Divorce is not allowed in the Philippines and divorce secured anywhere by a Filipino is not recognized in this jurisdiction.We already have a number of discussions on this. In certain instances, however, a divorce validly secured abroad may be recognized here in the Philippines.
What are circumstances that would make Article (Family Code) applicable?
We have a basic discussion on Article 26 of the Family Code (see: Divorce and Annulment in the Philippines). Included in that discussion are the two elements that must be shown before the second paragraph of Article 26 is applied:
- 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.
Is this provision applicable to former Filipinos?
Yes. A Filipino who loses his/her Philippine citizenship is treated as a foreigner-spouse for purposes of applying Article 26. [See Mixed marriages]
This law provides that the divorce must be secured by the foreigner-spouse. What if the foreigner-spouse continually maltreats the Filipino/Filipina spouse, isn’t it unfair that the Filipino/Filipina can’t initiate divorce?
Prior to the change in jurisprudence, the Filipino spouse cannot initiate the divorce proceedings even if he/she is maltreated by the alien spouse. notwithstanding the fact of being abused. It resulted to an unfair situation. [This reply has been updated in light of recent jurisprudence. See Mixed Marriages and Divorce: When One Spouse is a Foreigner, Divorce is Recognized even if Initiated by the Filipino Spouse]
If there’s already a divorce validly secured abroad (by the foreigner-spouse or the Filipino spouse who became a foreign citizen, losing his/her Filipino citizenship in the process), can the Filipino spouse immediately remarry?
No. The existence of a valid divorce decree does not automatically entitle the Filipino to remarry in the Philippines. The foreign divorce decree must be judicially recognized in the Philippines. This means that the proper action or petition must be filed in a Philippine court. For purposes of re-marriage, the divorce validly secured abroad is not automatically recognized here in the Philippines. [See: Process of Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree]
Isn’t it enough that I already forwarded the divorce decree to the Philippine Embassy (or the Department of Foreign Affairs) and the National Statistics Office (NSO)?
No. The foreign divorce decree must be recognized here in the Philippines — a process which can only be done through the courts.
Why should we waste money in filing a petition in court for the recognition of the divorce decree?
This is the requirement of law, unfortunately. The divorce decree must be proven, just like any fact, in court. The presentation of the divorce decree is insufficient. Proof of its authenticity and due execution must be presented. This necessarily entails proving the applicable laws of the jurisdiction where the foreigner-spouse is a national. One of the requirements under Article 26 is that the decree of divorce must be valid according to the national law of the foreigner. [See Process of Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree]
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