!

What is divorce? Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties (unlike annulment which declares the marriage null and void). Divorce laws vary considerably around the world but in most countries it requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process for divorce may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt. Where monogamy is law, divorce allows each former partner to marry another; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another. Between 1971 and 2011, five European countries legalised divorce: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland[1] and Malta. This leaves two countries in the worldthe Philippines and Vatican City that do not have a civil procedure for divorce. "Divorcing one's parents" is a term sometimes used to refer to emancipation of minors.

The Effects of Divorce on Children

By: IC

The effects of divorce on children could be massive, but this could be helped. The most common causes for divorce are family problems, physical or emotional abuse, extramarital affairs, work stress and vices. Below are types of divorces you might want to familiarize with: Legal divorce is the lawful end of your marriage where you are allowed to remarry. Economic divorce involves the splitting of assets i.e.: money and property. Co-parental divorce is a type of divorce where both parents agree to support their child even though they no longer have spousal support for each other. Common effects of divorce on children are psychological problems, poor intellectual development and affected parent-child relationships. Psychological Effects: The psychological effects of divorce on children can affect children as young as 6 years of age. Young children can develop anxiety disorders where they experience overwhelming fear of being abandoned. Their feelings of isolation and sadness can also manifest through other problems such as eating disorders. Poor Intellectual Development: Children of divorced parents usually display insecurity, neediness, irritability and a constant craving for attention. These types of behavior consequently lead to aggressiveness towards peers, resulting in poor relationships with others. A child's cognitive skills can also become poor. His or her overall academic performance suffers, thus leading to low self-worth and depression later in life. Affected Parent-Child Relationships: Oftentimes children will blame themselves for what happened between their parents. They also start to question their moral values and become either rebellious or overly obedient at any point in time. The effects of divorce on children and teens could be negative or positive depending on the child's coping strategies. Teens often engage in extravagant, promiscuous activities and form no concept of an ideal parent. They themselves are distressed about their future career, marriage and kids. But some do take this as a learning experience and attempt to make better decisions in the future. Here are common concerns experienced by children of divorced parents: Financial worries Children are especially worried about their future career and finances if they feel

that their parents divorced because of money problems. Marital concerns Children usually view failed relationships as somehow having an association with their parents' failed relationship. Because of this, they tend to question marriage a lot in fear of mirroring their parents' divorce. Role or status anxiety Children can also try to play the role of either parent in attempts to "mend" their parents' problems. This is considered to be unhealthy especially in adolescents. How to Relieve the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children: Allow your child to speak openly to friends, family members or counselors regarding the divorce in the family. Most children react towards divorce by spending more time outside their home. This can have a good effect, but it can also put them in a vulnerable position where less discipline can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. You should therefore still draw some boundaries and continue building a relationship with your child.

The effects of divorce on children could be massive, but this could be helped. The most common causes for divorce are family problems, physical or emotional abuse, extramarital affairs, work stress and vices.

Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City ELEVENTH CONGRESS First Regular Session HOUSE BILL NO. 6993

By Representative Manuel C. Ortega


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled: SECTION. 1. Title II of Executive Order No. 209, as amended by Executive Order No. 227, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, is hereby amended to read as follows: "TITLE II [LEGAL SEPARATION] DIVORCE." SEC. 2. Articles 55 to 67 of the same Code are hereby amended to read as follows: "Art. 55. A petition for [legal separation] DIVORCE 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 adoption. IN ADDITION, A PETITION FOR DIVORCE MAY BE FILED UPON A SHOWING THAT THERE IS AN IRREMEDIABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP DUE TO IRRECONCILABLE MARITAL DIFFERENCES. SAID PETITION MUST SPECIFICALLY ALLEGE THE GROUNDS WHICH DESTROY THE LEGITIMATE ENDS OF THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP AND PREVENT ANY REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS OF RECONCILIATION." "Art. 56. The petition for [legal separation] DIVORCE shall be denied on any of the following grounds: (1) Where the [aggrieved party] PETITIONER has condoned the offense or act complained of; (2) Where the [aggrieved party] PETITIONER 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] DIVORCE; (4) Where both parties have given ground for [legal separation] DIVORCE;

(5) Where there is collusion between the parties to obtain the decree of [legal separation] DIVORCE; [or] (6) Where the action is barred by prescription[.]; (7) WHERE THE IRRECONCILABLE MARITAL DIFFERENCES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY DIVORCE; OR (8) WHERE THE PETITIONER HAS NOT RESIDED WITHIN THE PHILIPPINES FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE PETITION, UNLESS THE CAUSE UPON WHICH THE PETITION IS BASED OCCURRED WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF THE PHILIPPINES." "Art. 57. An action for [legal separation] DIVORCE shall be filed within ONE YEAR FROM THE TIME THE PETITIONER BECOMES COGNIZANT OF THE CAUSE AND WITHIN five years from the time of the occurrence of the cause. IN THE CASE OF GROUNDS OR CAUSES FOR DIVORCE WHICH OCCURRED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVITY OF THIS ACT, THE ACTION MAY BE FILED WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF ITS EFFECTIVITY: PROVIDED THAT SAID GROUNDS OR CAUSES OCCURRED WITHIN FIVE YEARS FROM THE FILING OF THE ACTION. PETITIONS FOR LEGAL SEPARATION FILED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVITY OF THIS ACT MAY BE AMENDED TO ACTIONS FOR DIVORCE: PROVIDED THAT SAID AMENDMENTS ARE MADE WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF ITS EFFECTIVITY." "Art. 58. An action for [legal separation] DIVORCE shall in no case be tried before six months have elapsed since the filing of the petition." "Art. 59. No [legal separation] DIVORCE 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." "Art. 60. No decree of [legal separation] DIVORCE 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." "Art. 61. After the filing of the petition for [legal separation] DIVORCE,

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." "Art. 62. During the pendency of the action for [legal separation] DIVORCE, the provisions of Article 49 shall likewise apply to the support of the spouses and the custody and support of the common children." "Art. 63. The decree of [legal separation] DIVORCE shall have the following effects: (1) THE MARRIAGE BONDS SHALL BE DISSOLVED ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE DECREE BECOMES FINAL. The DIVORCED spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other AND TO REMARRY THEREAFTER [, 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]. IF THE DECREE OF DIVORCE IS GRANTED PURSUANT TO THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 55, THE NET PROFITS OF THE ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY OR CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP SHALL BE DIVIDED EQUALLY BETWEEN OR IN A MANNER AGREED UPON BY THE PARTIES. IN THE EVENT THAT THERE IS AN ADJUDGED OFFENDING SPOUSE, SAID 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, OR, IN THE CASE OF A DECREE OBTAINED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 55, TO THE SPOUSE ADJUDGED TO BE MORE CAPABLE IN ENSURING THIER MORAL, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL WELL-BEING, subject to the provisions of Article 213 of this Code; [and] (4) The [offending spouse] DIVORCED SPOUSES shall be disqualified from inheriting from [the innocent spouse] EACH OTHER by intestate succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of the offending

spouse mad in the will of the innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law[.]; (5) CHILDREN OF DIVORCED PARENTS SHALL BE ENTITLED TO SUPPORT AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER THIS CODE. IN ADDITION, THESE CHILDREN SHALL BE DELIVERED THEIR RESPECTIVE LEGITIME ONE YEAR AFTER THE DECREE OF DIVORCE BECOMES FINAL, OTHERWISE, THE DECREE SHALL NOT HAVE ANY LEGAL EFFECT WITH RESPECT TO THE SPOUSE WHO DEFAULTS ON SUCH OBLIGATION. CHILDREN OF DIVORCED SPOUSES SHALL LIKEWISE RETAIN ALL RIGHTS OF SUCCESSION WITH RESPECT TO THEIR PARENTS BUT SHALL BRING TO COLLATION THE LEGITIME PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED UNDER THIS PROVISION WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION TO RETURN ANY AMOUNT SUBSEQUENTLY DETERMINED TO BE IN EXCESS OF THE VALUE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE. "Art. 64. After the finality of the decree of [legal separation] DIVORCE, the innocent spouse OR BOTH SPOUSES IN CASE OF DECREES PURSUANT TO THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 55, may revoke the donations made by him or her in favor of the [offending] OTHER 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] INSURER. The action to revoke the donation under this Article must be brought within five years from the time the decree of [legal separation] DIVORCE has become final." "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] DIVORCE." "Art. 66. The reconciliation referred to in the preceding Article shall have the following consequences:

(1) The [legal separation] DIVORCE proceedings, if still pending, shall thereby be terminated at whatever stage; and (2) The final decree of [legal separation] DIVORCE shall be set aside, but the separation of property and any forfeiture of the share of the guilty spouse already affected 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." "Art. 67. The agreement to revive the former property regime referred to in the preceeding Article shall be executed under oath and shall specify: (1) The properties to be contributed anew to the restored regime; (2) Those to be returned 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] DIVORCE, with copies of both furnished to the creditors named therein. After due hearing, the court shall, in its order, take measures 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 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." SEC. 3. Separability Clause. - If any part or provision of this Act is declared invalid, the remainder or any provision thereof not affected shall remain in force and effect. SEC. 4. Repealing Clause. - The provisions of any law, executive order, presidential decree or other issuances inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 5. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.


Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City First Regular Session ELEVENTH CONGRESS HOUSE BILL NO. 6993

Introduced by Representative Manuel C. Ortega

EXPLANATORY NOTE This bill seeks to amend Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended by Executive Order No. 227, by allowing absolute divorce (a vinculo matrimonii) and thereby granting legally separated spouses the right to remarry. Today not all marriages succeed as a permanent union. An increasing number of married individuals find themselves subjected by their marriage partners to physical violence, grossly abusive conduct and other acts of or offenses that -- rather than promote blissful, harmonious conjugal and family life -- impair, debase or destroy the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship. This bill thus seeks to give spouses whi are shacked by an irretrievably broken marriage the freedom to remarry and possibly succeed in attaining a stable and fulfilling family life. Divorce is not a novel legal right granted by Philippine civil laws: the Family Code of the Philippines sanctions relative divorce (a mensa et thoro). Under the

provision of Title II of said Code, legal separation, or separation from bed and board, is a recognized remedy for victims of failed marriages. To be sure, our civil laws have always recognized the need to allow married individuals to sever conjugal ties under certain justifiable conditions. Neither is divorce an institution exclusive to contemporary times. Historical records indicate that long before the advent of Spanish colonial rule beginning in the early 16th century, absolute divorce had been widely practiced among our ancestral tribes -- the Tagbanwas of Palawan, the Gadang of Nueva Vizcaya, the Sagada and Igorot of the Cordilleras, the Manobo, Bila-an and Moslems of Visayas and Mindanao islands, to name a few. During the Spanish regime, the law on divorce was the Siete Partidas which allowed only legal separation. The Spanish Civil Code on the subject were among those suspended by Governor General Weyler in 1889, and was never enforced since. In 1917 Act 2710 was passed by the Philippine Legislature repealing the Siete Partidas by allowing divorce on the grounds of adultery on the part of the wife and concubinage on the part of the husband. During the Japanese Occupation, a new law on absolute divorce, E.O. No. 141, was promulgated providing for ten grounds for divorce. The law lasted until 1944 when Gen. Douglas MacArthur re-established the Commonwealth Government by proclamation which in effect repealed E.O. No. 141 and revived Act 2710. In 1950, Act 2710 was repealed by the Civil Code of the Philippines which allows only legal separation. The draft of the Code, however, had provisions on absolute divorce which was subsequently eliminated and substituted with legal separation. The present Family Code of the Philippines also does not allow divorce (except a divorce obtained by the alien spouse of a Filipino citizen abroad), but it has expaded the grounds for legal separation to ten. Indeed, quoting a respected Filipino historical writer, "the law has come full circle". While the Family Code of the Philippines allows relative divorce, it prohibits lawfully separated spouses from exercising the right to remarry. Under our present laws, legal separation does not dissolve the marriage bond between legally separated spouses; said parties are considered married individuals for all legal intents and purposes. Our civil laws on marriage justify and allow the separation of married individuals but does not confer them the legal right or remedy to extricate themselves from the ordeal of a broken marriage. In the light of the foregoing, it is proposed that our present laws on marriage be amended to allow absolute divorce or dissolution of marriage. Based on the

increasing number of failed marriages which confines many of our citizens to a perpetual state of marital limbo, it has become morally and socially acceptable for many Filipinos to grant spouses of broken marriages the legal right to remarry. The present grounds for legal separation which are recognized in our society as justifiable bases for relative divorce should be re-enacted as lawful grounds for absolute divorce. In addition, it is recommended that "irreconcilable marital differences" be included in our present civil laws as a justifiable cause for absolute divorce because not all circumstances and situations that vitiate the institution of marriage could be specifically categorized and defined by our lawmakers. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or discord should be given the opportunity to present their marital contrarieties before the courts and have such differences adjudged as substantial grounds to dissolve or sever the legal bond of marriage. Approval of this Bill is earnestly sought.


Divorce is a controversial topic, except that its often discussed with hushed voices (related discussion here). In 2005, party-list representative Liza Masa of Gabriela filed a divorce bill. In 2001, similar bills were filed in the Senate (Bill No. 782), introduced by Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon, and House of Representatives (Bill No. 878), introduced by Honorable Bellaflor J. Angara-Castillo. In 1999, Representative Manuel C. Ortega filed House Bill No. 6993, seeking for the legalization of divorce. This Congress (14th Congress), Gabriela again filed a bill to introduce divorce in the Philippines. Heres the explanatory note of House Bill 3461, filed by GABRIELA Womens Party Representatives Liza Largoza-Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan. Lets open this topic for discussion by everyone. Lets avoid name-calling and focus on the merits. If you support or oppose the bill, then perhaps you could talk to your respective representatives in the House. Underpinning this proposal is a commitment to the policy of the State to protect and strengthen marriage and the family as basic social institutions, to value the dignity of every human person, to guarantee full respect for human rights, and to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. The provisions of this bill are consistent with and in pursuit of those State policies. In Filipino culture, marriage is regarded as a sacred union and the family founded on marriage is considered as a fount of love, protection and care. Philippine society generally frowns upon and discourages marital break-ups and so provides cultural and legal safeguards to preserve marital relations. Cultural prescriptions and religious norms keep many couples together despite the breakdown of the marriage. But the cultural prescriptions for women and men differ. Women are traditionally regarded as primarily responsible for making the marriage work and are expected to sacrifice everything to preserve the marriage and the solidarity of the family. While absolute fidelity is demanded of wives, men are granted sexual license to have affairs outside marriage. Yet when the marriage fails, the woman is blamed for its failure. Reality tells us that there are many failed, unhappy marriages across all Filipino classes. Many couples especially from the marginalized sectors, who have no access to the courts, simply end up separating without the benefit of legal processes. The sheer number of petitions that have been filed since 1988 for the declaration of the nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code (commonly known as annulment) shows that there are just too many couples who are desperate to get out of failed marriages. Even when couples start out well in their marriage, political, economic and social realities take their toll on their relationship. Some are not prepared to handle the intricacies of married life. For a large number of women, the inequalities and violence in marriage negate its ideals as the embodiment of love, care and safety and erode the bases upon which a marriage is founded. The marital relations facilitate the commission of violence and perpetuate their oppression. Official figures support this. The 2003 report of the Philippine National Police shows that wife battering accounted for 53.6 percent of the total 8,011 cases of violence against women. About three of ten

perpetrators were husbands of the victims. Husbands accounted for 28 per cent of the violence against women crimes. The Department of Social Welfare and Development reported that in 2003, of the 15,314 women in especially difficult circumstances that the agency serviced, 25.1 per cent or 5,353 were cases of physical abuse, maltreatment and battering. Given these realities, couples must have the option to avail of remedies that will pave the way for the attainment of their full development and self-fulfillment and the protection of their human rights. Existing laws are not enough to address this need. To quote the Womens Legal Bureau, Inc., a legal resource NGO for women: The present laws relating to separation of couples and termination of marriage are inadequate to respond to the myriad causes of failed marriages. Particularly, the remedies of declaration of nullity and annulment do not cover the problems that occur during the existence of marriage. Legal separation, on the other hand, while covering problems during marriage, does not put an end to marriage. Though both divorce and a declaration of nullity of a marriage allow the spouses to remarry, the two remedies differ in concept and basis. A declaration of nullity presupposes that the marriage is void from the beginning and the court declares its non-existence Beyond [the] grounds specified [in the law], declaration of nullity is not possible. In annulment, the marriage of the parties is declared defective from the beginning, albeit it is considered valid until annulled. The defect can be used to nullify the marriage within a specified period but the same may be ignored and the marriage becomes perfectly valid after the lapse of that period, or the defect may be cured through some act. The defect relates to the time of the celebration of the marriage and has nothing to do with circumstances occurring after the marriage is celebrated. In annulment, the marriage is legally cancelled, and the man and woman are restored to their single status. Since August 3, 1988, couples have been given a way out of failed marriages through Article 36 of the Family CodeThe remedy provided under Article 36 is declaration of nullity of the marriage. The article voids a marriage where one party is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential ofmarital obligations. Consistent with the concept of void marriages (where the remedy is declaration of nullity), the law requires that the incapacity must have existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage In practice, Article 36 has become a form of divorce, as valid marriages are declared void every day in the guise of psychological incapacity. The innumerable Article 36 cases brought to trial courts is an indication of the elasticity of Article 36 to accommodate the needs of many couples desiring to terminate their marriages. It is proof that divorce is needed in the Philippines. Article 36 provides a remedy only for spouses who can prove psychological incapacity. The concept certainly cannot accommodate all cases where divorce would have necessary. What we need is a divorce law that defines clearly and unequivocally the grounds and terms for terminating a marriage. That law will put an end to the creative efforts played daily in courtrooms across the country to accommodate a wide range of cases in order to prove psychological incapacity. (Womens Legal Bureau, Inc., The Relevance of Divorce in the Philippines, 1998)

Thus, this bill seeks to introduce divorce as another option for couples in failed and irreparable marriages. This bill was crafted in consultation with women lawyers and inspired by the studies and inputs of various womens groups and the experiences of spouses gathered by GABRIELA from its various chapters nationwide. The bill seeks to introduce divorce in Philippine law with a strong sense of confidence that it will be used responsibly by Filipino couples. This confidence stems from the experiences of Filipino families that show that separation is usually the last resort of many Filipino couples whose marriage has failed. Cases of battered women also support this. Battered women invariably seek separation only after many years of trying to make the marriage work; separation only becomes imperative for them when they realize that it is necessary for their and their childrens survival. Divorce could actually provide protection to battered women and their children from further violence and abuse. With the predominance of the Catholic faith in the Philippines, the fear that divorce will erode personal values on marriage appears unfounded. The experience of Italy, where the Vatican is located, and Spain, two predominantly Catholic countries which practice divorce, supports this. Those countries have a low rate of divorce. Italy registers a 7% rate while Spain registers 15%. The figures reflect the strong influence of religious beliefs and culture on individuals in deciding to terminate marital relations. Historically, divorce had been part of our legal system. In the beginning of the 16th century, before the Spanish colonial rule, absolute divorce was widely practiced among ancestral tribes such as the Tagbanwas of Palawan, the Gadangs of Nueva Viscaya, the Sagadans and Igorots of the Cordilleras, and the Monobos, Bila-ans and Moslems of the Visayas and Mindanao islands. Divorce was also available during the American period, starting from 1917 (under Act No. 2710 enacted by the Philippine Legislature), and during the Japanese occupation (under Executive Order No. 141) and after, until 1950. It was only on August 30, 1950, when the New Civil Code took effect, that divorce was disallowed under Philippine law. Only legal separation was available. The same rule was adopted by the Family Code of 1988, which replaced the provisions of the New Civil Code on marriage and the family, although the Family Code introduced the concept of psychological incapacity as a basis for declaring the marriage void. In recognition of the history of divorce in the Philippines, the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution left the wisdom of legalizing divorce to the Congress. Thus, the 1987 Constitution does not prohibit the legalization of divorce. This bill is respectful of and sensitive to differing religious beliefs in the Philippines. It recognizes that the plurality of religious beliefs and cultural sensibilities in the Philippines demand that different remedies for failed marriages should be made available. For this reason, the bill retains the existing remedies of legal separation, declaration of nullity of the marriage and annulment and only adds divorce as one more remedy. Couples may choose from these remedies depending on their situation, religious beliefs, cultural sensibilities, needs and emotional state. While divorce under this proposed measure severs the bonds of marriage, divorce as a remedy need not be for the purpose of re-marriage; it may be resorted to by individuals to achieve peace of mind and facilitate their pursuit of full human development. This

bill also seeks to make Philippine law consistent in the way it treats religious beliefs with respect to termination of marriage. Philippine law through the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 1083 [1977]) allows divorce among Filipino Muslims, in deference to the Islamic faith which recognizes divorce. Non-Muslim Filipinos should have the same option under Philippine law, in accordance with their religious beliefs. The bill proposes five grounds for divorce. All the five grounds are premised on the irreparable breakdown of the marriage and the total non-performance of marital obligations. Thus, the bill provides that a petition for divorce may be filed when the petitioner has been separated de facto (in fact) from his or her spouse for at least five years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable, or when the petitioner has been legally separated from his or her spouse for at least two years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable. Not all circumstances and situations that cause the total breakdown of a marriage could be defined in this proposed measure. Thus, the bill also provides that divorce may be granted when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or discord should be given the opportunity to present their marital contrarieties in court and have those differences adjudged as constituting a substantial ground to put an end to the marriage. Another ground for divorce included in the bill is when one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. This provision will consequently repeal Article 36 of the Family Code. The bill seeks to include psychological incapacity in the grounds for divorce in the belief that the concept is consistent with the termination of marital ties rather than with a void marriage. The bill seeks to eliminate condonation of the act and consent to the act as grounds for denying a petition for legal separation and, by extension, a petition for divorce. Many spouses especially women ignore the offense because of the social and economic conditions they are in. Many women in the marginalized sectors tend to condone the offense because they are economically dependent on their spouses or because of the stigma attached to failed marriages. Some women who are perceived to be condoning the acts of their husbands actually suffer from the cycle of spousal abuse such that they have become so disempowered to address their situation. Under this proposed measure, a decree of divorce dissolves the absolute community or conjugal partnership of gains. The assets shall be equally divided between the spouses. However, this bill also proposes that in addition to his or her equal share in the assets, the spouse who is not gainfully employed shall be entitled to support until he or she finds adequate employment but the right shall only be effective for not more than one year. This provision is meant to address the economic deprivation or poverty that many women experience as a result of a marital break-up. The bill also proposes that the custody of any minor child shall be decided by the court in accordance with the best interests of the child and their support provided in accordance with the Family Court provisions on support. Actual, moral and exemplary damages shall be awarded to

the aggrieved spouse when proper in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code on damages. The proposed measure also provides that parties shall be disqualified from inheriting from each other by intestate succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of one spouse made in the will of the other spouse shall be revoked by operation of law. The Philippines and Malta are the only two remaining countries in the world without a divorce law. This bill is being introduced based on indications that Philippine society is ready for the legalization of divorce. The sanctity of marriage is not based on the number of marriages existing but on the quality of marital relationships. When a marriage is no longer viable, divorce should be an option. Thus, the approval of this bill is urgently requested.