Tag Archive: Divorce


Apr 03 (2)

There are four additional grounds that the divorce bill will include in the list of reasons why a person may seek to dissolve his or her marriage.  Bear in mind that the grounds listed for legal separation and annulment remain in effect and are carried into the divorce bill.

 Below are the grounds under Article 55 of the Family Code, and Annulment under Article 55 of the same code:

  1. 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. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6 years, even if pardoned.
  4. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling of the respondent.
  5. Homosexuality of the respondent.
  6. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad.
  7. Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when the spouses have agreed to have a child through in vitro or a similar procedure, or when the wife bears a child as a result of being a rape victim.
  8. Attempt against the life of the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner.
  9. Abandonment without justifiable cause for more than a year.
  10. Those legally separated by judicial decree for more than two years can also avail of divorce.
  11. One of the spouses was older than 18 but younger than 21 at the time of marriage without the consent of a parent, guardian, or substitute parental authority unless, after the age of 21, the pair freely cohabitated and lived together.
  12. Either party was of unsound mind, unless such party, after coming to reason, freely cohabitated with the other.
  13. The consent of one party was obtained through fraud unless, despite after knowing the fraud, continued to cohabit as husband and wife.
  14. That the consent of one party was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence unless, despite the cessation of such, the pair continued to cohabit.
  15. That either party was incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and the incapacity continues or appears to be incurable.
  16. That either party is afflicted with a sexually transmissible infection that is serious or appears to be incurable.

The bill introduces four additional bases for divorce:

  1. Separation for at least five years at the time the petition is filed, with reconciliation highly improbable, except if the separation is due to the overseas employment of one or both spouses in different countries, or due to the employment of one of the spouses in another province or region distant from the conjugal home.
  2. Psychological incapacity of the other spouse as defined in Article 36 of the Family Code, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of marriage or later.
  3. When one of the spouses undergoes gender reassignment surgery or transition from one sex to another.
  4. Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts resulting in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair despite the efforts of both spouses.

What do you think of the listed grounds for divorce?  Do you think these aptly cover all possible situations that an unhappily married couple may face?

We’d love to hear from you!

Reference: https://www.rappler.com/nation/196612-explainer-house-divorce-bill

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Apr 02

On February 21, 2018, the House Committee on Population and Family Relations gave its thumbs up to the bill that will introduce divorce as a means to dissolve marriages in the Philippines.  As of the moment, the only way you can get out of a dysfunctional marriage is through annulment, which costs a fortune and will seek to prove that your marriage is invalid.  This means that if the court fails to find substantial grounds to prove that your union is null then your petition for annulment will not be granted and you remain married to your spouse.  Divorce, on the other hand, will end a legal marriage and make both parties free to marry other people.

There are only two countries in the world that do not recognize divorce in its territories: the Philippines and the Vatican.  Ours is a predominantly Christian nation and it is for this reason that the proposal to legalize divorce has always been shelved.  In the Philippines, married couples may dissolve their union through an annulment petition that is both tedious and costly.  Divorce seeks to address both issues.

To help us understand what’s inside the divorce bill, we summarized five important key points in the law.

  1. Divorce only seeks to terminate a continuing dysfunction of a long broken marriage.

Since annulment does not recognize infidelity as grounds for separation, couples seem trapped in this situation until the parties decide to just take matters into their own hands – amicably go their separate ways and pursue relationships with other people.  In the end, they remain married and all things related to their marriage (conjugal properties, child custody and support, etc.) continue to be part of their lives as husband and wife and parents to their children.

Divorce will help such couples obtain their legal rights to marry other people.

A dysfunctional marriage is not necessarily the result of one or both party’s infidelity.  Some couples simply fall out of love and no longer wish to be part of the union.  Again, these types of reasons for separation do not hold water in an annulment petition.  Only divorce can make it possible for couples, who no longer love each other, to dissolve their marriage and find marital bliss elsewhere.

  1. Divorce will be a more affordable means for the common Pinoy to end a marriage.

Women who cannot afford the costs of an annulment are literally left with no choice but to remain married forever.  These women could be physically, emotionally, psychologically, or economically abused by their husbands – or the other way around (wives abusing their husband’s rights and privileges).  Divorce gives them the opportunity to seek freedom from abusive partners, even if they could not afford the costs of an annulment.

Indigent divorce applicants can enjoy free litigation fees and will be afforded with competent public lawyers to represent them in court.

  1. Divorce will not abolish legal separation and annulment.

Couples still have the option to go for either, even while divorce is already made available for them.

  1. The Cooling Off Period

Those who think that divorce is the fast and easy way out of a legal marriage are in for a surprise.  Divorce applicants will be required to undergo a 6-month cooling off period as a means to try and reconcile the couple.  This, however, is waived when the petition is filed due to domestic abuse or if staying in the marriage poses danger to the life of the spouse or any of his or her children.

  1. The divorce decree will include custody of children, protection of the children’s inheritance, liquidation of conjugal partnerships or gains or absolute community, and alimony for the innocent spouse.

Foremost in the bill’s agenda is, of course, the welfare of the children that will be involved in the couple’s separation.  Each party’s right over custody of their children will also be taken up and finalized while the divorce application is being heard in court.

 

Visit us again tomorrow as we will be featuring the grounds for divorce and how these differ from the existing provisions under the Annulment and Legal Separation laws.

Reference: https://www.rappler.com/nation/196612-explainer-house-divorce-bill

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Feb 26

In the Philippines, if you would like to regain your capacity to marry, you need to file a case for annulment and pray that you win the battle against your spouse.  It is a long and tedious process of mainly destroying the character of the person you married to prove that the marriage was either: not valid from the beginning or was acquired by force, intimidation, or undue influence.  It is an expensive and traumatic process for the couple and their children.

Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations submitted a divorce bill for plenary deliberations and approved a substitute bill that consolidated all proposals to legalize divorce and dissolution of marriage.  Various questions arose from this news: how is divorce different from annulment?  Is it going to be an easier and shorter process than annulment?  Is it going to be cheaper?

These are interesting questions that led us to dig deeper into this topic.  We found remarkable information that can help us better understand and appreciate the proposal.  We hope you find these useful too.

Annulment vs. Divorce

What is the difference between annulment and divorce?

According to www.justia.com, an annulment of marriage is a legal decree that a marriage is null and void.  Annulments are granted when a court makes a finding that a marriage is invalid.  While divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

Annulment vs. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

Annulment applies to a marriage that is considered valid, but there are grounds to nullify it.  While a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage applies to marriages that are void or invalid from the very beginning.

Both annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage need to undergo the necessary court proceeding in order for the separation to be legalized.  Also, for purposes of remarriage, a court order must be released.  Without a court declaration, any subsequent marriages may be voided and the parties involved may be charged with bigamy.

Will legalizing Divorce in the Philippines make the process of separating from one’s spouse simpler?  Will there still be a need for a court proceeding?

Yes, there will still be a court proceeding in order for the divorce to be declared legal.  The committee that approved the bill refers to this as Summary Judicial Proceeding; this means that the legal processes involved in obtaining a divorce have been simplified and essentially, shortened, as compared to the processes observed in annulment.

What are the grounds for Summary Judicial Proceedings of Divorce?

  1. If the couple have been separated for no less than 5 years;
  2. If one of the spouses has remarried;
  3. If the spouses are legally separated for two years or more by virtue of a judicial decree;
  4. If one of the spouses have been sentenced to prison for six years, even if he or she is granted pardon by the courts;
  5. If one of the spouses has undergone surgery to alter his gender.

The summary proceeding (which short-cuts the entire judicial process in getting a divorce) is only applicable to the above situations.  Any other case that does not fall within the above scenarios shall still go through the longer and stricter court proceeding.

Will divorcing one’s spouse be the cheaper alternative to annulment?

Abot-kaya is how the news described divorce in terms of fees and expenses.  This is because the services of a lawyer is optional in divorce.

How will I know if I should divorce or annul my marriage to my spouse?  Am I free to decide which course to take?

This is a topic that is still being discussed by the technical working group that transmitted the bill.  According to their lead, divorce can be likened to a “merciful interment for irremediably dead marriage”.  Meaning, the marriage must have already disintegrated and that there is nothing left to save anymore.  “Only spouses in totally broken marriages and those void from the start are entitled to a grant of absolute divorce.”

Who decides when a marriage can be considered dead is still unclear.

Are you for or against legalizing divorce in our country?  Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic as we keep a close watch on the divorce bill’s progress in Congress and the Senate.

Thank you for dropping by!

 

References:

www.justia.com

http://news.abs-cbn.com

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06 - 29 (1)

A common question we receive from readers is how to remarry without going through the process of annulment or divorce.  Of course the obvious answer to this question is there is no other way for a married person to get married again unless his or her spouse dies and makes him a widow/widower.  This answer gave birth to more questions about negligence, abandonment, and presumptive death as grounds for the other party to seek solace in another person’s company.  Questions such as: I haven’t seen or heard from my husband for five years! Can I remarry now? fill our mailboxes almost every day.

Oh love, how could you be so sweet and bitter at the same time?

To help shine some light into this madness, we are sharing the following list of legal requirements for declaration of judicial presumption of death, as lifted from the Public Attorney’s Office website.  It would be safe to assume that the absence of any of these requirements would demerit your case of tagging your spouse as “deceased” and prevent you from marrying again.  If you have further questions, you may get in touch with a lawyer who can explain this to you in detail.

Read on.

“Before a judicial declaration of presumptive death can be obtained, it must be shown that the prior spouse has been absent for four consecutive years and the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the prior spouse was already dead.  Under Article 41 of the Family Code, there are four essential requisites for the declaration of presumptive death:

  1. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years, or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391 of the Civil Code;
  2. That the present spouse wishes to remarry;
  3. That the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead; and,
  4. That the present spouse files a summary of proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee.”

While the requirements may seem lenient, we must be reminded that the court will study the present spouse’s claim closely and will check if he or she exerted effort to locate the missing spouse.  It is up to the court to decide whether these efforts meet the required degree of stringent diligence prescribed by jurisprudence.  Proofs may be gathered to support the present spouse’s claim that he or she really did try to look for the missing spouse; these could be police reports, public announcements about the missing person, and personal testimonies of people involved in the search.

If you are in a similar situation, we hope the above article helped clear some areas you may still be struggling with.  Again, your best recourse is to seek the assistance of a lawyer.

If you have questions about annulment and separation in the Philippines, drop us a line and we will do our best to search for the answer for you.

Reference: www.pao.gov.ph

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Proof of Citizenship

After we graduated from college in 1998, my best friend, James, got married to his pregnant girlfriend who is a naturalized US citizen.  They got married in California and then flew back to the Philippines to settle here for good.  However, when their baby was born, his wife asked that they move back to the US so she can pursue her career in I.T.  My friend was only 20 years old then and was at the height of his career as a band singer, travelling all over the country and earning well.  He wanted to stay until his band is able to launch an album and go main stream.

His wife took their baby and left for the US anyway and left my friend behind.  But because James missed his daughter so much, he applied for a tourist visa and followed his family to Texas and spent a year trying to get used to his new environment.  That was all he needed to realize that he is not cut-out for the ‘American Dream’.  He came back to the Philippines with a broken heart.

Not long after, his wife filed for divorce and sent him the papers which he promptly signed.  She later married an American and are now happily settled in Connecticut with her and my friend’s daughter.

James, on the other hand, is also planning to marry his girlfriend of three years.  To be able to do this, he needs to file a petition for his divorce to be recognized in the Philippines.  He went to the Manila City Hall to find out how this can be done.

As the petition will be filed in court, James sought the services of a Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) lawyer to guide him in the legal proceedings of his case.  He was required to present a copy of his NSO birth certificate and that of his ex-wife’s.  Their birth certificates will support the rest of the documents they had on hand, proving his ex-wife’s citizenship at the time she secured the divorce abroad.  This is because under the Family Code, only the alien spouse has the legal capacity to seek a valid divorce abroad.  A Filipino citizen who files for divorce abroad will remain legally married to his spouse in the Philippines and will not be legally capable of marrying another person here.

In James’ and his ex-wife’s case, she was born in the Philippines but was petitioned by her parents to become a citizen of the U.S.  She acquired her American citizenship right before she and James got married.  This makes her the ‘alien spouse’ and is legally capacitated to seek divorce in America.

James ordered for copies of his and his ex-wife’s PSA birth certificates at www.psahelpline.ph.  His ex-wife had to send additional identification to the PSAHelpline (like her passport) since James will be receiving her birth certificate on her behalf.  It took less than a week for the birth certificates to be delivered and James was able to complete all required documents for submission to the city hall in less than a month.

He is now currently waiting for the results of his petition.  As soon as he receives the court’s acknowledgment of his divorce in the U.S., he would be free to marry his girlfriend here in the Philippines.

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Unlike other guys his age, Rey was never attracted to the promise of “greener pastures” in the United States.

He loved the laid back feel in the city of pines and he intends to stay after graduating from college. He has simple dreams of settling down in Baguio, to teach at the university where he is now majoring in Education, and regularly play with the acoustic band he formed a couple of years ago. He was looking forward to a quiet and uncomplicated adult life, a far cry from the one he had growing up in San Andres Bukid in Manila.

But as luck would have it, Rey’s long – time girlfriend, Beth, got pregnant a few months before they were set to graduate. When their parents found out, they were told to get married right away to “save face”; it was the classic “what will people say?” dilemma.

So in a haste, they processed all the necessary documents like birth certificates, certificate of singleness (CENOMAR), and secured a marriage license. Rey and Beth were married in Catholic rites at the St. Joseph Church in Pacdal, Baguio City. In less than seven months, Beth gave birth to a healthy baby boy they named Joshua.

A few months after giving birth, Beth, a natural born U.S. citizen, broached the idea of settling in the United States as soon as Joshua is big enough to be flown out of the country. Apparently, Beth was in the Philippines only to gain a college degree as this could be pretty expensive in the U.S. Her plan was to go back to the U.S. right after graduation; she was set to join her uncle’s software firm in Texas. Now that she is married with a child, she wanted to pursue her plans, with husband and baby in tow.

Beth’s suggestion did not sit well with Rey. He had his own dreams of settling down in Baguio and living the “simple, country life”. No one was ever going to uproot him from Baguio; not his young, idealistic wife and no, not even the promise of “greener pastures” in America.

It did not take long for the couple to decide on their fate. Beth will fly back to the U.S. with baby Joshua while Rey stays behind. They will try to raise their family apart and see if it will work. If not, Beth will file for a divorce so both of them would be free to pursue their separate lives.

Rey’s siblings were shocked to find out about his decision. While some would pay for a U.S. citizen to marry them so they can be granted a visa to legally stay and work in the U.S., Rey was practically giving his away. How could he?

Beth and Joshua left for Texas two days after Joshua turned one. Rey was devastated. There were days when he would ask himself if he made the right decision. He would spend hundreds of pesos on phone cards just to hear his son’s blabber from thousands of miles away. He thought he would never survive.

He saved up enough to buy a two-way plane ticket to be with Joshua on his second birthday. His son barely recognized him; Joshua kept crying for his mom when Rey tried to hug and kiss him for the first time in a year.

Rey’s visit helped him and Beth sort things out between the two of them. They both decided that the best way to get on with their lives and pursue their dreams is to go their separate ways. Beth promised Rey that he is free to visit Joshua anytime and that she would make sure to take their child on regular vacations to the Philippines so he could get to know Rey’s side of the family. Beth filed for divorce and had all papers signed by Rey before he left for the Philippines. Beth’s lawyer also requested Rey to sign documents to permit Joshua to travel alone with his Mom as his sole guardian in the U.S. Rey received the divorce papers eight months later.

Fast forward to fifteen years later, Rey met and fell in love with a fellow professor, Mia. Two years into their relationship, Rey proposed and asked for Mia’s hand in marriage. At first, they thought that Rey still needed to file for an annulment of his and Beth’s marriage in the Philippines in order to marry Mia. Their friends told them that Rey’s divorce in the U.S. is not recognized in the Philippines.

But Rey’s lawyer advised him of Article 26 of the Family Code; he only needed to file his divorce papers at the Regional Trial Court in Baguio City (where he resides) in order to get his PSA Marriage Certificate annotated properly. Turns out, he only needed to obtain a Judicial Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decree from a Philippine court in order to marry Mia. He did just that and in a few months, happily tied the knot in a civil wedding ceremony in Baguio City.

Rey and Mia have been married for three years now and are expecting their first baby. Joshua, Rey’s son by his first marriage, just recently turned 16 and will be traveling to the Philippines to visit his dad and hopefully, to meet his new baby sister. He is also planning to stay in the Philippines and study in the same university where his parents met 16 years ago.

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