Isabela Rep. Lourdes Aggabao’s motion was unanimously approved by the committee members.
The substitute bill aims to ensure that the proceedings for the grant of absolute divorce shall be affordable, efficient and inexpensive, especially for indigent litigants or petitioners.
The grounds for absolute divorce are the existing grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage.
Also, a possible ground for absolute divorce is the couple’s separation for at least five years.
Other valid grounds include psychological incapacity of either spouse, irreconcilable marital differences, or a gender reassignment surgery of either spouse.
It also provides for a mandatory six-month “cooling-off period” between the time a petition is filed and when the court actually starts working on the case. This allows the court to exercise all efforts to reunite and reconcile the parties.
The bill penalizes spouses who are guilty of collusion with imprisonment of five years and a fine of PHP200,000.