We’ve come a long way as a civilization — not just the United States, but the entire world. Many terrible atrocities committed in the past are long gone, slavery chief among them (if you don’t count the 40 million or so people who are legally enslaved through loopholes or underground criminal activity). Here at home, voting rights now extend to anyone who reaches age eighteen. Civil rights, over time, only become stronger. And then there are divorce rights.
Once upon a time divorce was considered a life-long vow no matter what. That meant obtaining a divorce was illegal! Did you know that there is one country where divorcing a spouse is still illegal? You might not believe which country it is, either: the Philippines. Divorce is also impossible in the Vatican City and the British Crown Dependency of Sark (which you’ve probably never even heard of).
Part of the fear is that the Philippines, a popular travel location, will turn into a place where people come to “get married in the morning [and] … get divorced in the afternoon.”
While that has little chance of happening even if divorce legislation changes current laws, there is always an excuse for conservative members of government to make. That’s why so many countries hadn’t legalized divorce before the last few decades.
Malta legalized in 2011; Chile in 2004; Ireland in 1996; Andorra in 1995; Colombia and Paraguay in 1991; Argentina in 1987; and the list continues. Divorce has always been common in the United States.
Most legally obtained divorces require a court authority to sanction the act — which in most cases will only occur after the two spouses meet a strict set of requirements. They might have to decide how joint resources are split up, and they might have to turn to lawyers or mediators — or even a judge — to determine who gets custody of children or pays alimony and/or child support. There are lots of variables to discuss.
The way many younger people approach marriage, and relationships in general, today, is much different than it used to be. Today you often hear terms like “open” to describe a relationship. “Polyamory” is another word that gets thrown around a lot. In most cases this means — even in the case of marriage — partners are allowed to have extramarital partners or relationships, and in some cases both spouses are involved in a relationship with a third party. One can only imagine how marriage and divorce will continue to change in the next few decades.
Are you from the Philippines? If you moved to the United States and would like a divorce, it might be time to talk to a divorce lawyer now!