Marital dissolution, everyone?


Calling it divorce won’t get in anywhere in Congress, because apparently, members of Congress seem too allergic to the word divorce.

Therefore, to go around it and give a bill on cutting off marital ties, it should be called the dissolution of marriage, instead of divorce, with the probability of many senators likely to support such a “dissolution of marriage.”

Senator Joel Villanueva, the son of a televangelist, said the divorce bill passes in the Senate only over his dead body.

Does Villanueva, who is just one vote in Senate really think he can stop such a bill from its passage should the majority go for the bill?

“I will definitely oppose it,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the “preamble of the Constitution states that we, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of the Almighty God… And when you talk about imploring the aid of the Almighty God, let’s find out who are we talking about, whose God are we talking about? The God who says when those who are joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Villanueva should know that religion and politics don’t mix and even when the preamble says that the Almighty God is being implored by the people along with the line that no man can put asunder a marriage blessed by God. Man has been busy putting marriages asunder, including Catholic marriage tribunals.

But again, Villanueva mixes religion with politics, which is really a bad mix, especially since the same Constitution also holds the principle of the separation of State and the church.

So why does he bring up God and religion especially when divorce or whatever else it is called, will have to be a civil case, where religion does not count in court?

However, Villanueva, who says no man can put asunder a marriage, says he is open to annulments, even as he admitted that in this country, annulments are only accessible to rich people.

He suggests that annulments should be made more accessible and affordable by having government lawyers available to those who need annulments.

Villanueva should open his eyes to realize that being denied a divorce law would not stop unhappy couples from parting ways and live with another partner without the benefit of annulment or legal separation, which is a most stupid law, since the abused and battered spouse is not allowed to remarry.

Senate President Tito Sotto said he would support such dissolution of marriage as a differently named bill for an expanded annulment of a marriage — as long as the word divorce does not pop up.

He added that he would be voting for the bill, as long as the term “divorce” is out of the picture.

Unlike divorce, Sotto explained that dissolution of marriage would simply relax the existing annulment process by making it more efficient and affordable.

He stressed that as long as the word divorce is not used, the probability of its passage is higher as many would support such a dissolution of marriage bill.

Those interested in getting out of a miserable marriage will most probably accept the change of name — as long as they can have the option to remarry.

There is still a problem, however. Not even a change of the word divorce to a dissolution of marriage is going to be any cheaper for married couples who lead different love lives, since they still have to hire lawyers who seem to be getting more expensive by the hour, and face the courts, probably thinking of ways and means to find the strongest grounds to get their marriage dissolved.

There could also be a problem of just one partner trying to get out of the marriage, while the other, for one reason or the other, just doesn’t want the marriage dissolved.

Then too, there is that problem of the courts of law taking forever to rule on the issues brought before the court by the couples, and again, the ruling should be made according to the grounds of the law — should the bill enacted be signed by whoever is the Republic’s President.

Of course, the length of time some courts take in deciding on civil annulments or even dissolution of marriage, if it is ever enacted and signed into law, can be much shorter, sometimes depending on the clout of either the parties or the influence of a “padrino.”

Senators and House members should really bone up on the prohibition period in the US where the liquor ban proved to be useless, as it didn’t stop people from drinking alcohol while hiding out.

In much the same way, the non-passage of divorce in this country will not stop couples from parting ways even without a legal divorce and live with another partner.

The best solution is for a no contest divorce — or, if the term is verboten — a no contest dissolution of marriage. No need for expensive lawyers and a long waiting time for the court’s resolution.