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Not the only one

opinion / Latest Opinion
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Letters to the Editor

Not the only one

/ 05:02 AM August 19, 2017

Is the Philippines the only country that doesn’t allow divorce? According to some writers, it is. There are countries with “no-fault divorce” and “fault divorce.”

No-fault divorce is filed by the petitioner without indicating that either the petitioner or the other spouse is at fault. Fault divorce, on the other hand, can be likened to the annulment of voidable marriage or declaration of nullity of void marriage in the Philippines because the petitioner must specifically cite the ground for the dissolution of marriage. The ground or grounds must be proven. In effect, the petitioner is blaming the other spouse.

The Philippines does not have fault divorce, but there is no need for it because there is a counterpart. In annulment of voidable marriage or declaration of nullity of void marriage, the petitioner blames the other spouse or someone else for grounds enumerated in the Family Code of the Philippines. If the ground for the declaration of nullity of void marriage is psychological incapacity, the petitioner is blaming himself/herself or the other spouse, or both. For clarity, divorce advocates in the Philippines may say that what they want is a no-fault divorce.

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Assuming that the Philippines is the only country without divorce, is it necessary for our country to follow the world?

Peter Wallace, who I admire since I met him years ago when he was guest speaker at our school, said in his Like It Is column (“The only one,” Opinion, 8/10/17): “The Philippines is the only country in the world that does not allow divorce.”

Well, not really. The Philippines has relative divorce (“Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines” by Alicia V. Sempio-Diy, reprinted in December 2006) or legal separation. However, it only ends property relations and marital obligations.

LEANDRO N. OPETINA, general secretary, Circle of Advocates for Workers, Rm. 212, Jiao Building, Timog Avenue, Quezon City

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