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A Position Paper Against H.B. 6993 (Divorce Bill) As authored by Rep. Manuel Ortega

Prepared by: Louiseville Jungco, BSBE (UP Diliman), UP Law School Nicole Paterno, AB European Studies (Ateneo) Mayumi Wada, AB European Studies (Ateneo) Marga Tabangcura, BS E.C.E. (UP Diliman) Len Almendral, BS Economics (UP Diliman) Millet Roque, BS B.A.A. (UP Diliman) Cathy Torres, BS Psychology (UP Diliman) Kristine Malabanan, BS Biology (UP Diliman) Anna Datu, AB Economics Honors (Ateneo) Andrea Cabrera, BS E.C.E. (UP Diliman) Jovylyn Belle Ya Chi, BA Journalism (UP Diliman) Imogene Evidente, BS Math (UP Diliman) Hilda Naive, BSc. (Honors) Economics (UCL, London) May 23, 1999 For comments, suggestions, inquiries, contact: Cathy at 9416468, Mi-an 4156493 or Nicole at 9310991 or 9511191 ~~~~~~~~~~

Honorable Legislators, we respectfully submit here a position paper affirming and substantiating our stand against H.B. 6993 (Divorce Bill) authored by Rep. Manuel Ortega. We endeavored to approach the issue in a scholarly, objective and pragmatic manner.

But before anything else, we would like to thank Rep. Ortega for courageously bringing to the fore of intellectual discussion a concern over something so important as the matter of broken marriages. We believe that the honorable representative has only the best interest of the Filipino in mind and heart, and is solely after the truth. We are with you, Sir, in that same search for truth and share that same regard for our people.

We have studied that evolution of the proposed bill and are aware that its latest version is presented as a pro-choice (between Legal Separation and Divorce) model. However, we will present here in our paper that Legal Separation is the superior alternative and that Divorce should not even be presented as an option. The crux of the paper asserts that Divorce does not cure the malady of a broken marriage, but rather, worsens it and subjects our people into a spiral of events ending in our utter detriment. While at the same time, Legal Separation provides reprieve for broken marriages without the attendant harmful effects of divorce, and that with further improvements and proper implementation, it will prove to be the optimal solution where it applies.

It is worth noting, however, that there are many (perhaps far more in number) happy marriages. The intense discussion on broken marriages should not blind us to the reality that long-lasting marriages work and continue to beautifully nurture us in their steady embrace, bringing forth citizens who will constitute the bulwark of a strong Philippine society.

ARGUMENT 1: HB No. 6993's specific objective is to "allow spouses in an irretrievably broken marriage to remarry (a legal remedy to extricate themselves from the ordeals of a broken marriage) and possibly succeed in attaining a stable and fulfilling family life. " (Rep. Ortega in HB 6993's Explanatory Note)

The fact is, there already is a way by which spouses can extricate themselves from the ordeals of a broken marriage and that is Legal Separation As it is, Legal Separation is already superior to Divorce, and it will prove to be optimal if further improved and implemented properly.

But why say that Legal Separation is superior to Divorce? Chapter 2 of the Bill, the Chapter on Divorce, is itself almost entirely the existing laws on legal separation but for three adjustments: 1) the inclusion of "irreconcilable differences" as additional grounds for divorce; 2) revisions and additions with regard to matters of child custody, financial arrangements, prescription and effectivity of the provisions, and; 3) the dissolution of the marriage bond, thereby bestowing on the divorced couples the right to remarry.

The first two adjustments are not fundamental, and if proven to be reasonable, can and may well be absorbed into the existing laws on legal separation. That leaves only the third adjustment, the dissolution of the marriage bond and the consequent right to remarry, the vital and fundamental difference between divorce and legal separation. Divorce allows for remarriage; Legal Separation doesn't. And it is precisely because Legal Separation prohibits remarriage that it is superior to Divorce.

What's wrong with remarriages? Facts and figures reveal that remarriages lead into UN-"STABLE" and UN-"FULFILLING" FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. This is directly defeating the purpose of the bill which is to "allow separated remarry and possibly succeed in attaining a stable and fulfilling family life."

A) PSYCHOLOGICAL/ EMOTIONAL DEMANDS OF REMARRIAGES. Remarriages (and, of course, stepfamilies) are very complex arrangements which increase stress, tensions that render the new marriage troubled, un-"stable" and un-"fulfilling". Full discussion is provided below.

* CONCRETE PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL COSTS. To effect a stable and fulfilling family life, the stepfamily attempts to develop relationships and foster an environment much like a nuclear family's. However, emotional stress and tensions in both child and adults multiply along the process. Massive denials and distortions of reality demand enormous emotional energy and considerable psychological costs. Emotional losses will result from severance or lessening of the stepfamily members' ties with former family. Moreover, there would always be friction in matters of acceptance and recognition among stepfamily members. (Papernow, 1993).

* Compounding the complexity of remarriages and stepfamilies would be UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS that make for further complications. Some of these unrealistic expectations include that of instant love, ready acceptance, speedy development of new family traditions and rituals and pseudomutuality or the tendency to deny history, ambivalence and conflict. With regard to pseudomutuality, remarried couples, eager to make the marriage work this time, refrain from

confronting and challenging each other so that problems don't get resolved and spouses are led to feeling alienated and powerless. All these mean a greater tendency for the second marriage to fail (again). (Remarried Family Relationships, 1994).

B) REMARRIAGES WILL MOST PROBABLY FAIL. Experts and clinicians assert that successful remarriages necessitates "successful adaptations to previous changes" lest "the stepfamily inherits trouble" or the resolution of earlier issues and developmental tasks. Without such resolutions, energies cannot be focused on building stepfamily relationships (Ibid.). Yet:

* Ahrons (1994) found out that only 12% of divorcees are able to create friendly, low-conflict relationships after divorce; 50% of middle-class divorcees engage in open conflict even after 5 years and; almost 1/3 of initially friendly divorcees degenerate into open, angry conflicts, often triggered by remarriage of one or both partners; only roughly of divorced families are able to establish relationships that are considered civil or friendly among divorced parents and their children. Statistics by Wallerstein also found out that after 10 years of divorce, almost 1/2 of middle class divorced women still have angst against their ex-spouses.

These figures show that divorce does not put a total stop nor a final end to the ordeals of a broken marriage experienced by the spouses as most people simplistically think, and that to expect it to do so is a "magical assumption" (Maggie Gallagher, Abolition of Marriage, p. 102). But more important, these figures reveal the overwhelming lack of the necessary requirement (adaptation to previous changes and resolution of former issues and developmental tasks) for remarriages to succeed, such that in great probability, remarriages of divorced individuals will end up as un-"fulfilling" and un-"stable" emotionally and psychologically.

C) THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT: COMPOUNDING THE ORDEALS OF A BROKEN MARRIAGES. With the high probability of remarriages failing, the ordeals of broken marriages suffered by the spouses are multiplied as well. More so, when these remarried couples divorce, remarry and divorce again. Failing in one, they exit and search for success elsewhere, success which becomes more elusive the next time. In the end, it becomes a self-perpetuating/ redundant process that compounds emotional/ psychological scars and leave many broken marriages and broken families in its wake.

* SOME FACTS AND FIGURES. Robins and Regier (1991) found annual rates of depression per 100 people to increase with the number of times a person divorces (and remarries): only 1.5/100 for married couples, 4.1/100 for those divorced once, but 5.8/100 for those divorced twice; also, incidence

of alcoholism increases from 8.9% among intact families to 16.2% among spouses who divorced/ separated once, up to 24.2% for those divorced/ separated by more than once. Remarriage is likely to occur in 1 for every 3 marriages. This results to 1 in 5 children experiencing their parents' divorce and the remarriage of at least one of them during childhood. Already, remarriage rates have increased from 1961 to 1983, with the rates for men 3X ah high as for women; marriages in which both partners remarry rose from 9% in 1961 to 32% in 1987 (Robinson, 1991). For further figures showing the increase in remarriage rates, please see argument 3, subsection C, titled "ON SOCIETY".

D) FINANCIAL COMPLICATIONS. Divorce in itself is expensive and the costs are unpredictable, even with pre-divorce agreements. And even granting that divorces could be had at tolerable costs, the financial situation of the entire family would still be greatly upset. For one, there is the splitting of family resources that defeats the synergistic effects of resource-pooling in a family. For another, there is a doubling of living expenses as divorce, and remarriages, would require a doubling of costs of living for each family: two homes, appliances, children's education and so forth. The situation is likened to a pie that is being divided. Remarriage and stepfamilies would mean that that same pie would have to be divided into more so that in the end each individual ends up with a smaller pie. But especially with remarriages, the financial situation would be rendered a lot more financially un-"fulfilling" and un"stable", or down-right non-viable.

* COMPLICATIONS IN MATTERS OF MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT. There are concerns over the financial costs of single-parenting. An article by Garlick (1990) pointed out that "maintenance payments will always rest on the payer's ability to pay and many fathers have pressing financial commitments in the form of a new family." Thus, pressure mounts on the mother (usually the one to have custody over children) to force fathers through the courts to support them. (Robinson,1991). The act of forcing the father to support them requires financial resources as well, considerable enough, thus making the legal option impractical and defeating of its purpose..

In the words of Carmen Nakpil: "Those who can't make a go of one family are hardly in better position to start another, an even more difficult endeavor, considering their obligations to the first." (Malaya, March 1999)

E) SOCIETY CAN'T AFFORD DIVORCE. As individuals can't afford divorces, much less remarriages and stepfamilies, so can't society. For one, the financial effects on the individuals do not end there but extend towards the social aspects of education, upbringing, delinquency or even criminality. The analogy of the "small piece of pie being divided" is very real and has material implications in the quality of education, health and nutrition of the children, the quality of parental care and so on. For another, at

the bottom line, it would always be the duty of the government (and the society) to bear and support its constituents (fellowmen) materially in the form of social services. Divorce, remarriages and stepfamilies, through their effects and ramifications, will greatly increase the social burden and leave everyone worse off. Broken homes, broken children, uneducated youth, delinquency...these cannot be disregarded by the government (society) with an "anyway-its-their-choice" attitude. Individual failure, when multiplied, becomes a social failure.

ARGUMENT 2: Divorce will spare the children from suffering in a high-conflict family environment. However, we assert that there are other and BETTER ways (like Legal Separation) of sparing the children from high-conflict family environments. In fact, making the option of divorce open unleashes greater harm for children of divorces, be they from low or high conflict family environments. Moreover, facts and figures will also present the psychological/ behavioral, academic, social and biological effects of divorce on the children, especially during and after the process or act of divorce itself.

A) BETTER SOLUTION: LEGAL SEPARATION also spares children from suffering in a high-conflict family environment. But it is a BETTER solution because it precludes the harmful and deleterious psychological/ emotional and financial effects on children due to divorce and its ramifications into remarriage and creation of stepfamilies.

B) MAKING THE OPTION OF DIVORCE OPEN UNLEASHES GREAT HARM TO CHILDREN OF DIVORCES. A study by sociologists Amato and Booth (1997) points out the two situations where a child is greatly stressed: 1) a high-conflict family environment with no divorce and; 2) a low-conflict family environment that ends with divorce. In that same study it was found out that of the total number of divorces in the US, an overwhelming 70% of divorced families were from low-conflict family environments that ended up with divorce. The result was that an overwhelming majority of children of divorced families suffered, not because they were in a high-conflict environment, but precisely because divorce became an easy option when conflict in the family was low and tolerable. Of the 30% who came from high-conflict family environments and who should have gotten (and did get) divorce, a Legal Separation could have effected the same results, and moreover, prevented any deterioration of the children's situation by not allowing for the aggravating effects of remarriage or creation of stepfamilies (which go with divorce). Hughes, Jr. and Amato (1993) gathered evidences indicating that children whose parents divorced once are worse off than children who only experienced one parental divorce


* CHILDREN SUFFER MORE DURING AND AFTER DIVORCE. "Divorce increases 2 or 3 times the incidence of all kinds of bad effects on children of divorce, including psychological problems, juvenile delinquency, suicide, undereducation, teen motherhood. Problems arise during and after the divorce more than from conflict during marriage, and there is an increased incidence of detriment even if the divorce is low conflict." Wallerstein and Blakeslee found out that divorce often causes a bitter dispute between the parents, even worse than before the divorce was decided upon.Ahrons (1994) suggested that children's problems may be directly related to the parental conflict during the divorce processthe escalating conflicts with lawyers, judges and negative feelings associated with the divorce process can often cause inner turmoil in the child. Chelrin (1991) suggested that economic hardships may explain why relationships between mother and child suffer after divorce. What is more alarming is the increasing rate of children under 18 years old being involved in divorce cases, implying that children are increasingly seen as secondary to the perceived personal needs of the spouses. The number of children under 18 involved in divorces and annulments has increased from 6.3 per 1000 in 1950 to 17.3 per 1000, a whopping 175% increase. Haskey (1989) showed the proportion of all independent children who live in 1-parent families increased by 50% since the 70's while those living with lone-mothers has trebled in number. Such disregard for the children (worse, if they are also used as pawns in the legal battles of the parents) are very damaging to them.

BIOLOGICAL. Dawson (1988) found children of divorces to have 20% to 35% higher health vulnerability scores than their counterparts who live with their biological parents; predicted risk of injury for the former group was also 20%-30 higher. National Center for Health Statistics in US (1997) revealed that children with single parents are prone to activity limitation and higher rates of disability and are more likely to be in fair or poor health or hospitalized . A Univ. of California (Riverside) study found out that men and women from divorced families had reduced life averages as compared to normal averages (80 years to 76 years for men and 86 to 82 years for women). Friedman of UC Riverside thinks that people of divorced families tend to die earlier because these people participate in smoking and drinking in much higher proportions than do children from nondivorced families.

PSYCHOLOGICAL. In a study by Dawson (1991): children living with formerly married mothers run a greater risk of receiving psychological help (8.8% vs. 2.7% for those living with both biological parents) DeBord, in a Human Environmental Publication in 1997 gave the following stressors that affect children: change, loss of attachment, fear of abandonment and hostility between parents. A survey by Emery (1988) concludes that compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children with divorced homes have more psychological problems. To Hughes, Jr. and Amato (1993), their evidence even indicates that children whose parents divorced once are better off than those whose parents divorced more than once.

BEHAVIORAL. Wallerstein's study (1998) found out that fully half the children of divorces she studied were involved in serious abuse of alcohol and drugs. They also tended to be sexually active, specially the girls. US Census and DOJ reports (1990) found out that youths of divorce experience a significantly higher chance, almost 75%, of abusing drugs and also stand a 63% chance of committing suicide. Kalters (1987) associated parental divorce to lower self-esteem, promiscuous sexual activity and greater delinquent-like behavior.

ACADEMIC. Richards (1990) found out that worst affected by divorce would be children from 12-15 years old and pre-schoolers. Bisnaire and Rynard (1990) saw higher rates of academic deficiency and 30% of children declining in their academic performance. This remains so even after 3 years of separation. From US DOJ and Census in 1990, it was discovered that from 1970 to 1990, children of divorces have 71% higher chances of dropping out of school.

ARGUMENT 3: Divorce leads to a self-perpetuating/ worsening phenomenon that compounds and multiplies the attendant harmful effects to the spouses, the children and ultimately to the society.

A number of people seem to view divorce as the ultimate solution to an unhappy marriage, thinking that it would greatly alleviate, and perhaps eliminate, domestic violence and the presence of highconflict family environments.

However, facts and figures show that divorce is a far cry from being the "miracle cure" it is touted to be. On the contrary, it does not put an end to the unhappiness prevalent in problematic marriages, rather it creates a cycle, making divorce lead to a self-perpetuating and reinforcing phenomenon that compounds and multiplies the attendant harmful effects to the spouses, children and the society in general.

A) ON SPOUSES. In Argument 1, the tendency of divorce to perpetuate and worsen itself was subtly discussed. But for emphasis, that perpetuating/reinforcing process will be outlined here: Given that the marriage is a failure, the spouses would wish for an exit (a divorce), which is also the entrance door to another marriage. Now these remarriages (and stepfamily relationships), are bound, more likely than the first, to fail (owing to the fact that remarriages and stepfamilies are very complex arrangements and that the partners unwittingly and unavoidably bring with them emotional and financial baggage into the

new relationship). Failing the second marriage, they become much more depressed, divorce again, and in their relentless and growing desire for "stable and fulfilling family relationships" (which hopefully can be equated to happiness), hopefully enter into a new one. Unfortunately, success becomes more elusive with the next. This phenomenon, which openly manifests itself in the sharp increase of people opting for remarriage, presents itself in a vicious cycle of failure, leaving behind a great number of broken families. And the process continues as long as they desire for that "stable and fulfilling relationship" (or happiness) - but always to end in vain.

DATA SHOWING THAT DIVORCE LEADS TO FURTHER DIVORCE AMONG SPOUSES. Robins and Regier (1991) found annual rates of depression per 100 people to increase with the number of times a person divorces (and remarries): only 1.5/100 for married couples, 4.1/100 for those divorced once, but 5.8/100 for those divorced twice; also, incidence of alcoholism increases from 8.9% among intact families to 16.2% among spouses who divorced/ separated once, up to 24.2% for those divorced/ separated by more than once. In UK, Leete and Anthony (1979) found out in their study that after divorce, more than of all custodial parents had remarried; second and subsequent marriage figures also rose. Already, remarriage rates have increased from 1961 to 1983, with rates for men 3X as high as for women; marriages in which both partners remarry rose from 9% in 1961 to 32% in 1987. And by 1984, 21% of every 1000 divorced couples had one or both partners previously divorced. (Robinson 1991). Further figures showing the increase in remarriage rates of divorced individuals are given in subsection C, "ON SOCIETY", of this argument.

In effect, if a person resorts to divorce to assert his or her right to happiness, it is more likely that his/ her failure will only be worsened by divorce and subsequent remarriage, paving the way for even greater levels of depression, divorce and possibly, remarriage.

B) ON CHILDREN. With children involved in the divorces, its tendency to perpetuate and worsen itself becomes even more potent, not only in one generation but also across many generations. This is precisely so because effects of divorce on children are LONG-TERM.

EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN ARE LONG-TERM (Wallerstein, 1998). Effects of divorce on children are not short-term and transient. They are long-lasting, profound and cumulative. Children experience divorce differently from their parents, and on different schedules. Effects of the divorce on children may continue for decades even if "pain" on the part of the parents has somehow been healed. (Cherlin, 1997): Following adolescence, a parental divorce that occurred during childhood or adolescence appears to continue to have a negative effect when a person in his or her twenties and early thirties. From Willats (1991): A significant number of children suffer long-term, perhaps

permanent detrimental effects from divorce, and that others experience submerged effects that may appear years later. Zill (1995) found that 18-22 year-olds from disrupted families were twice as likely to have poor relationships with their mothers and fathers, to show high levels of emotional distress or problem behaviors (and) to have received psychological help. Zill found the effects of divorce still evident in 12-22 years later.

What are these long-term effects?

TROUBLED CHILD, TROUBLED ADULT: HIGHER CHANCES OF FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS TO BE TROUBLED. For one, it was already shown in argument 2 that divorce and the act itself leads to an abundance of biological, psychological, behavioral and academic problems. All these combined make for a less healthy and more troubled child (and with the aggravating effects of remarriages and stepfamilies, perhaps he would be undereducated as well) which undermines his development into an adult and lessens his ability to build and sustain meaningful relationships in the future (For further information on the biological, psychological, behavioral and academic effects of divorce on children, see Argument 2, subsection C). Furthermore, Wolfinger (1997) also found evidence that children of divorce appear to marry other children of divorce at a rate greater than chance along would predict. Furthermore, marriages of two children of divorce are especially likely to end in divorce. Clearly, even if the transmission of divorce has become more moderated as a result of the divorce revolution in the past 20 years, many children of divorce still carry considerable baggage with them into their own marriages which may, under some conditions, lead to a higher risk for divorce. In other words, as divorce increases his chances of growing up a troubled adult, so it also increases the chances of his future relationships to be troubled (as he himself is).

INABILITY TO COMMIT IN FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS, HIGHER CHANCE OF DIVORCING IN THE FUTURE. For another (and a more important one), divorce ingrains in the child a fear of commitments and little tolerance for sacrifices, such that when trouble comes (and trouble increases the more troubled adult he is), his immediate response is to exit (divorce ). Wallerstein (1998): Effects of divorce on children are long lasting, profound and cumulative. Children have lingering fears about their inability to commit to relationships, thus affecting their own marriages. Wolfinger (1997) from his findings in a national survey: Cumulative stress as new parents move in and out of a child's life seems to be affecting his marital history as an adult. Furthermore, the results shoed that among adults raised in intact homes, 41% divorced, and only 9% two or more times; but among adults whose parents divorced

and remarried once, 58% divorced, 19% at least twice; but especially among adults whose parents had two or more failed marriages, 67% divorced, with 26% two or more times. These show that the more number of remarriages that parents have, the greater the chances are that their children will also divorce in their future relationships; and the greater the chances that these children will also divorce and remarry more than once. Adults who take after their parents divorce histories may have learned that the best way to deal with problems in a relationship is to cut and run. If remarriage occurs, step and adoptive parenting seems only to exacerbate the negative effects of parental divorce. Wolfinger's findings were confirmed by sociologist Amato (1996) who gathered evidences suggesting that there is a heightened risk for children of divorce to divorce later.

C) ON SOCIETY. The effects of divorce on the society manifest themselves in the form of increasing divorce (or remarriage rates) over time and the diverse social problems associated and attributed to divorce:

* INCREASING DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE RATES. In US Census (1996), the fastest growing marital status was divorced persons, whose number has quadrupled from 4.3 M in 1970 to 17.4 M in 1994; also, in 1970, only 3% of all people under 18 years of age was divorced, by 1994, that figure stood at 9%. Since no-fault divorce was introduced in Canada 30 years ago, marital break-up rates have increased by 600%. Divorce granted in UK increased from 31,000 in 1951 to 167,000 in 1987; a 1981 census revealed a 58% increase of lone-parent families from 1971. Also in 1979, Leete and Anthony found out that 5 years after divorce, more than 1/2 of all custodial parents in UK had remarried. Figures for first marriages declined from 86% of total marriages in UK in 1961 to only 65% in 1987. Remarriages as a percentage of total marriages also rose from 14% in 1961 to 35% in 1987. Remarriages of the divorced couples as a percentage of total marriages also rose dramatically from 9% in 1961 to 32% in 1987, (Robinson, 1991). Younger people in the US who are marrying for the first time face roughly a 4050% chance of divorcing in their lifetime under current trends (US Bureau of the Census, 1992).

* GROWING SOCIAL PROBLEMS ATTRIBUTED TO RISING DIVORCE RATES. Sampson (1987): Regardless of economic status, divorce posed the stronger correlation with robbery rates in American cities with population of more than 100,000; delinquency rates are 10% to 15% higher in broken homes. Knight & Prentky (1987) in a survey of 108 rapists revealed that 60% came from female-headed homes, 70% of those describable as "violent" came from female-headed homes. 80% of those motivated by "displaced anger" came from female-headed (single-parent) homes. In a study by Cornell Univ. (1994) of low-income boys, it was found out that of the juvenile criminals who are considered a threat to the public, 3/4 came from broken homes. Wells and Rankin: delinquency rates are 19% to 15% higher in broken homes. Harper (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and McLanahan (Princeton Univ.): boys whose fathers

were absent from the households had double the odds of being incarcerated, even when holding other variables such as race, income and other constant.

* MULTIPLIER EFFECT: DIVORCE BREEDS DIVORCE. By perpetuating itself through the spouses remarrying or through children opting for divorces someday, divorce perpetuates itself in the society. Research shows that children of divorce are unable to sustain relationships for a long period of time, and enter into marriages at an earlier age (women of divorce stand a 45% chance of marrying by the early age of 20 compared to the 15% chance for women of non-divorced families). This causes more cases of "divorce breeding divorce". This is corroborated by Richards of Cambridge University (1994) who found out in his study that children of divorced parents leave earlier and start families sooner than do children of non-divorced parents. One-half of all divorces occur between people in their 20s, with a very high percentage for spouses to be in their teens. The lack of parental supervision also contributes to teenage pregnancies and juvenile delinquencies, since children of divorce are sexually active earlier and are more inclined to use drugs (75% chance for children of divorce to abuse drugs). ARGUMENT 4: Some facts and figures will show that in the case of the Philippines, these harmful effects of divorce will be more severe for us.


* THE ORDINARY FILIPINO FAMILY CAN'T AFFORD DIVORCE. To begin with, we start looking at the individual family. Data from the Philippine Statistical Yearbook (1998) yield that the average annual family income for Filipinos is roughly P124,000, while the average annual family expenditure reaches a little over P100,000. Income minus expenses leaves a net annual saving of around P24,000. This is a very small amount and can hardly support a divorce case, especially if the case drags on for years. Better for the family to save and spend it for productive ends.

* REMARRIAGE, STEPFAMILIES WORSENS THE FILIPINO FAMILY'S SITUATION EVEN WORSE. It can be gathered from the Statistical Yearbook that the Filipinos have fertility rate with 4 births per woman in 1996 as compared to China's 1.9, S. Korea's 1.7, Indonesia's 2.7 or Malaysia's 3.4. And even accounting for infant mortality , we still stood with a high net reproduction rate (1.8 as compared to S. Korea's .8, Malaysia's 1.7 or Indonesia's 1.3). This means that Filipinos procreate more. This also means that should there be remarriage, that same income would have to be allocated to a lot more people. This is too much for an ordinary Filipino family to bear. He has a small pie to begin with, and now, he has to divide it by more.

* IN THE END THE FILIPINO CHILDREN SUFFER. The splitting of the family's already meager resources, the fact that that precious resources should have to be spent on legal battles that heighten the family conflicts, and worse, later to be deprived, in part or in whole, of support because the parents will have additional obligations in the form of new families In the final analyses, what shall become of the Filipino children?

B) THE FILIPINO SOCIETY CANNOT AFFORD DIVORCE. As argued in Argument l: as individuals can't afford it, so can't society. The individual families' failure, be it in feeding its children, in educating its sons and daughters, in providing a decent home, decent clothes, decent upbringing or even a sense of decency these individual failures are the fine roots from where social debacles draw eternal strength. Materially speaking, society in general will have to bear the costs of these social debacles in the form of higher taxes (to support social services, to improve police forces to combat rising criminality and so forth) and lower disposable incomes while at the same time live in a poorer, less safe environments tormented with social ills.

C) THE SITUATION FOR FILIPINO WOMEN/WIVES WILL BE EVEN WORSE (see next argument, subsection D). ARGUMENT 5: What about the battered women? What about those extreme cases?

A) LEGAL SEPARATION. As argued before, there already is a way out for them, a much BETTER way out, and that is Legal Separation. (See argument 1)


* DIVORCE DOES NOT END WOMEN ABUSE. The dissolution of marriage sets free to remarry not only the victim (women and children) but the abuser as well. The scheme sets the stage ready for another round of abuse, this time involving a different victim - but a case of abuse just the same. In effect, divorce may put an end to each individual case of abuse but it does not put an end to the social evil of women (or child) abuse.

* DIVORCE WORSTENS SITUATION OF WOMEN ABUSE. If at all, divorce only succeeds in perpetuating women abuses, each time to a different victim. And it is a sad thought that we will expose

many more of our women and children to the horrors of these abuses, under the hands of the same abusers whom divorce has set free to remarry.

C) DIVORCE PUTS WOMEN/ WIVES AT A DISADVANTAGE. Divorce leads to single-parent households. And usually, it is the mother (either because she is always the innocent party or preferred by the courts in no-fault divorces) who is left with the children. This arrangement puts a lot of burden on her, more so when the male partner remarries (as he is allowed to after divorce).

* DOUBLING OF COSTS OF LIVING. First, the wife will have to provide herself and her children a new home. She may also have to buy needed appliances and furniture. But granting that all these amenities could be provided to her, she still encounters financial difficulties.

* THE WIFE'S CAPACITY TO SUPPORT HERSELF AND THE FAMILY IS LIMITED. Women have always been tasked to raise the children and manage the house so that a great many of wives do not work. And even granting that she works, she would have to work doubly hard to singly support herself and the children. This has implications on the upbringing of the children, which is why social problems of criminality, delinquency and others are closely associated with single parenting, especially those headed by mothers (Please see argument 3, subsection C "ON SOCIETY", for facts and figures). Furthermore, if she works, it is likely that she does not earn much because all her married life, work has only been her second priority (family being the first). If her income will not suffice, the children may be forced to take menial jobs to augment the family income (child labor, street children, child exploitation). And with tight finances, children's education may have to be sacrificed, greatly lowering their chances of finding sustainable employment someday, of extricating themselves from their poverty. This leads to a spiral of events that further impoverishes not only the individual family but the entire country as well.

* REMARRIAGE MAKES HER SITUATION EVEN MORE DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT. Of course, it can always be argued that the husbands can always be forced to provide financial support. But oftentimes, he can't, not especially when he has other financial commitments in the form of a new family. And of course the wife can always chase him through the courts. But then, unless the support money involved is big enough, the expenses involved with waging legal battles may prove this option to be closed.

* SOME FACTS AND FIGURES. It is not surprising therefore to come across these facts:

Biele (1998): In Utah, divorce and its financial stresses account for 75% to 80% of the people on welfare rolls. A huge number of abuse cases arise from dysfunctional families. Hoofman & Duncan (1988): Standard of living for divorced women and their children declined - a decline of 30% for divorced women during the 1st year of divorce. Morgan (1970): 10% of the nation's families are headed only by a woman, but 40% of the families classified as poor have female heads. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the US (1992): Single women are 5x more likely to be poorer than their married sisters. Eggebeen & Lichter (1991): Single mothers are 9X more likely to live in deep poverty than the intact family, with incomes less than 1/2 the official poverty line. Statistical Abstract of the US (1993): Four times as many divorced women with children fell under the poverty line (as did) married women with children. Chesler (1986): "Who are the women in prison?"... More than half are single mothers living on welfare.

D) DIVORCE WORSENS THE SITUATION OF FILIPINO WOMEN. In a joint study by UNICEF and the UP Center for Women's Studies (1996), it was found out that 98% of the victims of domestic abuse and violence are women with the average age of 23 years-old. They are the most likely people who would file for divorce should the bill be passed. Of these victims, 41.2% of them graduated from elementary school only, while another 35% graduated from high school. Sixty percent of these victims are not gainfully employed, the other 22.4% are employed in the service sector (perhaps as a washer woman, a saleslady?) If these women will divorce and will end up having to take care of the children, how will they be able to afford, much less sustain it? We would have to go back to the argument that these women will have to work, and assuming they find work, they will not, in most probability, land on a good enough one to support themselves, much less their children. Corollary problems for the children will take root from here.

E) WOULD THE WIFE'S/ WOMEN'S REMARRIAGE MAKE THINGS BETTER? NO. Well, if the husband (abuser or not) cannot anymore support the wife and the family (either because he just can't plain support them or because he has a new family), would it not be better then to follow the wife to remarry and find another man who may be able and willing to support her and her children? The best situation that would be thought of is when she finds a decent bachelor with whom she is compatible. Finding such a man is even difficult for why would a bachelor choose a woman with a lot of baggage with her? But, assuming still that she finds such a man, would not her situation become better? No. Be it the man or the woman who remarries, the problems of remarriage remain.

PSYCHOLOGICAL. It remains that remarriage (either that of the wife or the husband) and stepfamily relationships are very complex and psychologically and emotionally demanding on each member of a new family. Unconsciously and unavoidable, emotional and psychological baggage of the former relationships are brought into the new one. The problems of unrealistic expectations, pseudomutuality, (denial of conflicts, mistakes, etc.) Frictions, diffusion of the biological parents, attention from the children of the first marriage to the husband or the children of a new marriage, parental time and guidance diminishing for a child with each new child that comes alongAll these remain true whether it is the husband or the wife remarrying. (Please see argument 1, subsections A and B for a fuller discussion on the psychological/ emotional dynamics in remarriages).

FINANCIAL. True enough, there will now be two parents pooling their resources together to support one family. So far, so good. But after a while, the financial complications will manifest themselves. After a while, there will be new children, literally more mouths to feed, more to educate, more to parent. Good only if the second father really get the original children's needs to the needs of his own children but it is difficult to imagine what the second father will do and prioritize when difficult times come (and there would be more difficult times with the more number of children). These financial complications will even reinforce existing psychological and emotional tensions as when the mother is made to choose between the new husband and original children or between the children of the old or the new marriage. (Please see Argument 1, subsection D for the fuller discussion).

ARGUMENT 6: Improving the laws and provisions on Legal Separation: the optimal solution. A) THE FIRST-BEST SOLUTION IS TO IMPROVE ON LEGAL SEPARATION IF IT HAS PROBLEMS. Perhaps the laws on Legal Separation do have problems. Perhaps some provisions are still lacking, the provisions are unclear, the provisions are unjust and need to be changedthese can be remedied. Should the changes prove reasonable and necessary, why not? But if the laws on legal separation are problematic, then we remedy those laws, without having to go through a circuitous process that comes up with a new scheme of things which will prove to be detrimental in the long-run.

B) LEGAL SEPARATION IS BETTER THAN DIVORCE. It can be argued that legal separation can also bring about the same negative results associated with the separation of parents in divorces. Under Legal Separation, the children will also see their parents going on their separate ways, financial resources will also be dividedTrue, but for one big thing: Legal separation prohibits remarriages of spouses and its many implications and ramifications, such that Legal separation gives better results than would a divorce:

SPOUSES/PSYCHOLOGICAL: Legal Separation spares them from that selfperpetuating/worsening phenomenon that compounds emotional scars.

SPOUSES/FINANCIAL: Financial burden can still be shared without allowing for the diffusion of financial resources as can happen when there is remarriage.

WOMEN/CHILD ABUSE will be lessened, if not stopped and its perpetration will not extend to many other women and children.

CHILDREN/PSYCHOLOGICAL: Children of divorce will still have the benefit of both parents' care since their attentions will still be directed to them. This will crucially alleviate and improve the emotional and psychological well-being of the children. Divorce diverts the parents' attentions to, say, a new family. Furthermore, the children will be spared from the aggravating circumstances that come during and after the divorce process (conflicts with lawyers, legal battles, specially those using the children as pawns coping in a new family relationship, etc.)

CHILDREN/FINANCIAL. The parents' resources will still be pooled for the benefit of the children, unlike in divorce where the parents may find themselves having to diffuse their resources to new obligations.

SOCIETY. Social problems associated with divorce and its many ramifications and the social cost of supporting the cumulative effects of divorce will be greatly lessened. In the same way that individual failures supply the undying fire to social evils, so shall individual success provide that healing balm for our social wounds.

C) BI-NUCLEAR FAMILIES IN LEGAL SEPARATION: SOMETHING GOOD. It seems that all the while this was a case of "choosing the lesser of two evils" with divorce as the greater of the two evils because it allows for marriage after the dissolution of the marriage bond.

But now, Legal Separation does not even have to be an "evil" (although a lesser one). Legal Separation, with the concept of a "bi-nuclear" family can even be "good."

* MORE ON BI-NUCLEAR FAMILY. With suitable guidance, it is possible to channel the negative energies from a disintegrating family nucleus to a constructive way towards the building of this alternative family structure. This restructured family is a nuclear family that has become a nuclear family operating from 2 single-parent family homes with permeable boundaries. (Ayalon and Flasher, 1993) According to Nathan Schaefer's study (1985) on the bi-nuclear family home system, while still maintaining meaningful contact and joint effort in rearing their children, "estranged couples" can mediate cooperative solutions to the issues of living apart and reconsider problems with the "family of origin" that raised them and the family they married into. Unlike divorces that usually lead to the selfperpetuating reinforcing phenomenon that compounds and multiplies the attendant harmful effects to the family, legal separation with its concept of bi-nucleus families, allows families to "learn in the process to focus on what is positive and meet crises constructively upon accepting their own and each other's negative feelings (Lamana & Riedman, 1991). Adults may do away with unhappy, frustrating and stressful marital situations, and still "learn to maintain contact-diplomatically, cautiously in order to parent their children and eventually to resolve their differences" (Schaefer, 1985). Furthermore, parents experience less stress and do not feel overburdened as sole-custody parents. This kind of joint-custody does away with ugly courtroom battles and mutual cumulative feelings of hate and bitterness. Children can also benefit from this restructured family arrangement. They are spared from further exposure to open conflict and continuous fighting in a high-conflict, intact family. And in as much as communication continues, the parents are in no need of dividing the children between them, only the amount of time the child spends with them. In the long run, the children learn to accept their parents' separation.

Legal Separation, especially with the concept of bi-nuclear families, offers the benefits of relieving family members from the ordeals of a broken marriage while at the same time avoiding the myriad of problems associated with divorce and marriage.



The fact is, even when there is no divorce (and Legal Separation prohibits remarriage), defacto marriages still take place. This time without license, through co-habitation. With co-habitation, couples

just separate and go on to live with another man or woman. These arrangements do not even bother to go through the legal process - spouses just pack up and leave or secretly abandon their families knowing that it is prohibited to do so. Knowing thus, would it not be better then to legalize divorce? For one, it would make a lot of things clear and orderly: from knowing who is the child/ husband/ wife of whom, to providing for an orderly financial and custody arrangement before their exit. For another, legalizing divorce (or giving license to remarriage) would do away with the intense psychological and emotional stigma associated with co-habitation. This will spare spouses and especially children from the personal and social ostracism (being branded as illegitimate, bastard, mistress and so forth). Well, will giving license to remarriage be better? The answer is still categorical "NO".

The point is, with or without license, remarriage in itself has many bad and far-reaching effects. From arguments 1 through 6, we have discussed and established thoroughly these harmful implications of remarriage: how these remarriages are likely to fail, how they compound emotional scars of the spouses and children, how they affect the children, how they perpetuate and reinforce themselves, how they will make the Philippine situation worse and so on. We don't want these problems associated with remarriage. That is why we make laws to avoid such a harmful scheme. That is why we are against divorce (because it allows remarriages) and opt for Legal Separation. These problems of remarriage, we have to avoid.

Now, perhaps, it can be imagined that even now that it is still not licensed (illegal), people are already remarrying defacto (through co-habitation, i.e. remarriage without license), then how much more will remarriages become prevalent when it is even licensed? Even the emotional and social stigma associated with co-habitation are only a subtle means of discouraging the proliferation of remarriage, in the same manner that the thought of being branded as inconsiderate deters one from thinking only of him/ herself. Remarriages are problematic. We have to discourage them from happening to out people, Explicitly by law or subtly by morality.

This paper has affirmed and substantiated its stand against H.B .6993 (Divorce Bill) in six arguments. But always, what we delivered were the same refrains:

Divorce has ramifications that are very destructive; to the parents, the children, and society. Legal separation itself is superior to divorce. Should there be a need to improve the laws and provisions of legal separation, then let us do so, without having to expose our selves to the many destructive effects of divorce and remarriages. Also worth noting is the promising idea of "bi-nuclear" families.

Elevated Thoughts This paper sought for a conviction, a conviction that is a product of the intellect, of rigorous study and serious deliberation. We hope it has succeeded. But after all these is an invitation to quiet reckoning. For a while, we lay aside the surfeit of numbers, the academic burdens and call to mind the very nature of marriage and the family: why the sanctity? Why the total giving of self? Why the indissolubility? Why the need to preserve it? The dignity of man draws its meaning from his ability to respect and appreciate the nature of things, in this case, of marriage and family however sterling or lofty the standards they may require, such that in the end he is made worthy of them in all their purity and beauty REFERENCE LIST BOOKS Ayalon, Ofra and Flasher, Adina. 1993. Chain Reaction: Children and Divorce. London: Kingsley. Delles, Richard J.. 1972. The Violent Home: A Study of Physical Aggression between Husbands and Wives. London: Sage Publications Irlandez, Angel. 1988. Divorce in the Philippines. Philippine Free Press, 11 June, 24. Lamana, Mary Ann and Riedman, Agnes. 1991. Marriages and Families (Making Choices and Facing Change). Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Robinson, Margaret. 1991. Family Transformation Through Divorce and Remarriage: A Systemic Approach. London: Routledge/ Tavistock. Schaefer, Nathan. 1985. Families are Forever (Creating and Recreating Happier, Healthier Families). California: R & E Publishers. Wells, J. Gipson. 1975. Divorce Reform (Current Issues in Marriage and the Family). New York: MacMillan Publishing Company. The Importance of Marriage and Family Life Remarriage and Family Relationships

ARTICLES Achacoso, Fr. Jaime B. 1996. Divorce, Catholic Style? (Understanding the rise of nullities in Catholic marriages.) Business World, 11 June, 5. Arriero, Judge Albino V. 1999. Divorce under the new Family Code. Manila Standard, 15. Arriero, Judge Albino V. 1999. Do we have absolute divorce in the Philippines? Manila Standard, 15.

Galang, Gigi. 1989. Divorce at Last. Philippine Free Press, 18 February, 24. Manila Chronicle. 1995. Irish Debacle. 28 November. Maranan, Charito. 1986. Why Many Filipinos. Philippine Free Press, 20 September, 28-31. Nakpil, Carmen Guerrero. 1999. The divorce question. Malaya, 19 March, 5. Philippine Daily Inquirer. 1999. Marriage and Divorce. 29 April,9. Philippine Star. 1995. Catholic Ireland opts for Divorce, 29 November Philippine Star. 1996. Are we Filipinos ready for Divorce? 14 March, 1. Sison, Jose C. 1999. Till Death Do Us Part. Philippine Star, 5 March, 13. Sy Egco, Joel M. 1999. Divorce Bill Gains Ground. Manila Standard, 1.

STUDIES DeBord, Karen B. Focus on Kids: The Effects of Divorce on Children Hughes, Robert Jr. The Effects of Divorce on Children Schambeck, Dr. Herbert. 1997. The Politician's Responsibility for the Defense of the Rights of the Family. Wada, Mayumi. 1998. The Bi-Nuclear Family. Women and Development - Inter-Agency Committee Fourth Country Program for Children, UNICEF and UP Center for Women's Studies, 1996. Breaking the Silence: The Realities of Family Violence in the Philippines and Recommendations for Chance.

INTERNET Adults whose parents divorced: How are they doing? - Children and Divorce Children of divorce: Psychological, Psychiatric, Behavioral Problems and Suicide - Concerning Divorces - Divorce--Mental and Physical Health Effects on Divorced People- Divorce: Not as Harmful as Some May Think Divorce Rates in Families with Children Divorce Statistics Collection (Divorce Statistics Collection Summary of Findings So Far) - Does divorce reduce children's exposure to family conflict? - Effects of Divorce on Adult Commitment,1163-5913-523-expert-DIVORCE,00.html Effects of Divorce on Effects of Divorce on Children Effects on Divorced People - Divorce Statistics Collection (Divorce -Economic Effects on Divorced People) -- Fact Sheet of Divorce in America Facts about Marital Distress and Divorce Harmful Affects of Divorce on Children History of Divorce in New York Judith Wallerstein Virginia's No-Fault Divorce Reform Bill - Wallerstein, Judith -- YEARBOOK Philippine Statistical Yearbook. 1998.