MARRIAGE EXPIRATION DATE BILL PENDING IN CONGRESS

The Philippines remains one of the few countries in the world that has not legalized divorce. While the clamor for it’s legalization continues from the Catholic dominated public, the congress remains hypocritically staunch on the spirit of preserving the family. Now enters an ingenious proposal – a marriage expiration date.

A women’s party-list group plans to propose in Congress a measure requiring couples to renew their marriage after 10 years, or else their marriage would be null and void.

The party list group president said the measure would “save incompatible couples the trouble of going through a tedious and expensive annulment process.” She said it would also help cut down the number of annulment cases that have piled up in court. Under the proposal, a separated couple’s children would remain legitimate and properties would be divided in court. There are existing provisions in the law that deal with children of separated parents which will not be meddled with.

The party-list group also added that their proposal does not seek to offend the Catholic Church, which emphasizes the sanctity of marriage and has been strongly opposed to divorce.

However, a representative from the party list group said their proposal highlights the need for “dynamism in family laws to adapt to the changing times and prevailing situations, without necessarily putting aside values and traditions.”

The bill could use some polishing. In particular, the part which deems a marriage null and void if not renewed after 10 years. Why bother a couple if they’re happily married to begin with? Instead, the bill should state that a marriage is automatically renewed unless the parties should decide to impose the expiration date. Of course, that would mean no renewal fees for the government to feast on….but that would be a different story.

Overall, the bill has been received with a mixture of optimism and incredulity.

Optimism because the citizens who want out of an unhappy marriage would now have a legal and inexpensive way out. The other options are annulment, which might cost as much if not more than the wedding, or the death of one of the spouses which could be arranged….okay, again, a different story.

….and incredulity because the bill seems like a blatant attempt to circumvent the divorce bill that can never get past the hypocrites in the lower house. Who knows, they might just be fooled this time and give the Filipino people the long sought for freedom to choose who they want to love and live without.

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