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1 When There's No Happy Ever After Every marriage is always considered to be a happy ending, such as in fairytales or in the soap

operas. After facing many challenges, the couple is ready to commit their lives for a life time through the marriage ceremony. The flowers, singing, the exchange of vows symbolizes their love and commitment to make the marriage work out. However, there are many cases which, unfortunately, the marriage just didn't work out. Different factors can be blamed to this physical and verbal abuse, infidelity, the husband or wife just turned into a madman. Whether we admit it or not, a high percentage of Philippine couples broke up after facing problems in their marriage. Maybe you know a friend or a relative, or even yourself who came to this turbulence. Sad fate, there's still no divorce law in the Philippines (at least for the majority of the population), due to cultural and religious circumstances. When it comes to dealing with separation of couples, our divorce laws here may be tricky to comprehend. But it doesn't undermine the fact that there's relief available for those whose marriages came to a dead end. Divorce in the Philippines Divorce is still, basically, banned for marriages between two Filipinos, even if the marriage was done abroad. For mixed marriages (those of a Filipino and a foreigner), the Filipino may be able to remarry again if they have a divorce later on outside of the country (Article 26, Family Code). However, complications may arise in having the courts recognize the divorce, for the Filipino may be considered

committed bigamy even if his marriage was divorced outside of the country. Muslims, on the other hand, are exceptions to the law and can divorce their partners (even if their partner's not a Muslim), for as long as they were married under traditional Muslim law. This is

2 allowed by Presidential Decree 1083 or Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines. Annulment Even though there's no divorce law in the country, an option is available to end failed marriages. Annulment, on the very least, is similar to divorce, but in order to annul a marriage, certain grounds must be proven to judge the petition for annulment: 1. Lack of parental consent (for couples 18 to 21 years old) 2. One of the couple is insane 3. The consent of the husband or wife was forged 4. Either the husband or the wife was forced to marry 5. The husband or wife is impotent 6. One of the partners has a sexuallytransmitted disease (STD)

Certain grounds like separation, lack of communication, or even infidelity is not valid to annul a marriage. Homosexuality or physical violence is not grounds for annulment either. Declaration of Nullity

Since there are some cases where the marriage is technically void, Philippine law provides an option to end the marriage in a declaration of nullity. Those who are married below the age of 18 are automatically considered void. Powers of the solemnizing officer and even the lack of marriage license may be considered for the nullity. Incest (marriage between people of the same blood/family line) and bigamy/polygamy can also be used for the case of the grieved party. An interesting ground for nullity of marriage is psychological incapacity. Any act which can be interpreted as a refusal of either the husband or the wife may be valid reasons for the marriage to be null. But to prove that the party is incapable for the marriage, it should be proven by psychological experts as dictated by Article 35 of the Family Code.

3 Legal Separation Another option for separating husbands and wives is legal separation. This is a degree given by the courts, similar to annulment. But unlike the other 2 forms of separation, legal separation still considers the marriage valid and its only purpose is to legalize the break up of the husband and wife due to circumstances such as: 1. Repeated physical violence (either to the husband/wife/children) 2. Forcing the partner to change his religion 3. Attempts to make the partner or their child enter into prostitution 4. Final judgment for the petitioner for cases he is facing (imprisonment of

more than 6 years) 5. Drug addiction or alcoholism 6. Homosexuality 7. Bigamy

8. Sexual infidelity 9. Attempts to kill the partner 10. Abandonment without cause (for more than 1 year)

A declaration of legal separation still requires the petitioner to prove his or her allegations in the petition. Law also mandates a 6-month cooling-off period where the couple is given time to, if ever, reconcile and think twice of obtaining the separation. (This provision is not applicable for annulment and declaration of nullity.) These legal options, even if theyre free for all to obtain, only works out as a safety net if something very grave happens during the course of the marriage. Some sectors of society still push of a divorce law, which is still pending in congress. But whatever form of separation may be legalized, it is not enough as an excuse for the couple to forget their duties, for they still vowed to commit themselves to one another. Only when the moment strikes and the marriage is deemed over, these options works out in order to simplify the repercussions and make the sad ending less heavy to bear.

Works Cited Annulement In The Philippines | Philippine Law Firm." Philippines Lawyers Attorneys. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <http://www.bcphilippineslawyers.com/philippines-

divorce-and-annulment/>.

"Annulment, Divorce and Legal Separation in the Philippines: Questions and Answers at Philippine E-Legal Forum." Jaromay Laurente Pamaos Law Offices - Jaromay Laurente Pamaos Law Offices. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <http://jlp-

law.com/blog/annulment-divorce-legal-separation-in-the-philippinesquestions-and-answers/>. Fred, Atty. "Allowing Absolute Divorce in the Philippines." AttyAtWork.com | Legal Thoughts and Beyond. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <http://attyatwork.com/allowing-absolutedivorce-in-the-philippines/>. "Guidelines in Psychological Incapacity (Article 36, Family Code) at Philippine ELegal Forum."Jaromay Laurente Pamaos Law Offices - Jaromay Laurente Pamaos Law Offices. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <http://jlp-law.com/blog/guidelines-

psychological-incapacity-article-36-family-code/>.