“What God has joined together let no man put asunder” – this is a biblical phrase that best describes marriage in the Philippines, a country predominated by Christians. This only means that the Filipinos respect the sacrament of marriage for it is a union of two persons under the authority of God.
It is with this very same idea that the Philippines has continued to shy away from the idea of divorce in the Philippines, a law that grants the dissolution of a marriage. For the Filipinos, once a marriage has been validly contracted, the promise is no longer only between the spouses, it is also an eternal promise made in front of God.
However, marriages which have been defective from their commencement are not left without recourse. If prior to marriage there has been an incapacity on the part of either or both of the parties, regardless of whether or not such incapacity only became manifest after the marriage, the marriage can be judicially declared null and void, or it can be annulled.
Although there is no divorce in the Philippines, judicial declaration of nullity of marriage and annulment are made available to Filipinos. The difference between judicial declaration of nullity of marriage and annulment, and divorce is their ultimate goal. Divorce aims to dissolve a perfectly consummated marriage, while declaration of nullity aims to declare that the marriage is non-existent from the beginning. Annulment, on the other hand, aims to annul a marriage whose essential requisites are defective.
Hence, despite the growing demands for marital divorce, the Philippines has remained to preserve the sanctity of an inviolable social institution, that is marriage.