Wednesday, June 06, 2012

1978 Family Code of the Philippines and Divorce


“Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.” (Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 1)

In addition to the formal mention of marriage with specific reference to “a man and a woman” – which as a matter of course, excludes the so-called “Same Sex Marriage” – the more signal contents of the above legal understanding of marriage that make the latter a formal “special contract” according to the Family Code of the Philippines, are the following:

“Permanent Union”: Permanence is a categorical element of marriage. As a union, marriage is insoluble once it is entered into validly by a qualified man and woman. Thus it is that marriage is a covenant between a husband and wife, which is lasting, persevering, continuous and stable during the lifetime of the spouses. On the other hand, “divorce” says and affirms that marriage is but a temporary union subject to the desire and design of either or both spouses. Precisely, the possibility of “divorce” is categorically contrary to marriage as a “permanent union.”

“Conjugal Life”: Conjugal life is a constitutional feature of marriage. In other words, in and during marriage, the spouses undergo sadness and delight, pains and joys, successes and failures – together. This is the understanding and reality, the nature and implication of a “conjugal” union, viz., a life of sharing the burdens and rewards, the blessings and difficulties or married life. “Divorce” is thus anything but an affirmation of conjugal life in the sense that marriage lasts only long as long as one or both the husband and/or wife want it to be.

“Family Life”: Family Life is inherent to marriage. Father, mother, and child/children – this is common tripod of marriage. Let it be well noted that the husband and wife as spouses make marriage a “Conjugal Life.” It is their child/children that make them have and live a “Family Life.” It is under the said reality of marriage that the children born there from and therein, are given due importance – even but under the thought that the first casualty/victims of a “broken marriage” or “divorce” is nobody else than the child/children born of a conjugal union.

Marriage is a free and deliberate choice of the man and woman concerned. But after their marriage-in-fact, to get rid of their marriage is already beyond their merely personal unilateral or bilateral decision. Otherwise, they should not get married all – even but considering that the qualification of someone as “married” has immediate reference to his or her “status” which does not come or go merely at the will of the husband and/or wife. In more simple words, those who does not subscribe to the truth that marriage is permanent as a conjugal and/or family living, should not get married at all. This is but logical, but rational.