Family Code changes OK’d

Posted on September 02, 2015

A MEASURE to amend the Family Code seeking to ensure “equal weight” to both spouses in making decisions about their marriage and family was passed by the Senate on third and final reading on Tuesday.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 2270 sought to amend provisions that were “unjustly based against women” for favoring the decision of the husband or father over the decisions of a wife and mother, Senator Pilar Juana S. Cayetano, chairperson of the committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, and sponsor of the bill said in a statement.

Article 14 of the current Family Code places more weight on the father’s consent over the mother’s regarding the marriage of a child that is between 18 and 21 years old. Under SB 2270, either parent or guardian may give their consent to the child’s marriage.

SB 2270 also amends Articles 96 and 124 which refer to decisions regarding community and conjugal partnership. Currently, the husband’s decision is the one that prevails, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy.

“Under the current law, the husband’s decision shall prevail in case of disagreement, even if the administration and enjoyment of their common property belong to both spouses jointly. The wife’s only recourse is to bring such matter before the courts,” said Ms. Cayetano.

Articles 211 and 255, which provides that a father’s decision would prevail in decisions regarding common children and over disputes on the property of an unemancipated common child, respectively, are also amended.

Under SB 2270, both spouses are mandated to exert effort to enter into a compromise and when this fails, the court will decide on the cases on community and conjugal partnership, decisions regarding common children and property of an unemancipated common child.

“This bill is part of our continuing efforts to amend laws that are discriminatory to women. Despite the landmark legislation we have passed, there remain vestiges of gender insensitivity and discrimination against women in our laws,” Ms. Cayetano said.

Senate Bill No. 2270 was co-authored by senators Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. -- Elizabeth E. Escaño