If You Are A Citizen of This Country You Can Never Get Divorced!

If You Are A Citizen of This Country You Can Never Get Divorced!

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In most countries throughout the world, divorce is a complicated and expensive process. It’s the breaking of a contract between two people who have bound themselves to one another, and it doesn’t come without a cost to both parties. In one country, however, divorce isn’t just difficult to obtain. It’s forbidden altogether.

 

In the Catholic-dominated Philippines, in order to separate a marriage arrangement, petitioners must instead file for an annulment. Unfortunately, the annulment is designed to be granted only in the event that one spouse is unable to take up the responsibilities of marriage: that is, that at least one of them is mentally ill. To many citizens of the Philippines, this is an incredible burden–and the process, if it’s granted at all, can drag on for years.Infidelity isn’t enough to end a marriage. Abuse isn’t enough to end a marriage. Only extraordinary circumstances that prove that one spouse is completely incapable of continuing in the marriage are enough to dissolve the contract between spouses.Does this process lead to happier marriages? According to the 50-60% of citizens who would prefer to legalize divorce, apparently not. Some things, relationship therapy simply can’t fix. Every married couple has disagreements, and it’s not unusual for them to need relationship counseling at some point. Some problems, however, can’t be solved by taking relationship advice from someone who has never experienced the kind of abuse or infidelity that is tearing a marriage apart.

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The goal of the government in the Philippines is simple: they’re trying to prevent a “Las Vegas” mentality, where someone can be married one day and divorced the next, quick as a snap of the fingers. They want their citizens to take this contract seriously, to understand that marriage is a lifelong commitment and that they have to be willing to stick it out in spite of the difficulties. Unfortunately, in so doing, they don’t just trap people who have decided in a moment of fury that they no longer wish to be married. They’re also trapping people who can not safely remain within their marriage and retain their mental health.

For some people, knowing that divorce is illegal is incentive to put in the effort to work on their marriage. The long, expensive annulment process forces them to acknowledge the truth accepted by the Catholic church: a man and a woman joined in marriage have become like one person, and God has ordered that once He has joined them, they should not be separated. Sometimes, this is enough to convince them to try marriage counseling, or to make changes in their relationship, or to put forth the effort to “fall in love” all over again with a spouse for whom their feelings have faded over time.

For most people pursuing an end to their marriage in the Philippines, however, the ban on divorce isn’t helping them make the best of their existing marriage. It’s preventing them from getting away from a bad situation–and that means that they may never be able to move on with their lives.

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