House unanimously OKs bill recognizing civil effects of church annulment

Voting unanimously, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 6779 which shall grant the same effect as a decree of annulment by a competent court a church-annulled marriage.

The bill provides that whenever a marriage, duly and legally solemnized by a priest, minister, rabbi or presiding elder of any church or religious sect in the Philippines is subsequently annulled, dissolved or declared a nullity in a final judgment or decree in accordance with the canons or precepts of the church or religious sect, the said annulment, dissolution or declaration of nullity shall have the same effect as a decree of annulment, dissolution or declaration of nullity issued by a competent court.

The status of children of marriage subject of the church annulment decree shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines.

In case the ground for the church annulment decree is not similar to any of the grounds provided in the Family Code of the Philippines, their common children born or conceived before the issuance of the church annulment decree shall be considered legitimate.

Another provision of the proposal states the liquidation, partition and distribution of the property of the spouses, custody and support of the common children, and the delivery of their presumptive legitimes shall be agreed upon by the spouses, and embodied in a public document.

In case no agreement is met, the provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines shall be in force.

The bill mandates that the church annulment decree shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registries together with the agreement of the spouses required under this Act within 30 days from the issuance of the church annulment decree, subject to the conditions that may be imposed by the church or religious sect.

Either of the former spouses may marry again after complying with the requirements under the bill and Article 52 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

Likewise, in securing a marriage license, the spouse involved must present a certified true copy of the church annulment decree registered with the appropriate civil registry.

Authors of the measure are Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia, Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez, Nancy Catamco, Emmi de Jesus, Arthur Yap, Brosas, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Antonio Tinio and Ariel Casilao.

Source: House of Representatives

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