Divorce is not something I'd wish on any guy.
It is always a messy process. Men usually come out of a divorce as the loser too.
But you're coming to the Philippines to meet and stay with a lovely Pinay girl, aren't you?
Hopefully, it's long term, and marriage is on the books too.
What should you know about divorce in the Philippines?
Since 1954, divorce is illegal in the Philippines. It is impossible for the average person. There are two options to avoid divorcing a Filipino woman;  Don't marry her and  Work diligently at maintaining a harmonious relationship.
Other than the Vatican, the Philippines is the only other UN-member without the legal provision for divorce.
The lack of divorce proceedings has been the case inside the Philippines since 1954.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say on how divorce relates to non-Filipinos:-
The Civil Code of the Philippines asserts that it is binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even if living abroad. If a legally married Filipino citizen obtains a divorce outside of the Philippines, that divorce would not be recognised inside the Philippines. This can lead to complications when Filipinos divorce outside the Philippines.
Where a non-Filipino is married to a Filipino citizen and a divorce is obtained abroad by the non-Filipino spouse, the Filipino spouse can remarry under Philippine law, even if the non-Filipino spouse acquired foreign citizenship after the marriage.
If you are a Muslim, there are certain circumstances you can divorce, according to your Muslim beliefs. If you aren't a Muslim, the expensive process of annulment is currently your only other recourse.
Did you hear that Philippines divorce laws could be changing?
The tide for legalising 'the right to divorce' is still only 53% of the general population in favour.
Many bills, over the years, have been proposed. For any divorce bill to gain traction, the law needs to pass both houses of Congress. Sadly, most proposals never even receive a floor vote - the old traditional politicians in power are all staunch hard-liners; not sharing in that mentioned 53%.
As recently as February 2020, another bill proposing the legalization of divorce in the Philippines was approved; by the Committee on Population and Family Relations of the Philippine House of Representatives.
The wording of this particular bill is different though; it proposes divorce as a women's rights issue.
Proponents of this initiative argue women need to be able to get out of a loveless or abusive marriage. The bill's initiators explain it would allow Philippine wives to be liberated from abusive relationships and “regain dignity and self-esteem”.
On the flip-side, the opponents disagree and retort the bill destroys the institution of marriage; which has always been an official criticism.
This bill retains a further rule providing for a six-month cooling-off period after the filing of the initial divorce petition. The courts are obliged to try to reunite and reconcile the involved parties. Exceptions are if either spouse has been sentenced to six years imprisonment, or separated for at least five years.
The current 18th Congress of the Philippines runs until a specific date in 2022; led by the current Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
President Duterte is staunchly against divorce and continues to be vocal on the matter.
Don't hold your breath until at least after 2022.
It isn't sounding suitable for anyone looking to divorce from a Pinay girl.
The Philippines has always remained a Catholic stronghold; for faith and beliefs.
Ending a marriage goes against all Catholic doctrine and has been continually blocked, at the government.
With this in mind, what are your alternatives? What must you be doing or planning when thinking about a failed marriage?
Not marrying her in the first place is by far the best solution.
Cohabitation is on the rise; quadrupling from six per cent in 1993 to twenty-four per cent in 2013 among young adult women.
This rise in cohabitation is dramatic. A recent 2019 study suggests "...rising cohabitation in the Philippines is more linked to socio-economic disadvantage than the devaluing of marriage among educated elites."
While living with your Filipina girl avoids the need to divorce, it may not prevent her from getting a large percentage of the assets you've accumulated since meeting her though.
Article 147 of the Family Code of the Philippines:-
Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, [pieces of property] acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former's efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.
Article 148 of the Family Code of the Philippines:-
Art. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding article, only the [pieces of property] acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit.
You would be wise to read both the above articles again so you understand where any future claims might lead.
What's all that mean for an innocent ex-pat who has shacked up with a Pinay woman?
She can claim to have jointly contributed if you have acquired any property or other assets while living with her. You can't claim to be the bread-winner since she has participated in the care and maintenance of the family household.
You should seek necessary legal opinion to safeguard your financial security, in case the relationship turns sour.
The best way to avoid having to divorce a Filipina is to work on your relationship; so it remains in good health, and everyone stays happy.
Nothing remains the same between two people.
If you have found the right Filipina for your life, the Philippines is an ideal country to settle down. You'll enjoy your remaining long years in complete harmony, peace and lots of adventure along the way.
Both people must remain vigilant on the relationship and how it is tracking, over time.
Every successful business, the world over, starts with a defined plan.
Healthy relationships follow this same principle.
If you have no idea what you want to do in a relationship, it will wander off course. You want to avoid this from happening.
It is best to do a 'relationship plan' together with your Filipina girlfriend/wife in a relaxed manner and take your time.
Treat the plan as a game you both want to win.
If your Filipina spouse is the one for you, neither party should hold back on information. Harbouring secrets and doubts will steer your relationship into the murky waters of wanting a divorce.
Money is the No. #1 root cause for problems, between two people living together.
Neither party earns the same so an imbalance will always arise.
You need to have already covered and agreed on financial matters.
The Philippines and its people live a simple and relatively limited lifestyle. There will always be locals and family 'eyeing' off your wealth.
We recommend you keep your money to yourself; don't fall into the trap of adding anyone as a co-signatory to your primary financial accounts. This account is your bread-and-butter, your lifeline and your escape plan funds.
Do open a separate joint account with your Pinay girl though.
Use this for funding household spending. Your Filipina must take responsibility for managing the account.
If she also has a job, she must contribute to the joint account too.
Her percentage will be smaller, but it's essential for her to contribute, in whatever way your both agree.
Sadly, in the western world, sex is the No. #2 killer of relationships.
People have affairs because something is missing in their lives. For men, that is usually an unfulfilled sex life.
Let's avoid that from happening in the Philippines.
You didn't come all this way, to a different country, just to have the same problems as before.
Always passively and calmly talk about your mutual sex life in your initial plan with your girl.
Be mindful of pitfalls if she's not into what you want. Talk about them with her; she must be together with you.
You only know a person after you've lived together for at least 18 months.
Initially, people are shy to reveal themselves. This shyness isn't malicious, but they don't know you either so taking things slow is OK.
Over time, there WILL be areas and personality traits you don't like about her, and she will be the same.
It's entirely reasonable, so don't be alarmed.
What isn't normal is sorting them out in your head. People let these annoyances fester; eventually leading to adverse reactions.
Here's an exercise you must adopt; about what you don't like about your Pinay girlfriend/wife:-
A wide man once told me 'If she's taking good care of your stomach and your cock, what else is there to worry about?'.
Valid words indeed, thanks, Dad!
Divorce is an unpleasant experience.
It's almost impossible to do in the Philippines so you must be on your guard, from the 'word go'.
Avoid the situation and work on the plan to remain happy and content.
Can I stop a divorce with a Filipina?
What is the current state of divorce in the Philippines?
Author: Martin Cooney
Enjoying Life in Asia/Pacific
Hi, my name is Martin. I have many friends in and traveled throughout the Asia/Pacific regions for the past 17 years. I am passionate in helping others with my insight and past adventures.
I hope you enjoy the stories I write and take a little something away from them. I've contributed to over 160 posts on travel, dating, marriage and relationships.