VFA-type marriage contract with expiry
IT SAYS in the news that the House committee on population and family relations has approved the bill seeking to allow the voiding of a marital union and permit the divorced spouses to remarry.
This is the nth time (we have lost count) that some congressmen are attempting to clear an easy path for couples who, for good reasons, want to part ways and be free to find, or bring out from the shadows, a substitute life partner.
If the wives or girlfriends of the congressmen on the committee want to find out how their partners voted, the news said that the approval was unanimous, which means they all voted for the absolute divorce bill.
The measure still has a long way to go and may even get lost again in the legislative maze, especially with the election season about to set in (and legitimize the early campaigning of moneyed candidates).
When the divorce bill comes up again, we would like to propose an amendment inspired partly by the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement that allows either party to end the contract simply by serving on the other a notice of termination to take effect after 180 days.
Our proposed amendment would make future marriage contracts valid not for life but only for 20 years, with an option to renew it for an additional 10 or 15 years, and periodic 10/15-year extensions thereafter.
An expiration date with an option for easy renewal makes the arrangement flexible for the couple and their children. If they intend to stay married, all they have to do is renew their marriage contract (vows), bond tighter and celebrate.
But if both of them, and a majority of the children, want out despite expert counseling and court-supervised best efforts to save the marriage, they need not go through draining divorce proceedings but just wait for their marriage to expire.
The provisions on the disposition of conjugal property and the care and custody of the children would follow existing laws or as provided in the bill as finally approved by the Congress and the President.
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THE proposed initial 20 years of the marriage should be long enough to build a strong union. But if not, the children would be old enough by then to understand what is going on. (The 20-year term can be fine-tuned and revised by the committee.)
Whichever way the couple and their children want to go, the process would be simpler and less costly. Legal forms or templates can be printed, ready for signing by the couple with minimum assistance of lawyers.
The existing grounds for legal separation, annulment of marriage, and nullification of marriage based on psychological incapacity under the Family Code are included in the bill as grounds for absolute divorce in the measure approved by the committee.
The bill includes other grounds for divorce: separation in fact for at least five years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed; when one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another; irreconcilable marital differences as defined in the bill; other forms of domestic or marital abuse which are also defined in the bill; valid foreign divorce secured by either the alien or Filipino spouse; and a marriage nullified by a recognized religious tribunal.
There were also amendments on court-assisted petitioners; community-based pre-nuptial and post-matrimonial programs; community-based women’s desks to provide assistance and support to victims of violence and abuse, and an appropriation language for the bill.
• US pullout messed up by bad intel
PRESIDENT Biden is right in deciding to pull out US forces from Afghanistan and turning over to its leaders the primary responsibility of rallying their people for nation-building and self-government – and to fight to defend it when threatened.
It is morally wrong for the US, an outsider, to meddle in domestic Afghan affairs. But while winding down American operations is a step in the right direction, the timing and the phasing of the disengagement appear to have been fouled up by bad intelligence.
Despite two decades of preparation and the US bankrolling of the administrative machinery, many civil authorities turned out in their final test this month to be ill-prepared to take on the responsibility.
Russia’s embassy in Kabul, btw, said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some of the money as it would not all fit in. (No, he didn’t fly to Hawaii.)
Government troops toting sophisticated weaponry that makes the Taliban salivate have not developed the will to fight for their own country. They faded away as the insurgents captured city after city on their way to claim the seat of government in Kabul.
This suggests that aside from Biden’s timing being off, his intelligence feed on the actual situation on the ground was spotty.
The propaganda opening was too tempting for China to ignore. The Global Times, a tabloid under the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper, warned Taiwan that in a confrontation, it would be abandoned by the US like it did Afghanistan.
The Global Times said: “The world has witnessed how the US evacuated its diplomats by helicopter while Taliban soldiers crowded into the presidential palace in Kabul. This has dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability of the US.”
The paper cited also the US pullout from Vietnam: “Many people cannot help but recall how the Vietnam War ended in 1975: The US abandoned its allies in South Vietnam; Saigon was taken over; then the US evacuated almost all its citizens in Saigon.”
Addressing Taiwan as “the region that relies on the protection of the US the most in Asia,” the tabloid asked, “Is (Kabul) some kind of omen of Taiwan’s fate?”
It warned, “Once a cross-Straits war breaks out while the mainland seizes the island, the US would have to have a much greater determination than it had for Afghanistan, Syria, and Vietnam if it wants to interfere.”