Foreign divorce and a former Filipino citizen

Consider a case where a former Filipino citizen who was divorced abroad wants to remarry in the Philippines. This brings up peculiar problems because no divorce yet exists in the Philippines (outside of Sharia law). The foreign divorce will first need to be judicially recognized by a Philippine court.

Such a procedure makes reference to the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines:

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

 

Content

How is the case filed?
What evidence should be presented?
Can a foreigner / former Filipino citizen avail of this law?

 

How is the case filed?

A petition for the recognition of the foreign divorce should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. This was recently affirmed in ANDO vs. DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, G.R. No. 195432, August 27, 2014 which states:

… petitioner should have filed, instead, a petition for the judicial recognition of her foreign divorce from her first husband.

In Garcia v. Recio [418 Phil. 723 (2001)], we ruled that a divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided the decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. The presentation solely of the divorce decree is insufficient; both the divorce decree and the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven. Because our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and judgment, our law on evidence requires that both the divorce decree and the national law of the alien must be alleged and proven and like any other fact. [Corpuz v. Sta. Tomas, G.R. No. 186571, 11 August 2010, 628 SCRA 266]

See: Recognizing foreign divorce in the Philippines (Process) for a full discussion of the court process.

 

What evidence should be presented before the Philippine Courts to prove foreign divorce?

This was answered by the Supreme Court in REPUBLIC vs. OBRECIDO, G.R. No. 154380 October 5, 2005.

The Petitioner must prove that the spouse is a foreign citizen. He must prove the foreign divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. That foreign law must also be proved before our courts. Like any other fact, such laws must be alleged and proved. Furthermore, the Petitioner must also show that the divorce decree allows his former spouse to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise, there would be no evidence sufficient to declare that the Petitioner is capacitated to enter into another marriage.

Republic vs. Obrecido discusses the law this way:

In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows:

  1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner; and
  2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry.

The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.

In this case, when Cipriano’s wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there was still a valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. Thus Cipriano, the “divorced” Filipino spouse, should be allowed to remarry.

We are also unable to sustain the OSG’s theory that the proper remedy of the Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal separation. Annulment would be a long and tedious process, and in this particular case, not even feasible, considering that the marriage of the parties appears to have all the badges of validity. On the other hand, legal separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would not sever the marriage tie; hence, the legally separated Filipino spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse.

However, we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly submitted by respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of respondent’s wife. It is settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and mere allegation is not evidence.

Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must prove his allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. Likewise, before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. Such foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any other fact, such laws must be alleged and proved. Furthermore, respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise, there would be no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another marriage.

Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried, also to remarry. However, considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence submitted and on record, we are unable to declare, based on respondent’s bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried an American, that respondent is now capacitated to remarry. Such declaration could only be made properly upon respondent’s submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor.

To prove all these, the Petitioner will need to present evidence of the divorce decree and laws through the presentation of either (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by the officer having legal custody of the documents. If the copies of official records are not kept in the Philippines, these must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.

 

Can the foreigner / former Filipino citizen avail of this law?

Paragraph 2 of Article 26 specifically speaks of a Filipino citizen’s right to remarry. A practical question is whether a foreigner’s or former Filipino citizen’s right to remarry can be recognized.

Can a foreigner or former Filipino citizen seek recognition of the divorce obtained abroad and have Philippine records updated to reflect the divorce?

Yes. This was resolved in CORPUZ vs. TIROL STO. TOMAS, G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010. The Supreme Court upheld the right of a foreigner or former Filipino citizen to institute a Petition in our Courts for the recognition of the divorce obtained abroad:

To our mind, direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign judgment is sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to institute an action before our courts for the recognition of the foreign judgment. In a divorce situation, we have declared, no less, that the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be recognized in the Philippines, provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law.

The starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce judgment is the acknowledgment that our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws. Justice Herrera explained that, as a rule, no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country. This means that the foreign judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence, together with the aliens applicable national law to show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself. The recognition may be made in an action instituted specifically for the purpose or in another action where a party invokes the foreign decree as an integral aspect of his claim or defense.

Judicial recognition of the foreign divorce can be obtained through a special court process by which entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or corrected:

Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without judicial order. The Rules of Court supplements Article 412 of the Civil Code by specifically providing for a special remedial proceeding by which entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or corrected. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be complied with before a judgment, authorizing the cancellation or correction, may be annotated in the civil registry. It also requires, among others, that the verified petition must be filed with the RTC of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located; that the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest must be made parties to the proceedings; and that the time and place for hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation.

All that being said, the Supreme Court has stressed three important points to remember while preparing the case:

Three legal premises need to be underscored at the outset. First, a divorce obtained abroad by an alien married to a Philippine national may be recognized in the Philippines, provided the decree of divorce is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. Second, the reckoning point is not the citizenship of the divorcing parties at birth or at the time of marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad. And third, an absolute divorce secured by a Filipino married to another Filipino is contrary to our concept of public policy and morality and shall not be recognized in this jurisdiction.

BAYOT vs. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. No. 155635, November 7, 2008

These can present stumbling blocks surprising to former Filipino citizens.

Consider the case of a married Filipino who immigrates to the United States and secures a divorce while still a Filipino citizen. He later acquires American citizenship. Then he decides he wants to remarry someone else in the Philippines.

To his surprise, he will find that his divorce is not recognized in the Philippines, and that the Philippines still considers him married to his first wife. This is because he was a Filipino citizen at the time he secured this divorce. Despite subsequently becoming an American citizen, Philippine law’s reckoning point is not the citizenship of the divorcing parties at birth or at the time of marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad.

For the divorce to be valid where he was the one who filed for divorce, that divorce should have been obtained when he was already an American citizen.

There may yet be remedies in such a case. To avail of these will often require careful coordination with legal counsel both in the Philippines and in the foreign country.

 

Atty. Francesco C. Britanico

Related reading: Recognition of foreign divorce in the Philippines (Process)

145 thoughts on “Foreign divorce and a former Filipino citizen

  1. So if an american became a Philippine citizen and got married, then moved back to the USA and has been living there for the last few years. Even if he got a divorce the Filipina wouldn’t be able to remarry because he was legally a Filipino at the time even though he’s an american now?

  2. If I understand the timeline, the divorce was obtained by the man in the US while he was a Filipino, not an American, citizen.

    Philippine law would not recognize the validity of that divorce. The law would assert the legal incapacity of a Filipino citizen to secure divorce, which incapacity follows the Filipino wherever he is.

    For the foreign divorce to be recognized, it needs to be secured abroad by one who is a non-Filipino at the time of the divorce.

    1. No divorce has been taken place yet. The american is back to being a US citizen now. He has been living in the United States for about 2 years now. My question is does the person have to be a foreigner at the time of marriage or the time of divorce. If it’s at the time of divorce then they should be able to divorce and she should be able to remarry. I thought it was at the time of marriage though. If it’s not then I believe we might have a solution if we can get him to divorce her.

    2. Good day. How about for tjis different situation:
      1. Filipino Wife and Filipino husband git married in the Philippines.
      2. Both went and migrated to USA .
      3. Wife became American citizen.
      4. Filipino-turned-American wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce in US.
      5. She, now an American citizen, wants to marry a Filipino .

      Question, does she still need a judicial recognition of the divorce or can she marry straight ahead since she is already a foreign citizen when she obtained the citizenship?

      Thanks.
      Appreciate reading your articles.

      1. Hello Louie. This situation appears identical to that in Republic vs. Obrecido:

        When the Filipino wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there was still a valid marriage that had been celebrated between her and the Filipino husband. Then the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. Thus, the “divorced” Filipino husband, should be allowed to remarry.

      2. I did not get the answer right correct me if I miss understood it.

        Both Filipino citizen on time of marriage in philippines. Migrated to USA got both naturalized US citizen.

        To make story short later on both decided to get divorce and finally got their divorce decree. Can they either one of them get married again in philippine with Filipino citizen?

        And if so how they can submit their divorce decree to get null and void their prior marriage in the philippines.

        Thank you.

    3. Hello Atty, this is re joseph. I have a similar case with him but read yr correspondence just now. I would like to validate if i understand your point correctly. So a divorce would only be recognized in the Philippines IF AT THE TIME OF DIVORCE, both are US CITIZENS though the wife is DUAL(fil-am) citizen so its okay for her to get marry again in the philippines, is this right atty? But the US citizen guy at time of the Divorce(who ISNT A DUAL fil-am) CANNOT REMARRY IN THE PHIL. Did i get this right? Pls advice. You are very helpful po. Thank you.

  3. I am a filipino and my wife is american. We got married here in the philippines 2003, in 2008 ny wife filled a divorce in guam, a notice was mailed to me notifying that my wife filed divorce on grounds of cultural indifference. After moving out off the house i never got any notice that the divorce was granted nor published in any daily news paper that mu wife divorce was granted. Question am still considered married here in the philippines to my foreign spouse?

  4. Hi, can I represent myself at RTC or it’s a must to have a lawyer to file the case? I am divorce in Korea, got it translated and red ribbon at the philippine embassy, ministry of foreign affairs in korea, took it to Korean embassy in the Philippines and DFA.
    Thanks!

    1. I do not advise that you attempt this yourself. Proceedings in Court tend to be technical in nature. There are rules for filing documents and presenting witnesses and evidence which make it necessary for a lawyer to handle these particular cases.

      If costs and other considerations make the hiring of a lawyer difficult, I suggest you go the Public Attorney’s Office of your local city or municipal hall to advise you. The PAO’s services are without cost.

      1. Appreciate your quick response,my concern in PAO’s service is it might take longer because of the number of clients that they have.
        My ex husband actually filed for the recognition before and he went to the point that they only needed few more documents to finalize it but failed to comply since he is out of the country and can’t leave his country because of work until he just lose interest because of the long wait.
        I have all the documents pertaining to the case he filed and might use that as a guideline on what to do on the case.

        The prices of lawyers are ridiculous.
        Do you handle case like this? If so, how much do you charge?

  5. Hi! A filipino citizen got married to a US citizen, after 7 years they divorced, at the time of divorce the former filipino citizen became US citizen.. I just want to ask if it is need to file a foreign court decrees? Do the philippine recogniZe the divorce?

  6. Hi, Im an American Married to a filipina in the philippines. im undergoing divorce in the states. do I need to do something else in the phillipines to be able to remary in the philippines? can she remary as well? or would my divorce from the states be sufficient to remary anywhere in the world? Thank you.

  7. Hi i am Christine married to an indian guy in india last 2013 july but suddenly he moved back to india in august 2014 then he filed a divorce through court in india then we got granted our divorce…my concern is can i marry my boy friend in norway without having a recognation for divorce decree through philippine court hope anyone can help me about this things

    Thanks Christine

    1. If you are to be married in Norway, I would suggest you look into the requirements under Norwegian law. If in the Philippines, the place to start is by checking with the NSO if your Indian marriage was ever registered here at all.

      1. Hi atty i am here again my previous marriage was registered in the philippine embassy in india so i think its also registered here in philippines what should i do about this? should i really need to file a recognation here in phil through philippine court? does pao attorneys handle these case?
        thanks Christine

      2. The Public Attorneys Office handles all manner of cases. It is worth going to their local office to discuss this with them. If you qualify for their legal aid, they can either help in this or refer you to another body of lawyers — like the Integrated Bar of the Philippines — who could handle the case gratis as well.

      3. Hi atty, i have been to the psa-philippine statistic authority was previously called Nso the marriage was registered here in phils but marriage took place in india but i haven’t been to the lawyer you said before but i will go there and check to Intergrared bar here in davao anyway thanks alot for your advice

        Regards Christine

  8. Hi good day! My fiancé and her ex husband (both Filipinos) were married here in the Philippines. Several years ago they migrated to USA and had changed their citizenship. Last year both of them had a divorce which was finalized in the first week of June this year but they were both naturalized citizens years before the divorce took place. Our concern is my fiancé and I want to marry here in the Philippines. Can we get married immediately following the rules indicated in her divorce decree? Or do we need to go through certain process to recognize her divorce and change the annotations in her marriage certificate in NSO to null? Lastly, how long does it usually take if there are any processes that might take place? I would appreciate for any help or advise you can give. Godbless. 🙂

  9. Hi, good day! I got divorce with korean national, I’m still here in korea planning to go back in Philippines for my annulment. I have an American military boyfriend, my question is how long will be the process of my previous marriage to be null and void? How much will it cost? If I go to PAO how long it will take to get it done? Thank you

    1. Hello Lily,

      Your question is about how long the process will take.

      It depends on the kind of case that will be filed. A case to prove and recognize the foreign divorce is different from a case for nullity of marriage.

      If your case is for nullity of marriage, it can take several years. However, a case for recognition of foreign divorce is usually shorter, possibly about six months to about a year in court.

      The PAO is staffed with competent and hardworking lawyers who know their law. They can be expected to accomplish such a case as quickly as private lawyers. But the PAO does require that its clients be indigents in order to qualify for its free legal service.

      You would need to show to the Public Attorney’s Office that you qualify. Under PAO rules, indigency is defined as:

      1. If residing in Metro Manila, whose net income does not exceed Php14,000.00 a month;
      2. If residing in other cities, whose net income does not exceed Php13,000.00 a month;
      3. If residing in other places, whose net income does not exceed Php 12,000.00 a month

  10. Hello,
    My father was Filipino citizen when he divorced my mother and married to a US citizen. Several years later my father divorced his US citizen wife. He got married again and at this point he was already a US citizen. My father already married twice in US. Can my mother submit a petition to the court and will the divorce between my father and my mother recognize under the Philippines Article 26 Family Code? What other way to dissolve my parents’ marriage? My mother is now also a Green card holder if she becomes a US citizen do you think their marriage in the Philippines is still valid? I want to help my mother what can she do? Please help. Thank you very much.

    1. Hello Crystal,

      This situation does not appear to be covered by the Article 26 of the Philippine Family Code. However, if your mother becomes a US citizen then her marital status will no longer necessarily be governed by Philippine law and she may have other remedies available under US law.

  11. Hello,

    Filipino wife was a U.S. green card holder and husband U.S. citizen when married. Wife became U.S. citizen and filed for divorce; will Philippines recognize the divorce? Will she need to file anything with Philippine courts?

  12. I got married in the Philippines in 1981 with a us citizen, Caucasian. Marriage didn’t worked as planned. He filed an annulment and granted in 1982. I came to America in 1990 and got my green card in 2016, married to a Filipino us citizen in 1995. The report of my marriage were turned down by Los Angeles Philippine consulate because , I need to file for a judicial recognition of my final decree of annulment in the Philippines . They can’t issue me a Philippine passport not until I produce the judicial recognition in the Philippines . I don’t have anybody to help me file this paper back in the Philippines and I’m really in dire need to visit my ailing father. Please advise and how much do you charge . Thank you for your kind attention.

  13. Hello attorney ,im a filipino citizen my husband is british we decide to have divorce we wanted to file it in u.k is it possible .my name will remove in nso after the divorce…

    1. Hi Jackie. For the divorce to be recognized in the Philippines, your husband should be the one to initiate the divorce. He should be the one to file for divorce, not you. You can consent to the divorce after he starts the proceedings, but for Philippine law to recognize the divorce, it is important that you are not the one who begins the divorce proceeding.

  14. Hi. I am a filipino citizen got married with an american citizen filipino in a Civil rights last 2011. We did a report of marriage at the philippine consulate in Washington DC because we were planning to get married in the philippines. The divorce was finalize November 2013 and it was my american cotizen ex husband filed the divorce in Maryland. The Philippine embassy already reported ny marriage in the philippines that time. Now, i have a fiancé and we are planning to get married in the philippines. What steps i need to do to make sure i can get married in my home country? Thank you

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      It is pretty much as outlined here. A petition for recognition of foreign divorce needs to be filed in a Philippine court. In preparation for the case, copies of your marriage and divorce documents, as well as the Maryland divorce law, should be certified at the Philippine embassy as these will be presented in court in the course of the trial.

      1. Thank you for replying very promptly. Can i file that myself or i need a lawyer to file it for me there? I currently live in Virginia USA and i want to start this process as soon as possible. I have the marriage and divorce decree with me.

  15. Have obtained a divorce in the U.S. as an American citizen (Florida) and have had the divorce decree authenticated by the state of Florida, Federal government, and even the Philippines Embassy. Forwarded these documents to Filipina ex-spouse in the Philippines. What else would she need to complete this process? How long would the process approximately take if she already has these documents? Would my presence or hers be required in court? What is the approximate cost for obtaining this decree? What exactly did you mean by having the State’s divorce law authenticated? Thank you!

      1. The general requirement is that the Philippine embassy in the foreign country authenticates (red ribbons) the foreign law after a certified copy of the law has been acquired from the appropriate person or foreign government office. The particulars vary according to the state and the embassy.

  16. Hello, please can you help me what to do? I am a filipina who married to a british citizen here in the Uk. I filed divorce because of abusive behaviour and is now granted. What I am going to do in order for me to be able to remarry in the future? I been looking for a right lawyer that can guide me in this matter. Thanks

  17. Hello, I am a filipino legally married in the philippines and have 3 kids, my wife was in the U.S. she only have a tourist visa when her visa already expires. I think my wife wants to stay there and planning to married a U.S citizen and i have no idea my wife planning to do that kind of act with me. Is that kind of action she did is valid? And what legal action can i do? Thank you.

  18. Hi Atty. I am a filipino and divorced with Sri Lankan guy. He is the one who petitioned and obtained the divorced in their country. I wanted to ask if the PSA (NSO) can provide me Amended Marriage Certificate after obtaining the original divorced documents from me authenticated by foreign affairs of their country and philippine embassy in their place. Also, will this be enough for me to remarry again? My ex-husband however, remarries already in their country.
    Please advise how I could able to remarry again.
    Appreciating your kind help.
    Thank you and Regards.

    1. Hi Cielo,

      Assuming that the previous marriage is recorded with the PSA, you will need to go through the court process for recognition of foreign divorce described above in order for your marital status to be changed so that you may remarry.

  19. Thanks. But how long will it take? This seems I was imprisoned haven’t done wrong and will pay a huge amount to recognize my petition. Can I ask also, how much the range to cost me this if I’ll file it in provinces… just an approximate.

  20. helo!we got maried in PI early1990’s,hm a US imigrnt then living in US & I a filipino citizn then living in the Phil. We BOTH obtaind r US citiznshp in US latr whn he petitiond me to live wid him in US. Aftr 13 yrs i obtained dual citizenshp in Phil with our only child. my husband uninterestd get dual citizenshp. Its an unamicable relatnshp, i filed for a divorce in 2016 & was approvd later same year, Both of us are US CITIZENS, am dual(Fil-Am) at time of divorce. Would my divorce be recognizd in d Philipines w/o difficulty and without passing through the court and if I can marry a filipino citizen anytime in the philipines too just in case in the future? If not wht process would you suggest best 4 me to take? thanks.

      1. Thank you Atty for your reply. How long would the process be and what case would be it so our divorce in US will be recognized in the Phil? Again thank you for your prompt reply.

  21. Hello, i am miss hilda papauran eom, can u help me please, its been 11 years i still mirrage from mr. Eom without contact and etc. How can i get to be a single? I have a 1 child from him and he never support.. i want to be a single ang change my status please help me, thank you..

  22. I know a filipina who married a foreigner in the Philippines then they moved to lived in the US. When they went on vacation in Philippines, her foreign husband cheated with another filipina. When they went back to US, the foreigner divorced her in US, petition the other filipina and they got married in the US. The filipina I know is now a US citizen. When her divorced foreign ex-husband and new filipina wife retires in the Philippines, she was informed she can still file a case of adultery and have rights to her divorced foreigner ex-husband assets (house & lot, business, money in the bank) even if the names is in her divorced foreigner ex-husband name and his new filipina wife because there is no Recognition of Divorce record in Philippines. Does the filipina I know still has rights to do such things?

    1. That’s a fairly novel question. For each of those assets, it may partly depend on the supporting paperwork as to who is the registered owner of each, as well as how they were apportioned in the foreign divorce.

      Regarding a charge for adultery – I’m afraid that under our archaic criminal code it is a married woman and her paramour who can be held liable for adultery. A married man carrying on with an unmarried paramour can only be charged with concubinage, an offense much more limited in scope than adultery.

      And even setting that bit of sexist legislation aside, it’s important to consider that a foreigner is governed by his own national law with regard to his marital status. While jurisprudence surrounding Article 26 has expounded on the procedure for civil recognition, I do not take that as preventing an accused in a criminal case from proving his valid divorce during the criminal proceedings.

  23. Hello Atty,

    I am a Canadian citizen, i married a Filipina in 1990 in the Philippines. We moved to Canada, and when my Filipino wife became a Canadian citizen, she filed for a divorce. Now i want to marry another Filipina in the Philippines, do i still need to file a petition for recognition obtained by my wife in Canada so i can marry again in the Philippines?Please advice. Thank you very much!

    Pierre

  24. Hello Atty.,
    I am a U.S. citizen who divorced my Filipino spouse in the U.S. I have my divorce decree authenticated by the Philippines Consulate in San Francisco. I also have an official publication of my state’s divorce law, published by my state’s legislature. Does my state’s divorce law also have to be authenticated by the Philippines Consulate? Thank you!

  25. Hello Atty,

    My husband is a US citizen. A former filipino citizen. He was married in the Philippines ( though he said that the marriage was fake because he never met or seen the judge who took the ceremony). But then he filed a divorced in the US and was granted. Now, we got married abroad and we are planning to get married in the Philippines. Does my husband need to file for the recognition of the divorce in the court? How long usually does it takes? And also, can we report our marriage in the Philippine Embassy here abroad without any problem? We are looking for a lawyer who could help us in this matter.
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi. I suggest you first make a request for a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) to find out whether that marriage was ever officially registered. This can be done in the Philippines or online https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Secure/OnlineApplication.aspx

      The result of the CENOMAR request can help guide you on whether he needs to file for the recognition of the divorce, although it is only a starting point.

      If you can provide more detailed information about his circumstances or have further questions, please send them to contact@lawyerphilippines.org and we’ll be happy to discuss them.

  26. Hello Atty,

    I was married in 1991 but got separated from my wife. She got a divorce in Hongkong in 2001 and married there a Kiwi. They are now living in New Zealand for more than 10 years now.
    My question is can I have that divorce recognized here in the Philippines so I can also remarry? Or do i still need to go thru the annulment process?
    Thank you and hoping for your advice.

      1. Hi Atty,

        Thank you for the reply.

        My ex-wife was the one who obtained the divorce in Hongkong so she could marry the Kiwi. But she was still a Philippine citizen when she divorced me and remarried in Hongkong. She became a Kiwi national only years after of marriage to the Kiwi.

        Please advise on what I can do so I can also get married. I cannot afford to go through the long, tedious and costly process of annulment. Also, we don’t have children or properties to think of.

      2. I’m afraid, given the facts you’ve given, that recognition of foreign divorce is not available. The divorce can only be recognized if it was obtained by a foreigner. Since you were both Filipinos at the time of the divorce, Philippine law will not recognize it even if Hong Kong or New Zealand law do. It may be that a case for nullity is the option if you wish to remarry.

    1. The grounds for nullity need to have existed from the start of the marriage. Bigamy would not by itself be such a ground, but it could be seen as a symptom of psychological incapacity. I can’t say without more information. I suggest you discuss these at length with a lawyer. I’ll send you an email.

  27. Hi Atty,

    If my ex wife secures a divorce from our marriage in New Zealand now that she’s not a Filipino citizen, can I have this divorce recognized here in the Philippines?

    Thank you.

  28. I don’t know her specific circumstances, but I do not think it’s feasible that she would do that based on what you said.

    Her present marriage was made possible on the presumption that her Hong Kong divorce was valid. Otherwise, she would not have been able to remarry in New Zealand. But if she were to again apply for divorce in New Zealand, she would effectively be saying that her present marriage is void and invalid. It’s likely that this would cause immigration issues on top of the chaos to her civil status. I do not think that she would so act against her self interest.

  29. Hi Atty:

    My family moved from Philippines to Canada in 2011 as landed immigrant, after a year I went home to marry my girlfriend. I am about to sponsor her but some sort of things happened and I cancelled the application. My family and I applied for Canadian Citizenship after four years. As a Canadian Citizen, I apply for the divorce, and it was approved by Canadian Government. I want to marry my girlfriend who is now a Permanent Resident here in Canada, but she wants to get married in the Philippines. Can I marry her? Can my ex-wife sue me for that? Or do I need to apply for petition to get marry again? Thank you. Very much appreciated.

  30. Hi,

    I got married in the US as Filipino Citizen to a US Citizen Filipino. Got divorced, with my ex-husband filing the case. Now, I am US citizen who wants to just marry in the Philippines to another US Citizen. Now trying to secure the necessary documents for the wedding and got a CEMA instead of CENOMAR due to my first marriage. Do I still need to secure a decree recognizing my foreign divorce to clear my record at the Civil Registry? Can I just marry without the decree and the CENOMAR?

    Please advise.

  31. Dear Lawyer
    What about a filipina that was married in the Philippines to a filipino and got a dual citizenship later? If she gets a divorce from her filipino husband in the second country of citizenship, will this divorce be recognised in the Philippines? She is foreigner and filipino at the same time so it is a difficult question.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi. My view is that dual citizens, foreigners and former Filipino citizens can file a petition to have their foreign divorce recognized in the Philippines IF the divorce was obtained by someone not a Filipino at the time of the divorce. The law applies when “a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry,”

      The situation would be different if the divorce abroad was obtained by a dual citizen. A dual citizen is a Filipino. The Supreme Court has ruled that “an absolute divorce secured by a Filipino married to another Filipino is contrary to our concept of public policy and morality and shall not be recognized in this jurisdiction.” Bayot vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 155635, November 7, 2008

  32. Dear Atty
    We both have dual citizenships (Aust/Filipinos) when granted divorce overseas. How do I go about claiming my property share in the philippines? It’s a conjugal property. my ex who’s now back living here in Phils has already a child from another woman.

  33. Married in the Philippines, both filipinos. Migrated to US, then husband became naturalized US citizen, he divorced me then married another filipina in the US. Two years after I was divorced, I remarried also to a filipino, we were both filipinos when we got married in US. My husband and I are now US citizens but we plan to retire in the Philippines this year. I have not filed recognition for divorce yet, I don’t know if my ex-husband did. How can I report my US marriage? What papers do I have to be ready with?

  34. Good day!

    My ex and husband and I got married here in the Philippines in 2012 but he filed a divorce against me in 2014 that was granted in California. All I want is to use my maiden name again. Do I still need to file a recognition of foreign divorce? I have the divorce papers from USA but it doesn’t have (red ribbon) from the Philippine Embassy in the US. Is it going to be a problem to recognize our divorce here?
    How much will this process cost approximately? I will highly appreciate a reply.

  35. Hi, I have a question to ask if it is fine. Thank you.

    The couple were married in the Philippines. Migrated to Australia and later got divorced. When the divorced was obtained only the wife was an Australian citizen while the husband was a permanent resident of the country. It is only the past couple of years that the husband applied for citizenship which was granted. It is the husband’s intention to remarry again in the Philippines.

    My question is: Does the husband need judicial recognition? If he does what sort of documents or proof would he be presenting to the court for the divorced in Australia to be recognized?

    I would appreciate your answer. Thank you very much.

  36. Hello, and thank you for this very helpful article.

    I am a Filipina with a foreign ex-spouse. Our marriage and subsequent divorce were both done abroad, but the marriage was reported at the Philippine embassy so I am sure I am recorded as married at the PSA so I already know I need a judicial recognition.

    You said that in order to file the petition for judicial recognition, the divorce must be initiated by the foreign spouse. In my case, we divorced by signed mutual agreement. So our final divorce decree from the court abroad says that we BOTH initiated the divorce. My question is: will this be acceptable to the local RTC? Thanks!

  37. Good day. My BF and I are planning to get married soon.
    He and his ex-wife got married here in the Philippines.
    Migrated to US and eventually both became US citizens.
    Eventually got divorced. (Both were US citizens at time of divorce).
    Question is, does he need to file a petition for recognition of divorce decree before we get married? Despite him being considered now as a US citizen? Thanks

    1. It’s usually a barrier when he applies for a marriage license. Since a CENOMAR is usually a requirement for the marriage license, if he cannot get one because of his marriage record then local government won’t issue a marriage license.

  38. Hi Atty, appreciate your response.
    My boyfriend and I wants to get married. He is a naturalized Austrian citizen.
    1) he is already divorced
    2) at the time of obtaining the divorce, his ex-wife is a naturalized Austrian. My bf at that time is still a Filipino
    3) Can he re-marry here in the Phils?

    Thanks in advance.

    Cel

    1. Hi. It depends on who filed for divorce. If it was his ex-wife, who was already an Austrian at the time, then the divorce can be recognized here. If he filed it, then it cannot be recognized. If they filed it jointly, it’s more of a gray area.

      1. Hi, Thank you for your quick response.

        I believe it was jointly filed.
        Do you think the divorce will be recognized here? Otherwise, it will be unfair for my BF not being able to remarry. I hope the intention of the law is not unfair.

        Thank you.

        Cel

  39. Greetings Atty.. What if the situation goes like this. Korean husband and Filipina wife got married in the Phils. Korean eventually sought divorce. Korean got married again in the Phils to another Filipina. He however cannot take the new wife to Korea due to problems in travel documents wherein an annotation to the marriage contract with first wife regarding the divorce is needed. Can the Korean file a recognition of the divorce decree since the first Filipina wife is in no way interested or not in need of filing the petition yet?

  40. Atty. im married to an australian citizen. Formerly filipino citizen unfortunately our marriage failed he just decided to not get in touch with me. Kind of like an abandonment. I wondering how him and i can be legally separated without spending that much like from an annulment. I heard he can file a divorce there in australia and it was mentioned to me by mg friend that it’s going to be cheaper. Where do you think i can get further information of the process? I really dont want to have any attachment from him. I really want to be educated on what I need to do. Thanks in advance and Godbless.

      1. Hi Atty. we have the same scenario but the only difference is, my wife papers in Australia is Single. Married in Philippines last 2010, She went to Australia last 2012 and got a citizenship last 2017. She decided not to continue our marriage. how can I or she cut our marriage? I may say that there was an-declaring of information on her side. I was still here in Philippines.

      2. She could explore filing for divorce there in Australia. As long as she does not have Filipino citizenship, such a divorce can be recognized here.

  41. Hi atty. What if parties are both Filipino then moved to US and become dual citizen (Filipino and American) there. Can either of the party file a divorce abroad? If so, then it will not distinguish whether they are Filipino and American at the same time because what I have known is that only an alien citizenship can obtain divorce abroad and not a Filipino, however in this case parties have both citizenship. Thank you!

    1. Foreigners and former Filipino citizens can also file a petition to have their foreign divorce recognized in the Philippines IF the divorce was obtained by someone not a Filipino at the time of the divorce. The law applies when “a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry,”

      The situation would be different if the divorce abroad was obtained by a dual citizen. A dual citizen is a Filipino. The Supreme Court has ruled that “an absolute divorce secured by a Filipino married to another Filipino is contrary to our concept of public policy and morality and shall not be recognized in this jurisdiction.” Bayot vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 155635, November 7, 2008

      1. So in other words, Former Filipino who became an alien (naturalized) has much right to obtain a valid divorce abroad than a Dual Citizen (American and Filipino), am I correct Atty? Thanks.

  42. Hello

    I hope you take some time for this….My husband is Italian, I am a Filipina. We had a civil marriage in the Philippines. Then moved and worked in Spain (I do not possess a Spanish citizenship), but I have an Spanish Identity Card, and was also advised to have a our divorce obtained under Spanish law. What specific paper work does the Spanish lawyer have to obtain, and is required by the Philippine law to allow the Filipina to remarry. `There is a ‘Recognition of Foreign Divorce’ that can be filed, but it must show the Foreigner is the one who initiated it. How does that work, do I have to advise my lawyer to have it stated on paper that the foreigner is the sole initiator? Is that a specific article/paper to be signed?

    `I understand my Italian husband and I can obtain a divorce (it would look like a normal communal divorce) though and I am not sure if that is enough for the Philippine court or i have to present a paper that appears that I do not agree with the decision and that it is he who initiated it.

    What other procedures would follow after that?

    Thank you so much.

  43. Hello! I hope you can help me with my situation. I am a Filipino citizen living in Australia. I was married before in Philippines and had an annulment granted and annotated by NSO. I remarry an Australian citizen here in Australia, my marriage was not reported to the Philippine consulate as my Australian spouse don’t want hassles at that time. Then My marriage to my australian spouse broke down but we haven’t filed a divorce yet. So I am separated currently Now, I met a new guy and he want to marry me in future in the Philippines. ” My NSO Cenomar shows that I was married in the philippines to a filipino and has a remarked Annulment Null and void and theres no other marriage recorded” My question are

    1. WILL I be able to remarry in the Philippines after i got my australian divorced, Without breaking the law? (As nso cenomar record shows im free to marry)

    2. Will my future marriage be legal and recognized in the Philippines?

    3. I knew about recognition of foreigned divorced not recognized if the petitioner is the filipino spouse. Will it be better or Will I be allowed (without problems) to remarry in the philippines, if I will get my Australian citizenship, australian divorced, as an Australian citizen and not filipino. And then re-acquire my philippine citizenship later on (after marriage) and filed Report of marriage after re-acquiring my philippine citizenship?

    I just want to know possible way to have my next marriage legal and recognized in the philippines and will not have to face any future legal problems as we plan to have children that can get dual citizenship someday.

    ” He want philippine wedding ceremony in front of my filipino family”.

    Thank you very much. Cheers!

  44. If a former Filipino (now naturalized American citizen) filed for divorce, can the person marry someone in the Philippines without filing for petition to recognize foreign divorce since the person is now an American citizen? Will that marriage in the Philippines be valid in the Philippines? And then, what happens when after getting married, the former Filipino (now naturalized American citizen) files for dual-citizenship?

    1. If the person has an existing marriage record in the civil registry, she probably cannot get a Certificate of No Marriage from the Philippine Statistics Authority, which is a requirement for a marriage license in most cities/provinces. However, there is nothing to stop this foreign citizen from marrying abroad, and that will be a valid marriage.

      The subsequent filing of dual citizenship will have no effect on the divorce and marriage as long as the divorce was obtained while the person was not a Filipino citizen.

  45. Good day. A divorce decree is granted to both naturalized American citizens at the time of divorce. They were Filipino citizens at time of marriage. One of the parties (american citizen) wants to marry a dual citizen (American & Filipino) in the Philippines. Does a petition for the recognition of the divorce decree still need to be filed in Philippine court? How about if they get married in the US?

    1. If one of them wishes to marry in the Philippines, it would be best for him/her to make a request for a CENOMAR. Since virtually all local governments require a CENOMAR for the issuance of a marriage license, this will tell the person if he/she needs to file a case for recognition in the Philippines.

      Philippine recognition of the US divorce is probably not necessary for marriage in the US.

  46. Hi,

    Can you help me out. I have an unusual situation (I think..)
    Back in April of 2013 I married a green card holder in the Philippines. He then flew to the US. Last February 2017 he was naturalized as a US Citizen, while I’m still a green card holder. I am planning to file for a divorce here in the US but I believe that it will not be recognized in the Philippines not unless HE files it. The problem is, he don’t want to partake in anything especially when it involves me. So I was thinking of filing a divorce here and then filing for annulment back in the Philippines. My question is this: can I still annul him in the Philippines even though he is now already a US Citizen? I’m pretty sure he won’t file the divorce here and have the papers recognized in the Philippines – that’s how he HATES me. So is it possible for the annulment to push through even though He’s a US Citizen? I don’t want to wait to be a US Citizen and then file the divorce here just so it can get recognized in the Philippines.

    Please HELP!

    1. If you wish to dissolve the marriage, it may really be best to await your US citizenship before filing for divorce because securing a declaration of nullity (annulment) in the Philippines is a far more complicated exercise.

      Will send you an email.

  47. Good day!

    I was married to a Dutch Citizen in 2013 in the Philippines and also our marriage was registered in the Netherlands. After a year we broke up because of his infidelity affair with another Filipina. His marital status in Netherlands is still married to me as verified. Can he marry another Filipina, knowing that in the Philippines is no divorce but only annulment. I already asked him to file our divorce but got no response and continued his affairs on facebook.

    Your response is highly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. No, he cannot legally marry until his previous marriage is dissolved. Bigamy is a criminal offense under both Philippine and Dutch law.

  48. Thank you so much for your prompt reply and I truly appreciated.

    But is it possible to file a legal case against my husband and his mistress, they both showed their pictures together and confirmed their relationship in the social media. Inspite, of having sent our marriage contract, the CENOMAR of my husband from PSA and the email confirmation from the city government of The Nederlands they continued to ignore it.

    Again, thank you and I am looking forward to hearing you soonest.

  49. Good day, Atty. I understand the cases that you have discussed above. But still, l want to make things clear. This is the case of a friend. They were both Filipino citizens when they got married here in the Philippines. They migrated to the US and filed for divorce when they were already US citizens. They should or either one of them need to file for a petition for recognition of divorce to be able to remarry here in the Philippines, right? If that is so, what are the requirements aside from the documents of their divorce? What are the procedures? Is it ok if a relative from US will just bring the papers here and file in the court with a lawyer? Are there procedures needed to do at the embassy or consulate of the Philippines in the US?

    Your reply will be very much appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi. They typically would need to go through the judicial recognition process. I outline the steps in another article here –

      https://lawyerphilippines.org/2017/04/11/recognition-of-foreign-divorce-in-the-philippines-process/

      One of the spouses would ideally come to the Philippines to testify during the course of the proceedings, but someone else with personal knowledge of the circumstances and of the documents could if the former is impossible.

  50. Hi Atty. I’m a Filipina and got married to an American 2 years ago. I went back here in the Philippines because of my work and my husband is back in the US. I’m thinking about divorce since my husband is no longer communicating with me for the last 8 months. We got married in the US but I was not able to report it to Philippine Embassy at that time so my status here in the Philippines is still single. Do I still need to report my marriage if we’re getting a divorce anyway? I’m still a Filipino citizen. Appreciate your feedback on this. Thank you!

  51. Good evening po!
    Atty. ask ko lang po. Kasal po kami ng husband ko dito sa pilipinas and 5 years na po kaming di nagsasama hanggang sa he decided to end our marriage po. He is a U.S citizen. gi divorce po nya ako doon sa lugar nila at pinadala nya asa akin and authenticated na po from their country. Gusto ko lang pong malaman, kung ano po ba ang dapat kung gawin para maipa recognize ko sya dito sa pilipinas? ano po ba ang requirements? meron na po akong NSO copy ng marriage certicicate and a Certified through copy of divorce decree. Please po I need you’re help. Thank You and God bless.

    Regards,
    Ohara

  52. Wife born in the Philippines becomes American citizen married a Filipino on Sept. 18, 2000 obtained divorce in US on March 2002. later became a dual citizen on Feb. 2017..Now Wife files a recognition of foreign divorce..granted or not?

    1. None of the facts provided disqualify it. It probably should be granted, provided the necessary evidence is presented.

  53. Wife was a former Filipina, and right now is Australian Citizenship. Married in Philippines before going to Australia but her papers was single in Australia Records. How she can cut the marriage in Philippines now she was Australian Citizenship?

    1. I can’t speak to Australian law in this situation, but if she is not a Filipino (dual) citizen, then a divorce obtained in Australia can be recognized in the Philippines.

  54. Hi I have a question Sir. My divorced husband who is a naturalized US citizen was married to a Filipina in 1985 in Manila City Hall. The former wife then became US citizen too. After 20+ years of marriage they got divorced (both of them being US citizen at that time). Now I am a Filipino citizen and I married the US citizen husband in Hawaii last January. I was filing for a change of passport under married name but I was instructed to report foreign marriage but unable to do that because we need my husband to report foreign divorce first according to the philippine embassy in hawaii. Do we really need to do that if the divorce was done between two US citizen at the time of divorce? Which civil registry or regional trial office should we file the report? Both of the former married couple were from ilocos but the marriage was officiated in manila city.

    1. Yes, I’m afraid it’s necessary. The case should be filed in Manila where the marriage took place. I’ll send you an email.

  55. Hi Atty. My question is what if a filipina married a filipino who was still a u.s immigrant when the divorce in U.S was obtained? And now that the Filipina saw that the Filipino is now married in U.S and assumed that the filipino now is a u.s citizen. How can the filipina obtain to recognize the divorce and remarry instead of going through annulment?

      1. Another question.is.. what if the Filipina can has no whereabouts of Filipino in U.S. Lastly, what of during their marriage there was never a sexual intercourse happened. Is that considered null and void?

      2. Yes, a non-consummated marriage can be declared null and void under certain circumstances. But it still requires a court judgment to make it so.

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