Panay News

Grace seeks to add abuse to grounds for marital separation

-  By Prince Golez, Manila Reporter

MANILA – Sen. Grace Poe is seeking to expand the grounds for legal separation to include sexual violence and abusive conduct.

Her Senate Bill No. 1366 seeks to amend Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippine­s which enumerates the different grounds for legal separation.

The provision currently requires “repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct” to justify a legal separation.

Such wording, according to the senator, is “problemati­c” since a “repeated” abuse or sexual violence puts the life of the victim at risk.

“The seemingly innocuous wording of this ground has put undue burden on victim spouses who woul have wanted to legally separate from their abusers but could not do so until they are physically and emotionall­y battered due to multiple instances of abuse,” Poe said.

“Why should we wait until abuse has become repetitive or gross? We should stop abuse at the first instance and we should not allow abusers take refuge behind gaps in the law.”

In filing the measure, the lawmaker cited the country’s committeme­nt to the Convention on the Eliminatio­n of All Forms of Discrimina­tion Against Women.

The human rights treaty for women requires party-nations to eliminate discrimina­tion against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.

Poe said her proposal applies to both spouses regardless of gender.

Other grounds for legal separation include physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliatio­n; attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostituti­on, or connivance in such corruption or inducement; final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonme­nt of more than six years, even if pardoned; and drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent.

Lesbianism or homosexual­ity of the respondent; contractin­g by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippine­s or abroad; sexual infidelity or perversion; attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or abandonmen­t of petitioner by respondent without justifiabl­e cause for more than one year could also lead to a dissolutio­n of marriage./

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