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They can file for legal separation, which will allow them to separate their possessions and live apart, but does not legally end a marital union and thus does not permit remarriage.They can file for divorce if they are among the estimated 5 percent of the population that is Muslim and is governed by the Code of Muslim Personal Laws.The Spanish colonizers who ruled the island until the late 19th century imposed their own Catholic traditions, allowing “relative divorce,” or legal separation, in cases involving adultery or one spouse joining a religious order.But the relevant law declared that “so great is the tie and force of marriage, that when legally contracted, it cannot be dissolved even if one of the parties should turn heretic, or Jew, or Moor, or even commit adultery.” After the Spanish era, divorce laws depended on the colonizer.If I got into a new relationship, I risked being charged with adultery and jailed.I was 28 when I left my husband, 29 when I finally decided—against my family’s wishes and without their support—to file for annulment. And on the phone that day, I felt like the oldest 33-year-old in the world.* * *Under Philippine law, two people wishing to end their marriage have limited options.
But within a year of his birth, Perez’s husband had left her with their baby and gone to live abroad.The most recent statistics OSG provided me, based on a sample of such cases from 2010 to 2011, showed that 6 percent of these petitions were dismissed or denied.But this obscures the fact that such cases can drag on for years, and that court fees, which typically amount to nearly 0 just to file paperwork, can exceed the average monthly wages of Filipino workers, which a 2012 International Labor Organization study estimated at less than 0.“The system is so unfair, especially to women like me in a situation of abandonment. ” asked Perez, whose marriage didn’t formally end until a decade after her husband left her.Or they can get an annulment, which in the Philippines is a lengthy and expensive court proceeding.(An ecclesiastical annulment, granted through a Church tribunal, is a separate procedure, without which a Catholic cannot get remarried in the Church.
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Perez filed for an annulment in 2000, and was denied. In 2006, the Philippine Supreme Court declined to hear her case, declaring: We find [the husband’s] alleged mixed personality disorder, the ‘leaving-the-house’ attitude whenever they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family, are not rooted on some debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage.