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Philippines: “Renewable Marriage Bill”

Categories: East Asia, Philippines, Human Rights, Law, Women & Gender

A partylist group in the Philippines wants to introduce a law that would put a ten-year expiration date [1] on marriage contracts. The unique proposal is the group’s answer to lengthy and expensive annulment proceedings in the country. The Catholic-dominated Philippines does not have a divorce law.

According to the group, the “Renewable Marriage Bill” [2] would “spare incompatible couples the expense of lengthy legal proceedings before their marriages are annulled.” The group added that a marriage contract “should be just like a passport or driver’s license. If we are not interested to renew it, then it expires.”

More than 500,000 marriages [3] are administered by the Catholic Church every year with less than 10 percent getting annulled and reported.

As expected, the proposed marriage license with expiration date generated an intense reaction in the blogosphere.

Writing for Lex Fori Philippines, Oscar underscores the impact of this proposal on property relations [4].

If we are going to equate marriage with a driver’s license, can we then take the future spouse for a test drive? That way, both persons will be spared from having to go through renewing or not renewing the expirable marriage license and save them money from holding the costly marriage ceremony.

Supposing that marriage will expire in ten years, what will happen to the property relations after 10 years? the validity of contracts entered into by the spouses jointly? Do we liquidate the properties, terminate valid contracts, and tell the children to expect lesser legitimes in the event one or both their parents remarry and have additional children?

John Odonnell R. Petalcorin prefers a bill that would decrease the cost of annulment [5] case proceedings

…if the proposal was conceptualized because of the expensive annulment case proceedings, I would rather propose a counter-bill to put a price cap on the cost of annulment. To make the process speedy, we can also incorporate a provision that the annulment can be approved immediately if both the husband and wife will exchange a verbally denounciation of their love for each other for three times

Ice9web Blog wonders whether a new marriage vow [6] will be uttered in ceremonies

If this will happen, gone are the days when the marriage vows are to be taken seriously “Til death do us part”?
Now what will the vow be? Till renewal to us part?

Some said that this will be the answer here in Philippines, since we don't have divorce and annulment takes time and lots of money… is renewal really the answer?

Pinoy Politico doesn’t understand why incompatible couples have to wait for ten years [7] before they can terminate their marriage

I don't understand why a person has to wait for a decade just to ditch his cheating wife. This is also the same for the women. If my husband beats me up everyday after 1 year of marriage, why should I wait for 9 years more? Maybe you should propose daily renewal so that you can check their marriage status.

Capt. Nemo is supportive [8] of the proposal

well this proposition just want to address the PRESENT situation that most of the Filipino couples are facing nowadays. Based on my perception, this is for the better and a solution that treat both sexes equality regarding marriage. For annulment can be acquired by those who are capable to “pay” the process. How about the poor who want to put an end in their not working relationship, can they go with the same process?

this proposition will motivate couples to value their existing relationship. In fact, they have the FREE WILL to either renew their marriage contracts or just junk the paper after 10 years.

Jappysworld is concerned about the welfare of children [9] if a couple decides not to renew their marriage

This is not the solution. I do understand that there are many people who couldn’t stand being married a minute longer, but what would happen to the children if this proposal takes effect. This may be beneficial to estranged couples but their children would be the one to suffer the most. It’s like saying on the 1st day after the 10th year of Marriage; a married person could do anything they want without regarding their responsibility and loyalty to their family.

Maureen Flores believes the proposed bill bypasses the sanctity of marriage [10]

This has been a laughing matter between my husband and I over the week. We're celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary today, you see. But really, the proposed 10-year expiry on marriage contracts is not funny.

I am also expressing my sincere disapproval on this proposal. I am concerned about how it will affect families and our society itself should this be passed. The sanctity of marriage is bypassed.