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A technical working group (TWG) chaired by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman approved on March 2, 2023 the consolidated substitute bill reinstituting absolute divorce in the Philippines.

“I am elated to report that the Philippines is at the threshold of joining the community of nations upholding the universality of divorce,” Lagman said.

The following amendments were unanimously approved and consolidated to HB No. 78 which Lagman authored and was used as the template of the TWG deliberations:

  1. Increasing the length of spousal support from two (2) years to three (3) years after the divorce decision, provided that meanwhile, the innocent spouse has not remarried or has not acquired gainful employment.

  2. Increasing the penalty of fine from P200,000 to P300,000 for colluding spouses or a spouse coercing another to file the divorce petition.

  3. Allowing joint petitions where the grounds for divorce are subject to summary proceedings.

  4. The right to file a divorce petition prescribes ten (10) years from the occurrence of the cause for divorce, or from the discovery of the cause for divorce, or from the effectivity of the Absolute Divorce Act, whichever comes later.

  5. Decreasing the cooling-off period from six months to sixty (60) days in order to expedite the proceedings, and moreover, the spouses can still reconcile during the pendency of the petition and even after a divorce decree has become final.

  6. The proper Family Court is mandated to decide the petition for divorce within one (1) year after the lapse of the cooling-off period without the spouses reconciling.

  7. The proper Family Court shall appoint an administrator to manage the conjugal property of gains or the absolute community of property during the pendency of the divorce proceedings in order to prevent dissipation of the common properties.