No Such Thing As Divorce In The Philippines; It’s Illegal!

There is just one country in the world in which it is illegal to divorce; the Philippines. And it looks likely to remain that way for some time to come, since no one in government or in the running to become the next president, seems keen to change the law to reflect more modern times.

In a recent press conference, Mar Roxas (former interior minister), Senator Grace Poe, vice president Jejomar Biney, and mayor Rodrigo Duterte were all asked to raise their hands if they thought it was time for the laws in the country to be changed. No one moved.

The Philippines is a mostly Catholic country, and as such it follows what Vatican City does extremely closely. Since it is illegal to divorce within the Vatican, it is also illegal to divorce in the Philippines. And until the Vatican relaxes its own rules it looks set to stay that way.

But even if the laws were to change, the Filipinos who it affects would not want it to go ahead. A recent survey showed that over 60 percent of Filipinos not only accepted but agreed with the fact that divorce was illegal in their country – even if they wanted to separate from their spouse.

For many in the Philippines, knowing that it will be impossible to be granted a divorce should they want one, there is extra time taken over the decision to marry in the first place. It is never rushed into because it is forever. Therefore, it could be argued, there are fewer Filipino couples who want a divorce than couples who want divorces (and will be granted them) in other countries. Marriage in the Philippines is a one-time, lifetime thing, and is more sacred perhaps because of that.

However, serious consideration before a marriage cannot predict what will happen in the future, and couples often simply drift apart from one another. Divorce in this situation is often a good idea for both parties, as they can still be friends but will also have a chance of happiness elsewhere and with someone else. It is also a problem when it comes to domestic violence – there is nowhere for the victim to go.

It is absolutely legal to divorce in the UK; and sometimes it is absolutely the only choice. If you wish to discuss your divorce with us, please get in touch.

Simon Walland