Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Filipino Route Around

August 4th, 2009 · No Comments

Yesterday we looked at the economic benefits of the Philippines’ divorce ban. In doing so, we noted that while legal splits are certainly uncommon over there, they’re certainly not unheard of. Filipinos who want out of bummer marriages must opt for an annulment, which is ostensibly tough to obtain. But as is usually the case in all matters regarding our species, having deep pockets and knowing the right people can smooth the path to Splitsville.

There are seven grounds for annulment in the Philippines, and six of them are rarities (e.g. polygamy, mistaken identity). But the seventh is the hazy “psychology incapacity,” which is not defined in the nation’s Family Code. And so annulment petitioners have a lot of leeway when it comes to proving that one or both parties aren’t mentally fit to continue the union. No one need admit they’re insane, necessarily; you just need to hire a psychologist willing to testify that either you or your spouse isn’t as mentally whole as they could be. (Bonus points if this lack of mental well-being has caused one of you to abuse substances, or become something of an overall prick to your betrothed.)

The trick, of course, is having enough loot to hire the right psychologist, as well as lawyers with the connections necessary to get your annulment petition atop the government’s pile. (There are approximately 7,000 petitions currently in the queue.) That means the rich and famous have a much easier go of it, while the poor must simply separate and take second spouses who enjoy no legal rights.

The hypocrisy of the system has been noted by pro-divorce advocates, who Microkhan fully supports. After all, we’re big believers in the Natural Rate of Divorce; why can’t we accept that our species makes mistakes, and adjust our laws accordingly?


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