Colombia law to speed divorces

A Colombian proposal soon to become law will allow married couples to untie the knot in as little as one hour and for a mere $15, bypassing costly lawyer fees, legal hurdles and the prolonged delays most expect before a divorce.

    More a million couples are waiting to have their cases settled

    The measure, passed by Congress in July, is expected to be signed into law by President Alvaro Uribe in the coming weeks, Uribe's office said on Monday.

    "The aim is to make life easier for Colombians," Manuel Cuello, superintendent of the National Registrar, said, adding that "getting divorced should not be such a bureaucratic ordeal".
     

    More than one million couples are waiting to have their cases settled.

    Backlog of cases

    The proposal was a response to the mounting backlog of divorce cases that are tying up the courts, said Cuello.

    Under the new law, couples without minor children would no longer need to appear before a judge, but can instead head to their local registrar office with a jointly signed declaration that would then be stamped by an official within one hour.

    Both parties must agree to the divorce.

    A separate declaration must be drawn up spelling out any division of assets. For couples with children, custody plans must be explained to a family affairs official who would issue a certificate authorising the divorce or send the case to the courts.

    Church objection

    Catholic Church officials have objected to the law, saying the measure will encourage couples to resort to divorce rather than work out their differences.

    "We will end up with a more unstable society and unstable children. Marriage vows should not be taken lightly"

    Monsignor Juan Vicente Cordoba, auxiliary bishop of Bucaramanga

    "It will precipitate the deterioration of the family," said Monsignor Juan Vicente Cordoba, auxiliary bishop of the northern city of Bucaramanga.

    "We will end up with a more unstable society and unstable children. Marriage vows should not be taken lightly."

    Cuello said the pending law has generated considerable interest.

    "We have had hundreds of impatient couples asking to be divorced at notary offices, but we have to explain that there are still some legal procedures to be completed before the measure takes effect," he said.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.