'Renewable marriage' proposed

Posted at 01/11/10 5:35 PM

'Marriage is null and void if not renewed'

MANILA, Philippines - Unsatisfied with your marriage? Then simply wait 10 years for your marriage to "expire."

Women's party-list group "Isa-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso" or 1-ABAA 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.

1-ABAA president Margie Tajon 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.

1-ABAA is a women's group that claims to advocate women's economic empowerment.

The group, which applied for party-list accreditation this 2010 elections, aims to help women become entrepreneurs by giving them better employment, provide sources of livelihood, access to capital and other ways to make women financially independent.

Renewable marriage


There are instances under the law when a marriage license is not required, such as:

1. When the couple are at the point of death

2. If the couple have no means of transportation to appear before a civil registrar

3. If the couple have lived together for at least 5 years without legal hindrances to their marriage; and

4. If a Muslim or ethnic couple solemnizes their marriage in accordance with their customs.

Source: The Family Code of the Philippines

Tajon likened a marriage's lasting power to the shelf life of canned goods.

"If the canned food is expired, this one, if it is expired, you can renew it. [There is] no limit on renewal," she said.

"It will enhance the relationship of the couple. Initially, we talked about 5 years. But then, you know, if people know that there's going to be an expiry [date for marriage licenses], they will be more caring since this is a consent between 2 parties," Tajon said in an interview on Mornings @ ANC.

1-ABAA's measure only proposes to set an expiration date for a couple's marriage, and not their marriage license.

Under Article 20, Chapter I of the Family Code of the Philippines, a marriage license is valid for only 120 days (4 months) from the date of issue.

It will be deemed canceled "if the contracting parties have not made use of it" upon the date of expiry.

1-ABAA is reportedly confident that its proposed measure on giving marriages 10 years of validity will be passed in the next Congress.

Annulment made easy?

Under the proposal, Tajon said, a separated couple's children would remain legitimate and that properties would be divided in court.

There are existing provisions in the law that deal with children of separated parents. Tajon said they will not meddle with that aspect of the law.

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.

Divorce is not recognized under Philippine laws.

However, 1-ABAA's representative said their proposal highlights the need for "dynamism in our laws to adapt to the changing times and prevailing situations, without necessarily putting aside values and traditions." Report by Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News.