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  • Senate Panel Greenlights Absolute Divorce Bill

    A Senate panel has granted approval to Senate Bill 2443, the Dissolution of Marriage Act.
    by Em Cruz . Published Sep 20, 2023
Senate Panel Greenlights Absolute Divorce Bill
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  • The Senate panel has granted approval to the bill introducing absolute divorce in the Philippines, aligning the country with others that recognize divorce as a legal option.

    Senate Bill No. 2443, also known as the "Dissolution of Marriage Act," has gained the endorsement of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality. The legislation, consolidated and authored by Senators Risa Hontiveros, Raffy Tulfo, Robin Padilla, Pia Cayetano, and Imee Marcos, has also received the support of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, and Senators Grace Poe and Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, as indicated in Committee Report No. 124.

    This proposed law expands the grounds for dissolving a marriage and introduces the concept of divorce in the Philippines. Under its provisions, either spouse or both may seek a judicial decree of absolute divorce based on specific criteria:

    1. Five years of separation, continuous or intermittent, without a judicial decree of separation, provided that the spouses are legally separated by judicial decree under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines. In this case, a two-year period from the issuance of the decree of legal separation will suffice.
    2. The commission of the crime of rape by one spouse against the other, whether before or after the marriage.
    3. Physical violence or grossly abusive behavior, with the exception of lesbianism and homosexuality, unless either or both spouses commit marital infidelity.
    4. A final decree of absolute divorce obtained in a foreign jurisdiction by any Filipino citizen, regardless of their spouse's nationality.
    5. Irreconcilable marital differences or an irreparable breakdown of the marriage, despite earnest efforts at reconciliation, with a 60-day cooling-off period.
    6. A marriage annulment or dissolution sanctioned by a church or religious entity, or a marriage termination authorized by traditional customs and practices recognized by indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples to which the parties belong.

    Additionally, the bill stipulates that the court must determine child support in accordance with relevant Family Code provisions. Spousal support is also provided, with the caveat that the spouse responsible for the divorce is not entitled to such support.

    In accordance with this proposed legislation, failure to comply with court-ordered child support and/or spousal support may result in penalties, including imprisonment and fines ranging from P100,000 to not more than P300,000, in addition to unpaid support with compounding legal interest from the date of default until full payment. 

    The bill further outlines procedures for reconciliation under specific circumstances, invoking Articles 64, 65, and 66 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Moreover, it is noteworthy that the House of Representatives had already approved their version of the absolute divorce bill during the previous year.

    Divorce in the country

    The issue of legitimizing divorce in the country has been a long-standing one. A bill that allows for more affordable divorce (substituted House Bills 116, 1062, 2380, and 6027) was approved last 2018. A divorce bill (Senate Bill No. 2134) filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros filed on January 19, 2019 did not garner much support, leading to its re-filing on July 10, 2019.


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