In the United States, there is a freedom to divorce your spouse that many people around the world don’t enjoy. One of these places is the Philippines, where divorce in the heavily Catholic country is outlawed. So what to do when you want to dissolve your marriage? You get an annulment, but it’s not like the U.S. The process in the Philippines is a long and often costly path to freedom.
Those who want out of a marriage can choose between a church annulment or a civil annulment. Many choose the latter, but either way, they must establish that there was some issue with the marriage from the beginning that makes it unable for the couple to continue. The most common brought to court is that one of the spouses was psychologically incapacitated at the time of the marriage. Unlike in most states in the U.S. where there are no-fault divorces, these annulments are all about fault.
“It’s a travesty of the justice system,” said Philippines Senator Pia Cayetano, who has argued that divorce is a basic human right. While there is a movement toward divorce becoming more accepted, there is still a large religious base that is stead fast in their belief that divorce is a sin.
“Human rights are not absolute if they are against the plan of God,” said the Rev. Edgardo Pangan, a canon lawyer who handles church annulments for the Diocese of San Fernando.
World’s last legal ban on divorce doesn’t keep Philippines couples together (Washington Post)