Philippines moves closer to Absolute Divorce as House approves bill

The bill still needs Senate approval before becoming law.

The Philippines took a huge step towards legalizing absolute divorce on Wednesday after the House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 9349, also known as the Absolute Divorce Act. The bill received 131 affirmative votes, 109 negative votes, and 20 abstentions.

Bill author Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said it highlights the potential impact on Filipinos trapped in “unhappy and irreparable marriages.”

The Philippines is currently the only country alongside the Vatican where absolute divorce is illegal. HB 9349 establishes limited grounds for divorce, including psychological incapacity, irreconcilable differences, domestic abuse, and spousal sex reassignment surgery. Additionally, legal separations exceeding five years can also qualify.

While the bill streamlines the process compared to the current annulment system, it avoids “no-fault divorces.” After the petition is filed, the proper family court shall exercise all efforts to reunite and reconcile the concerned spouses during the mandatory 60-day cooling-off period. The court can then decide the case within a year.

The legislation also addresses child custody, property division, alimony, and the ability of reconciled couples to nullify the divorce decree.

While the bill passed the House, it still needs Senate approval before becoming law. The passage by the House, however, is a significant milestone and suggests a growing acceptance of absolute divorce in the Philippines.

Source: PNA
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