10 Reasons That Support the Legalization of Divorce — UPDATED

This article was written by Ana Santos and was also published on Female Network.

The Philippines is now the only country without divorce. Here are 9 reasons why we should enact our own divorce law.

It is official. The Philippines is now be the only country with no divorce law. Until recently, there were two countries in the world where there was no divorce—the Philippines and Malta. However, a recently concluded referendum in Malta showed that majority of the devoutly Catholic country were in favor of divorce so their government is now taking the necessary steps to craft their country’s first divorce law.

Now that Malta is joining the rest of the world in legalizing divorce, here are 10 reasons why the Philippines should follow suit.


For couples who want to dissolve their union or live apart, there are two options: legal separation and annulment. A legal separation allows a couple to divide their properties and live apart, but it does not dissolve their marriage, i.e., they cannot re-marry. In annulments and declaration of nullity of marriage, you have to prove that the marriage was invalid from the start according to a certain set of reasons such as impotence, homosexuality, mistaken identity, or psychological incapacity, among others.

Both are options are flawed. In legal separations, everything but the marriage is dissolved. Quite literally, the couple remains married only on paper. In an annulment, you must prove that your reason for wanting to nullify the marriage existed even before the marriage–this requires one to declare and prove that his or her partner is incapable of functioning as wife or husband.

The idea of couples wanting to end their marriages is not a new to Filipinos. As women’s rights advocate Beth Angsioco wrote in her column, “We already have laws for those who only want property settlement, and those with void and voidable marriages. Why not a law for valid but failed marriages?”

(Photo by steakpinball via Flickr Creative Commons)


According to Atty. Fred Pamaos, the Philippines once had a law on divorce. “Before the Spanish colonial rule 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 American period and Japanese occupation, some form of divorce was already in place. It was actually the 1950 Civil Code of the Philippines that abolished these laws.

(Photo by zt-kw via Flickr Creative Commons)


The Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines allows for divorce—however, with stipulations: namely, a man can divorce his wife, but a woman cannot divorce her husband.

(Photo by Kristal O’Neal Stock Photos via Flickr Creative Commons)



So you can freely decide to marry someone but it is a judge who gets to decide whether or not to grant you an annulment. An external party—who does not even know the couple–will decide whether or not their differences merit an annulment.

Why is such an important decision—about how the couple should live the rest of your life and with whom be left to a judge?

And yes, there have been cases where annulment was denied to a petitioner like in the case of Amy Perez. She appealed the case all the way up to the Supreme Court who also denied her petition, saying that:

The court also ruled that alcoholism, sexual infidelity and abandonment are not enough grounds to declare a marriage null and void.

(Photo from joerob.com)


According to the Philippine Commission on Womenwebsite, “physical injuries and/or wife battering remains to be the most prevalent case across the twelve-year period, from 1997–2009, accounting nearly half (45.5 percent) of all reported violence against women (VAW) cases nationwide.”

In the Philippines, spousal abuse and infidelity are not grounds for the annulment of marriage.

(Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr Creative Commons)


The most commonly used reason for an annulment is “psychological incapacity.” It requires that you prove that your spouse (or both of you) is indeed psychologically incapable of performing the responsibilities that come with being married. In legal terms, that means presenting evidence that proves this allegation. To back up your claim, you need to get a psychological report which can be expensive.

(Photo by whatmegsaid via Flickr Creative Commons)


Because of the separation of Church and State, getting a civil annulment will only mean that your civil union has been dissolved. This is fine if you were married in City Hall, but if you had a church wedding, this means that your church union is still intact. To nullify your church wedding, you need to go through the whole process again, this time with the archdiocese. This action will cost more and take longer.

Many opt to get only a civil annulment, but the drawback is that if you chose to re-marry, you cannot do it in church.

(Photo source: Wikimedia Commons)


According to a Social Weather Station survey conducted in March 2011, “50 percent of adult Filipinos agree and 33 percent disagree with the statement: ‘Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again.’” In 2005, a similar survey was conducted which showed that 43 percent of adult Filipinos were in favor of divorce and 44 percent were not.

This shows that the public, regardless of their marital status, is now more open to accept the possibility of divorce.

(Photo by jimmiehomeschoolmom via Flickr Creative Commons)


The cost of proving grounds for an annulment, such as psychological incapacity, requires the hiring of specialists and the like, which can cost thousands of pesos–not something everyone can afford.

Clare Padilla, Executive Director of EnGenderights, an NGO that provides legal services, pointed out that the current situation [no clear law on divorce] puts wives in abusive relationships in a bind: “Many women end up cohabiting with their current partner without having their marriage nullified. And because of this, some women are dismissed from government service precisely because of these ‘immorality issues.’”

(Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr Creative Commons)


Divorce—on any law, for that matter—will not destroy the family. It is only the members of the family who can do that. Putting a clear divorce law in place recognizes that some marriages work and some don’t. In cases where a union is more harmful than beneficial, a divorce can be a benevolent and less hurtful way of severing ties with your partner.

(Photo by oooh.oooh via Flickr Creative Commons)

11 thoughts on “10 Reasons That Support the Legalization of Divorce — UPDATED”

  1. Church is such a hypocrite!I am sure more than 80% of the population are living in the life of divorce union but not on paper. Wake up Filipinos make your mind up don’t let the church dictate you what to do. They ask donations everytime you ask their service, what are they doing to you in return? The church is living a nice life while it’s members are suffering.I am a catholic and educated in catholic school and I approved for the Divorce law instead of living in a lie. Divorce should be implemented sooner than later.Countries which applied Divorce law are more blessed economically and emotionally. It’s time to make a reflection if church really do evaluate their decision.Have you seen the church living in the squatter area?

  2. Filipinos should make their mind up and not listen to the church. It’s the people that suffer not the church. The time has come although it is very late for the Divorce Law to be implemented. I am a catholic and educated in thesame community and I approved of divorce and it’s about time people should act to better themselves.Church officials are living as a high almighty financially and it’s people have to worry what to eat the next day!

    1. this is a big help to approved this law…this is a tortured that we cant marry again..my husband leave me after the day of our marriage and its very tough to get annulled and its very expense….

  3. I fully approve Divorce Bill. Priests are such hypocrite people in my point of view. True the Bible says what God has put together,let no man assunder. How can they say that God has truly binded and blessed the marriage in the first place when after wards it becomes hell for either party? Hypocricy! Only them priest binded the marriage without God’s blessing. For if it was blessed,then no man can put assunder even the married couple themselves.These hypocrite priests enjoy looking at people suffering in their marriage unless the couple are wealthy and very well able to buy their holy principle. Only then they will approve that Annulment is the best for the suffering couple. Divorce had been existent even in the time of God. Prohibiting divorce is not included in the 10 commandments given by God. The 7th commandment says thou shall not commit adultery. Wake up people! Only Divorce can save a couple from adultery. Cohabiting with married partner is adultery, a sin in the eyes of God. But not the Priest in the Catholic church, because there will be no money in their pockets. That is why Divorce is not acceptable to them but Annulment is. They prefer looking at couple living in Sin,than accepting Divorce bill.

  4. Even for marriages that clearly lack the essential requisites, considered a marriage null & void from the beginning, it takes years to get a declaration of its nullity. It is not as simple process as stated in the Family Code, it takes a lot of money and a lot of time and sometimes, courts just deny this kind of petition because of technical defects only lawyers understand making such marriage valid although there never was from the beginning. In effect, Philippine courts can make something out of nothing. A marriage null and void from the beginning, after petition for declaration of nullity – a valid marriage. Why is it we don’t have clear guidelines/requirements for such petitions? Why be at the mercy of courts? Why make the decision subjective? I definitely go for divorce.

  5. Yes,i agree with divorced bill..
    i’m separated almost 6yrs.
    My ex husband now is living with her mistress and we have 4kids living w/ me.
    He is happy with his new family and have kids w/ there own.
    Yes he give an allowance w/ the kids but can’t afford them to go to collage ….,its just enough for there foods but sometimes not…

    The question is …how about me?…i will tie to our marriage forever …cos there is no divorced in the PHIL?
    I want to get out of our marriage to face a new life and re married again to the man i newly love!
    But how?….i’m poor i can’t afford the annulment then …it is infidelity or my ex not perform as a husband to me…and what if not granted by court because infidelity is not valid reason as i read in this column…
    For me marriage is a bond that should be kept if you can’t keep it don’t commit to it simple as that.
    At the same time you have to understand how the Philippines functions or more importantly how its dysfunctional in many ways when it comes to love and marriage.
    And its unfair to those unsuccessful marriage.

    In my case my ex husband now is happily living w/ her mistress….so i deserve also to choose what i want to do in my life.
    I want to re-married again.
    If anyone here can help me(we were married in municipal mayor) ..i will be happy but i don’t have money to pay.
    I just want to live happy and peaceful with someone i love now…but because i’m married its a hindrance to us,cos i want to make it legal to go into new relationship.
    I hope there is someone here can help me!!

    1. Hi Lorna.. We are on the same situation. Me and my husband were separated long time ago and our daughter is with me because he does not want to face his responsibilities to our child since we separated already.

      He’s been living happily with his mistress and their kid, and does not mind he is legally married to me. While me is having a hard time to start a new life with the new man that i love since i am still married and annullment is a very hard and costly process.

      I suffer emotionally, I want to be happy too and live a peaceful life. Why our country deprived us our freedom to live legally again?! When it comes to being religious, many people tend to commit sin that they do not want to do in the first place coz they only want to be happy again and have no other choice.

  6. Divorce law should be confirmed legally in the Philippines because many Filipinos and Filipinas have already signed off their names into approval or a consent to legalize a divorce paper with Filipino spouses in the foreign countries. Without a divorce law in the Philippines the Filipino spouses who filed a divorce from a foreign country right now are NOT required by law to support the minor children or an alimony to former spouses in the Philippines. A divorce law in the Philippines would enforce a children support and/or spousal alimony; otherwise, the chilren’s support and/or spousal alimony would be stopped at any rightful time because it is NOT required by divorce law.

    In order to receive a monetary support such as alimony from their spouse living in the foreign country, they must be legally divorced by the Philippine law. If not, the spouse who lives in another country and prefers not to support his/her spouse in the Philippines is not forced to support the spouse in the Philippines if their is no divorce law in the country, Philippines.

    A divorce law in the Philippines should enforce a lifetime alimony support to the needier spouse and their minor children. Without the divorce law either one of the spouses does not enforce child support or alimony to the needier members of the former marriages. A divorce law would keep the poorer member of the former marriage in better living support and a healthier living condition.

    Without a divorce law in the Philippines the Filipino spouses who filed a legalized signed divorce from a foreign country right now are NOT required by law to support the minor children or an alimony to former spouses.

    A divorce law in the Philippines would enforce a children support and/or spousal alimony; otherwise, the chilren’s support and/or spousal alimony would be cancelled right away because it is NOT required by Philippine Divorce Law. Thank you for allowing me to voice my humble opinion.

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