A senate panel has made progress by approving a consolidated bill that seeks to broaden the reasons for dissolving marriages and introduce divorce as an option in the Philippines.
In their report, the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality emphasized the importance of maintaining the sanctity of the family while also recognizing the duty of the State to protect the dignity of individuals, ensure the full respect of human rights, uphold equality before the law, and safeguard the best interests of children.
“Towards the end, the State shall adopt a divorce policy in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution…,” it said.
According to the Senate committee, to secure an absolute divorce in the proposed legislation, both spouses must submit a petition separately or jointly.
In cases where both spouses have common children, a joint petition should also include a comprehensive plan for parenthood. This plan should outline the provisions for child support, custody arrangements, and living arrangements for their 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,” it said.
Divorce bill gets approval from Senate panel
The bill proposing divorce in the Philippines outlines several grounds, which include:
- Five years of separation, whether continuous or intermittent, without the need for a judicial decree of separation.
- The commission of rape by the respondent-spouse against the petitioner-spouse, whether before or after the marriage was celebrated.
- The grounds for legal separation as specified in the Family Code, with the provision that physical violence or grossly abusive conduct need not be repeated. It's important to note that lesbianism and homosexuality shall not be considered grounds for divorce, unless either or both spouses commit marital infidelity.
- A final decree of absolute divorce lawfully obtained in a foreign jurisdiction by a Filipino citizen.
- Irreconcilable marital differences or irreparable marriage breakdown, despite earnest efforts at reconciliation.
- A marriage annulment or dissolution, duly authorized by a church or religious entity, or a marriage termination duly authorized by customs and practices traditionally recognized, accepted, and observed by an ICC or IP to which the parties belong.
In March, the House population and family relations committee took a significant step by approving a bill introducing divorce as an alternative method for dissolving marriages in the Philippines.