Will A Foreign Divorce Be Recognized In The Philippines?

A Filipino citizen (husband) and a foreign citizen (wife) marry in the Philippines; sometime later, the foreign spouse files and is granted a divorce in her country. Will the Filipino spouse be able to marry again in the Philippines by virtue of the foreign divorce papers sent to him by his ex-wife?

When I did my research on this topic, the first valid answer I got was from the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs. According to the page:

When a divorce is validly obtained abroad and initiated by the foreign spouse, the Filipino spouse shall have the capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

The divorce granted to the foreign spouse must be confirmed and enforced in the Philippines in order for it to take effect. The Filipino spouse needs to have the divorce documented and the details of which must reflect on his Certificate of Marriage in order for him to be able to marry again (or remain officially single, if he so chooses).

How to file a foreign divorce in the Philippines:

  1. The proper civil action must be filed at the Regional Trial Court in the Philippines for the foreign divorce decree to be judicially enforced.
  2. The court decision shall be registered in the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the concerned RTC-Philippine functions.
  3. Prepare the following documents to be presented to the City Civil Registry Office at the Manila City Hall:
    • Original or Certified True Copy of the foreign judgment or order duly registered at the City Civil Registry Office at the Manila City Hall (CCRO Manila)
    • Original or Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Finality of the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC-Phil).
    • Certificate of Registration of the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC-Phil) at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the concerned RTC-Phil functions.
    • PSA marriage certificate, if the couple were married in the Philippines. If not, present the marriage certificate from the foreign country.
    • Report of Marriage of a Filipino married abroad (if one was filed with the DFA)
    • Official copies of foreign divorce documents.
    • Certified copy of the foreign country’s divorce law.
    • Documents showing proof of citizenship (such as naturalization certificates, etc.)
  4. Submit the annotated documents to the Office of the Civil Registrar General in Manila.

Additional documents may be required by the LCR and the petitioner must be able to provide these documents (or its equivalent) in order for the divorce recognition to be completed.

Foreign-issued documents must be certified by the issuing foreign office and authenticated by the Philippine Embassy.

The above, however, does not cover all other situations related to foreign divorce. A common misconception about foreign divorce is that Filipinos can file and get a divorce abroad (in a country where divorce is legal), thinking that by doing so, their Philippine marriage is automatically dissolved.

I found some useful information on the Lawyers in the Philippines website and am sharing it here now for everyone’s guidance. I think that the best way to truly appreciate the policies on divorce and annulment is to always remember that there is no divorce in the Philippines and the only way a married couple may legally separate and re-marry is to file an annulment and pray that it be granted to them. Therefore, if a Filipino obtained a divorce abroad, the divorce must not be automatically considered applicable to his or her marriage in the Philippines, or to his capacity to re-marry when he or she comes home. Certain conditions must be met and the process must go through the courts in order for the foreign divorce to be recognized. And then again, there are cases when the foreign divorce may not be recognized by Philippine laws at all.

With that, I hope you find the following information useful:

Q1: If two Filipinos obtain a divorce abroad, will their divorce be recognized in the Philippines?

A: No. A foreign divorce will only be recognized in the Philippines if at least one of the spouses is not a Filipino citizen at the time of the divorce.

Q2: If two Filipinos divorce abroad and then one of them becomes a foreign citizen afterwards, will their divorce be recognized in the Philippines?

A: No. If both of them were still Filipino citizens at the time of the divorce, the divorce will not be recognized.

Q3: If two Filipinos marry and then one is a foreign citizen at the time of the divorce, will the divorce be recognized in the Philippines?

A: Yes. If one of the parties is not a Filipino citizen at the time of the divorce, the divorce can be recognized in the Philippines.

Q4: If a Filipino who obtained a divorce abroad from his or her foreign spouse, and reports the divorce to the Philippine embassy, will the divorce be automatically recognized in the Philippines?

A: No. The divorce must be filed for recognition in the Philippines. You can do this by submitting the documents mentioned above and by undergoing a court process.

Q5: If the foreign divorce documents are authenticated at the DFA or the Philippine Embassy, will the divorce be recognized by the Philippines?

A: No. Again, for a foreign divorce to be recognized, a case must be filed in court for it to be judicially enforced.

What if my foreign divorce is already granted and recognized in the Philippines, and yet my Certificate of Marriage still does not show the details of my divorce?

A request for copy issuance of the Certificate of Marriage with annotation on the effects of divorce abroad resulted to a negative result or COM without annotation.

How to correct:

  • File the divorce decree for recognition in the Philippine Regional Trial Court.
  • Register the foreign divorce decree to the LCRO where the RTC that granted the petition is located.
  • Provide the copy of the registered court decree and certificate of finality to the LCRO where the marriage was registered for the annotation in the COM.
  • Once registered, you may now request for an annotated COM at PSA.  The complete set of documents: registered court decree, certificate of finality, certificate of registration and the annotated COM is to be forwarded through courier to PSA for processing. You may also hand-carry the set of documents for filing an application at PSA-Central Outlet, East Avenue.

If you wish to learn more about having a foreign divorce recognized in the Philippines, you may speak with a family lawyer or inquire at the Local Civil Registry office in your city or municipality.

References:

Philippine Statistics Authority

Lawyers in the Philippines

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Published by MasterCitizen

I collect citizen facts and the usual stuff that might be important for a Pinoy's everyday life....Subscribe to get updates, opinions, and news.

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