Bill on dissolution of marriage filed in Congress
MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to ease Filipinos' access to legal processes to end a marriage has been filed in the House of Representatives.
Under House Bill 6027 filed last July 24, a marriage may be dissolved based on irreconcilable differences between the spouses, or severe and chronic unhappiness.
The bill, however, does not define or list grounds for what constitutes "severe and chronic unhappiness."
One or both parties may file a verified petition for the dissolution of marriage, along with a joint plan for parenthood over children in the case of a joint petition. The plan should contain details about the support, parental authority, custody, and living arrangements of the common children.
"Should the court determine that there exists irreconcilable differences or severe and chronic unhappiness, and in cases of a joint petition, where the joint plan for parenthood is sufficient to protect the rights and interests of the common children, the court shall grant the petition," the proposed measure read.
The bill also said that the court may also detemine the "best parenthood plan" to protect the rights and interests of the children.
A spouse who is found to have used threats or coercion to compel his or her partner to file a joint petition against his or her will faces a punishment of not less than 5 years imprisonment and up to P200,000 in fines.
House Bill 6027 was co-authored by Representatives Teddy Baguilat Jr, Rodel Batocabe, Arlene Brosas, Ariel Casilao, France Castro, Nancy Catamco, Pia Cayetano, Emmi de Jesus, Sarah Jane Elago, Gwendolyn Garcia, Ana Cristina Siquian Go, Edcel Lagman, Antonio Tinio, Carlos Isagani Zarate, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The bill was referred to the committee on revision of laws on July 31.
It was one of the House's priority measures this year.
Alvarez has been pushing for the measure, saying it would "make marriage stronger" as it would encourage spouses to make each other happy.
Currently, those who want to separate from their partners can opt for annulment – an expensive and lengthy process – or legal separation. (READ: The annulment business) – Katerina Francisco/Rappler.com