Carl and his wife were in an annulment court.
The custody of their children was an issue. The mother leaped to her feet and protested to the judge that since she brought the children into this world, she should retain custody of them.
The man also wanted custody of his children, so the judge asked for his justification.
After a long silence, the man slowly rose from his chair and replied, “Your Honor, when I put P20 in a vending machine and a Coke comes out, does the Coke belong to me or the machine?”
He was driving home one evening and realized that it was his daughter’s birthday, and he hadn’t bought her a present. He drove to the mall and ran to the Toy Kingdom and asked the store manager, “How much is that new Barbie in the window?”
The manager replied, “Which one? We have Gym Barbie for P1,999.95; Ball Barbie for P1,999.95; Shopping Barbie for P1,999.95; Beach Barbie for P1,999.95; and Divorced Barbie for P3,750.”
“Why is the Divorced Barbie P3,750 when all the others are P1,999.95?” Carl asked, surprised.
The manager replied, “Well, Divorced Barbie comes with Ken’s car, Ken’s house, Ken’s boat, Ken’s dog, Ken’s cat, and Ken’s furniture, and finally!”
Our country had actually practiced divorce even before we were colonized by Spain. It continued during the American period and Japanese occupation.
The reality is, divorce has been in our midst then but we were too afraid to admit it existed. In fact, if one goes over records of the Constitutional Commission that drafted our fundamental law, the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution was not to bar Congress from enacting a divorce law despite the provisions on protecting the family as a social institution.
This is important because when the constitutionality of a law is being questioned, the spirit and intent of the framers is always referred to.
At present, the only recourse of one trapped in an unhappy or loveless marriage is a petition to declare the marriage as null and void.
A divorce, Pinoy-style, would be an Alternative Mode for the Dissolution of Marriage. There are divorce bills pending before Congress and the Senate although the predominantly Roman Catholic population is up in arms against it on moral grounds.
The grounds for divorce include all grounds for legal separation and annulment under Article 55 and 45, respectively, of the Family Code but like its counterparts abroad, an all-in-shotgun-ground of irreconcilable differences is now available.
Irreconcilable differences is defined as substantial incompatibility of the spouses due to their intransigence or fault by holding on to divergent behavior resulting in the total breakdown of their marriage, which could not be repaired despite earnest efforts to reconcile. Unlike in nullity, it will not matter anymore if the grounds to have existed before or during the wedding ceremony.
Additionally, new grounds have been added for divorce, Pinoy-style like, when the spouses have been separated in fact for at least five years, psychological incapacity of either spouse under Article 36 of the Family Code, whether or not such incapacity existed at the time of the marriage or supervenes after the marriage, undergoing gender reassignment surgery, when a valid foreign divorce has been secured by either the alien or Filipino spouse,or when a marriage is nullified by the Roman Catholic Church or any other recognized religious sect or denomination.
The latest Supreme Court ruling in Tan-Andal v. Andal, G.R. 196359 states psychological incapacity as basis for nullifying a marriage is not a “medical but a legal concept.” The testimony of a psychologist or psychiatrist “is not mandatory in all cases.” The 15-man court stressed that “the totality of the evidence must show clear and convincing evidence to cause the declaration of nullity of marriage.”
Many say this paves the way for divorce, Pinoy-style.
As it is, the time is probably right, divorce would give another chance for couples in pursuing a life of their own.