This is a true story of a person I know, although I will not reveal any names. The Philippines is a Catholic country that does not allow divorce. Once married that means for life, forever. A young girl of 19 married a charming young man, but after a short time she realized that he was not what he seemed. Although they had consummated their marriage, they never lived together as man and wife. Her husband was violent and stole her money. The girl became pregnant and had a child that she left with her mother and fled to another country, where she worked for several years. She returned to the Philippines, but then left again to work abroad. This is common in the Philippines, where a girl can earn much more as a carer of an elderly or sick person abroad than in a professional job there.
The girl was advised by a lawyer that the only hope for her to dissolve her marriage was an annulment, for which there are more grounds in the Philippines because of the lack of divorce. She hired a lawyer and then waited, eventually having to return to the Philippines twice in order to give evidence in court. She testified that she had never lived in a true marriage with her husband. At first her husband said he would contest the annulment and would request custody of the child, but he never did and never appeared before the court or submitted any testimony. Of course, this legal process cost her a great deal of money. After nearly three years the court rejected her request for an annulment. She is now appealing the decision to a higher court.
It seems to me this is a clear case of injustice. A mistake was made by a young girl. In other western countries, even in Catholic Ireland, Spain and Italy, divorce is allowed. But, in the Philippines it is not. The Philippines is the last country in the Christian world that does not allow divorce! So a mistaken marriage, something that can and does easily happen, cannot be undone. This girl has met another young man, and wishes to marry him, but she cannot. She cannot divorce her husband outside the Philippines. Ironically the laws of Catholic Philippines is forcing them to live together out of wedlock and may give rise to illegitimate children, which is a common result in the Philippines. This is the result of injustice of the laws of the Philippines. Perhaps the newly elected President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Dutarte. will act to change these unjust laws.