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Divorce critic files bill to expand grounds for annulment

MANILA, Philippines — House Bill 10488, or the Expanded Dissolution of Marriage Act of 2024, has been filed at the Congress by Manila Rep. Benny Abante, expanding the grounds for annulment and legal separation.

Abante, who has been very critical of the proposed divorce bill, said the bill will make annulment accessible even to the poor.

He underscored that expanding the grounds for annulment is “a better alternative to a divorce law,” which was approved on third and final reading by the House last May 23.

Under the measure, indigent and underprivileged petitioners who file for annulment can be provided free legal assistance by the Public Attorney’s Office.

The bill also makes domestic and marital abuse; physical violence or abusive conduct; drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, chronic gambling and marital infidelity as grounds for the dissolution of marriage.

The other grounds are final judgment sentencing the respondent to more than six years in prison, even if pardoned, and if the respondent attempts to “corrupt or induce the petitioner or the common child or children of the petitioner to engage in prostitution.”