Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree

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]


148 thoughts on “Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree

  1. ABG

    Hello Atty Fred. I am a foreigner and was married to a Filipina in Manila. The marriage was a hoax since I found out the only intent of the marriage was to “go to America”. The marriage was never consummated and the Filipina disappeared shortly after. I was granted a divorce in the US about a year after the disappearance. The divorce was correctly processed with attempted service in Manila (without success since she disappeared) and with publication both in Manila and the US. My question is, am I now free to remarry in the Philippines and the US? Do I have to file the US divorce decree in the Philippines? If so, where and how. Thanks, Atty

    1. Atty.Fred Post author

      ABG, foreigners are governed by their national laws on marriage and divorce.

  2. jimmy

    hi! i am married here in manila, my wife migrated to US.Now she is American Citizen she filed a dissolution of marriage.Now i received the decision regarding the dissolution.Right now my wife already have her own family in US.My question is do i have to file an annulment here in manila for me to remarry again?

  3. Shasha

    Hello Atty.,
    Good Day
    I was married of an American national here in the Philippines last September 2003, 3 days after our wedding he flew back to USA. April 2006 he visited me here in the Philippines for 20 days. Then July 2007 he filed a divorce in the USA and i received the final decree of my divorce last December 2007. I live here in the Philippines…. I never been to U.S.A.
    I want to use my single name back but in the final decree of my divorce it doesnt show that he put my single name back.
    And now my Final Divorce Decree is on the Philippine Consulate in America for Authentication they will send it back to me soon.

    I just want to ask you some questions:
    1.) Where to file my Final Divorce Decree Authenticated to be recognize here in the Philippines.
    2.) How long does it takes to process that, to get my singleness back?
    3.) How much does it cost?
    4.) Does my Mother can process that for me? Do i need to fix my signature on that? Because im planning to go out of the Philippines soon.
    5.) And after that what is the next step do i need to do?
    All my paperworks was changed into the surname of my ex-husband my passport, sss and voters id. I want to change that back to my single name please help me.
    6) After that can i remarry again?

    I BADLY NEEDED MY SINGLENESS. I want to void or null my marriage record at the NSO and to get my singlenessback.. I need my singleness..

    I hope you can help my problem.. Please help me out..

    Thank you in advance, more power..
    And may God bless you all.

    Sincerely yours,

  4. MeAko

    Hi! A filipino couple used to be married. The husband went to the US and later on decided to file a divorce. The divorce was granted and he is now currently married to a different woman in the US. Since divorce is not recognized in the Philippines, what would be the status of the ex-wife? She still uses the exhusband last name. Should she still claim herself as single,married or separated?
    Thanks in advance

  5. klaus.lund

    HI !
    One question ???

    I am that lucky to have a philippine girlfried (with philippine passport), we both live in Denmark and she is devorced from a danish man.
    They got married in the philippines, and they are divorced in denmark ( meaning that the danish man has a legal divorce, and are able to remarry ).
    What are the procedures, in order to get the divorce reconiced in Philippine, so thar she can optain a legal remarrying ( under the rules in EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 209
    THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES – Art. 26 and (as amended by E.O. No. 227, dated July 77, 1987)

    Klaus Lund

  6. Bjar

    I am an American citizen who married a Filipina woman in Manila. We made the mistake of marrying too quickly. I now realize that my wife and I have different morals, ethics, values, and goals in life, and we are incompatible with each other. I would like to file for divorce in the USA. If the Philippine court system grants us a judicial recognition of foreign divorce decree, will each of us then be free to remarry another person in the Philippines, or do we also need to file an annulment in order to remarry?

  7. lester

    What if I am a man and secure a full divorce here in Canada on my cheater ex wife.Can I get remarried in the Philippines again with out going through the courts there ???

  8. disa

    hi, I just want to know that as a British woman if I divorce my Filipino husband for infidelity what rights do I still have here? Do I loose my residency? No kids. Thanks. Disa

  9. alexander6629

    Hi. I am a british citizen from birth who met and married a filipina girl in a church wedding in philippines in 2003.she came to live in england and unfortunately i filled for divorce due to unreasonable behavior last year 1 month after she received british citizenship.i have met another girl and would like to marry again in philippines but need to have my divorce recognised in philippines. who do i go to in the uk to sort this?

  10. Unnah

    Hello Atty…

    I was married of an Indonesian here in Japan on May 16, 2005…
    Then Sept. 6 this year he filed a divorce here in Japan…

    I want to void or null my marriage record at the NSO and to get my singleness back..
    How is the process here in the Philppines?

    I hope You can help me…

    Thank You Very Much.

    My email address sergio_paolo28@yahoo.com


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