So, how much does it cost to end a marriage in the Philippines? The simple answer is… a lot. At least by Filipino standards. It is so much that it is beyond the financial reach of most Filipino couples. There are a lot of people co-habiting in what we would refer to as a ‘De-Facto’, or ‘Common-Law’ relationship. This is often by mutual agreement between the parties, simply because they cannot afford the cost of getting a more legal arrangement put in place.
The Cost Of Justice
The Philippines is no different to any other country when it comes to anything related to the law and lawyers. A basic annulment will cost upwards of P200,000 (AUD$5,000), if you are lucky. It could easily cost up to ten times that much when you factor in airfares, international telephone calls, copying legal documents and other travel related expenses.
Sadly, there are too many substantiated cases of people getting ripped off, for want of any better term, by unscrupulous lawyers. People at their most vulnerable, especially emotionally. These matters take a lot of time and two years would be an average time span from start to finish, but it could go a lot longer. Of course, the longer the matter runs, the more it will cost.
Is It Worth It?
This is the $64,000 question. Some men seem to get so fixated on a particular person they make themselves believe she is the only one in the world for them. As harsh as it sounds, he may be better off accepting the effort is not worth the reward when you consider there may be many more, equally lovely ladies out there who would make just as exceptional a life partner and who come without the ‘baggage’ of an existing marriage.
The number of knights in shining armour crusading around the chat rooms is legion. It is a trait of many men to be chivalrous and want to come to the rescue of a damsel in distress, but be realistic. Do you have the time, the money, the resources? Is she really the right, the one and only person for you? Is she even who she says she is?
Ask The Hard Questions
Before you enter into any contract you need to do your ‘due diligence’, your research. It is no different with marriage though we tend to sweep a lot of common sense, caution and clear thinking under the carpet at these times. More so if the man has been hurt before and is lonely, alone and dreaming of finding someone who will be his soul-mate. At these times the heart tends to take over from the head. As an example, taking on a widow with five kids is a very different proposition to a woman still legally married to her Filipino husband, with or without children to consider. If she does have children to her husband, it raises the complexity level considerably.
When you are at the early stages of your search for a partner, then is the time to be up front and really explore her situation and intentions. You don’t have to be rude, just thorough. Don’t think you are ‘souring’ the relationship before it gets going. If it is meant to be, it will be but fooling yourself, or failing to really find out all the ‘details’ will only prolong the agony, and your search and hurt all parties involved.
It is always better to be aware and to avoid potential minefields than it is to find yourself in the middle of one with no way to retrace your steps and the only option is to close your eyes, cover your ears and keep going forwards.
Perry Gamsby, D.Lit, MA(Writing), Dip.Bus, Dip. Mktg is a writer and lecturer who lives with his Cebuana wife and five Aus-Fil daughters in Western Sydney. The author of a series of best-selling ‘self-help’ books for expats and those married to Filipinas, he is also a Master of Filipino Martial Arts and a former World Stickfighting Champion who has lived, worked and vacationed in the Philippines since 1988. Perry and his family return to the Philippines on a yearly basis. You can read more of his writing on Philippines topics at www.streetwisephilippines.biz
This article and website sponsored by Down Under Visa, Australian Registered Migration Agents in Manila – The Australian Partner Visa Specialists