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House OKs divorce bill on 2nd reading

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading the bill which seeks to introduce absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage in the Philippines.

Via viva voce voting, the chamber approved House Bill 7303, or the proposed "Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines."

The bill provides for the institution of "absolute divorce" as judicially decreed after an irremediably broken marital union or marriage.

This means that after the divorce becomes effective, the marriage bonds will be severed and the former spouses will have the right to marry another person either by civil or religious ceremony.

It also ensures that the proceedings for the grant of absolute divorce will be affordable and inexpensive, particularly for indigent litigants and petitioners.

Under the bill, the grounds on the granting of an absolute divorce include:

  • The grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines;
  • Separation in fact for at least five years;
  • Legal separation by judicial decree for at least two years;
  • Psychological incapacity;
  • Gender reassignment surgery;
  • Irreconcilable differences; and
  • Joint petition of spouses
It also provides for a mandatory six-month cooling-off period, wherein the court will not start the trial for absolute divorce after the filing of the petition for six months to try to to reunite an reconcile the parties.

The bill also provides for an option for a one-time grant of alimony, or or the allowance for support made under the court to a divorced person by the former spouse.

It also provides for an option for delivering the presumptive legitimate, or the portion of a parent's estate which he or she cannot give to the children as inheritance, if the spouses are still living.

If the divorce bill is signed into law, the Philippines will join every country in the world, except Vatican, to allow divorce.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman has maintained that a law on divorce is constitutional, as it is not in conflict with the provisions on marriage enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. —JST, GMA News