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 (read more here and here). In certain instances, however, a divorce validly secured abroad by a non-Filipino 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 (click here: 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. See the discussion here.

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?

It may be unfair, but that’s the law, consistent with the State’s policy of not allowing divorce for Filipinos. This doesn’t mean, however, that the Filipino/Filipina has no other recourse. If the circumstances fall under the grounds for annulment/declaration of nullity, then the marriage could still be annulled or declared null and void from the beginning.

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, however, 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.

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 may 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 (who could be a former Filipino) 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.

148 thoughts on “Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree

  1. honeylove

    Good Evening!

    Dear Atty.

    I am married to a Japanese last 2009 in caloocan city. Pagkatapos namin kinasal umuwi siya sa Japan. hindi na ako nakasunod sa kanya dahil hindi lumabas ang visa ko, hanggang umabot ng dalawang taon dinidivorce na niya ako. may natanggap na akong divorce report ngayun translated by: Provider Travel Corporation.
    anu ang gagawin ko gusto ko sana magpakasal ngayun ng filipino
    Atty. please advise me. Thank you so much!

  2. june_reyes

    i am a permanent resident, and will soon be granted citizenship abroad. me and my foreigner husband got married in philippines and came back abroad. my problem is, he is verbally abusive towards me. i find it is more damaging than being physically beat/abused. we have one daughter who still carries my last name, as we didnt get married until after i had my daughter. i was of legal age when i got married. both me and my husband are sane. im working full time, he doesnt have a job. ive read your columns on annulment,but none of it would apply to me. i want to be free from my husband, and be free to marry again in the future if given a good man. is there any hope for me at all? how unfortunate to think i married a good man, only to find out later i’d be badly abused..

  3. olang


    itatanong ko lang po sa inyo ang aking promblema.
    tungkol po ito s fiance ko,divorce po clang asaw nya sa canada
    at wala po clang anak.cla ay nsa canada,peru di pa
    sila annuled sa pinas kng saan po cla kinasal.
    at napagdesisyunan namin ng fiance ko na magpakasal dto sa hongkong
    at ready na po ang lahat dito.wala po bng magiging epekto nito
    sa pagaaply nya ng citizeship sa canada ang pgpapakasal po namin
    dito.at nd po b magkakaroon ng prblema sa pagpapa annul nya sa
    pinas kng sakali po.
    single po,at yn po ang gumugulo sa isip ko,gsto kong maliwanag po
    ang lahat bgo kmi magpakasal dto.

    maraming salamat po,pakisend nalang po sa email ko ang sagot nyo.

  4. cmpeagar

    Hi atty,
    Good day to you.

    I am a filipina married now to american for almost 1 year,
    i want to ask something and pls help me.

    my husband is married before to a filipina also.

    here is the situation:

    the filipina is naturalize US citizen now,
    She is the one who filled the uncontested divorce.
    and they are before we got married…
    we plan to file an annulment.
    But the lawyer said not need annulment its just recognition of the divorce. and without the sign of x filipina the marriage are voided now…

    my question is…
    did we process it legal way?
    and is there a reference or bases of that kind of process?
    thank you

  5. Garth

    What are the requirements for Recognition Of Foreign Document ( DIVORCE )here in Philippines that I should get before going to a Lwyer?..

    1. Olive

      Hi garth,
      We have the same issue here.. I also need the requirement how to file recognition of foreign divorce here in the philippines.. Please advice..
      Thank you so much

  6. Nicole

    Good Day! I have a friend whose parents were married here in the Philippines. But, his father had asked his mother to sign divorce papers and filed it in the US. Now, his father is married in the US with a Filipino as well. So, is the divorce filed by my friend’s father in the US recognized here in the Philippines?

  7. Maya

    Atty kasal po ako sa isang Japanese national dito sa Japan 6years ago pero di din Kami nagtagal at nag divorced agad now may mgakakababy n kami ng Japanese partner ko now at gusto sana namin magpakasal pero pag kukuha ako ng singleness sa pinas married pa din ang nakalagay na sayang nagiging conflict sa pagpapakasal namin.ano po dapat kong Gawin?

  8. joel

    hi there! i have a christian friend married in christian wedding and got separated, then the husband converted to muslim and file a divorce under the muslim law in the phils, in short they were divorce in muslim law (PD 1083), the NSO/LCRO recognized the Shari’ah Court decision of divorce and annotation appear to their marriage certificate from NSO. the question is, IS THE GUY BECAME SINGLE APPEAR TO HIS CENOMAR? and IS THE GUY CAN RE-MARRY TO A CHRISTIAN WOMAN AGAIN? pls help advise sir/ma’am..thank you very much.

  9. Joy

    Do you know where i can get the Specific provision of Law statating that my divorce in the US was acknowledge and that both parties can re-marry.? please help thank you

  10. juliet

    gusto ko pong malamn kong may bisa pa po ba ang divorce ng mga muslim kasi doon po ako nag file ng
    divorce at hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin na approve sa NSO ,pabalik balik lang ang aking papel, ako po ay ikinasal sa aking unang asawa sa civil rights

  11. rhea

    hi atty fred,
    i am married to a japanese in 2005 and got separated that same year. i then had live in partner and had 2 kids with him. they are using their biological father’s surname. is it right? i havent heard anything from my ex husband since then, i sent him letters tho. what should i do to end my marriage with him? he is not replying to any of my letters. thank you.

  12. terence m. katoh

    i am a filipina at japanese citizen po ang xhusband ko at 5yrs. na po kaming ng divorce…pwde po ba akong mgfile ng petition? ksi wala na pi kming contact ng xhusband ko at ang huling pag-uusap nmin ay nasabi nya na di nxa mkikialam sa annulment o khit na anong my kinalaman sa pgppwlang bisa ng kasal namin d2 sa pinas…

  13. Joyce

    Dear Atty,

    I am a filipina. I was married to a singaporean in the philippines also in singapore. Last 2013 he filed a divorce. Now im married to a filipino here in singapore. We have a registy of marriage. How can we nulify our marraige certificate with my previous foreign husband. So i can re marry in the philippines?

    1. Olive

      Hi joyce and atty.
      Regarding of your question we have the same issue. Im a filipina and i was married with a singaporean..our married is been declared in singapore embassy..by then i was divorce with him for almost 8 years and did know his whereabouts now.. My problem is im still using his family name until now and i wanted to get back my singleness status.. Do u know how? Do u have any idea? Can i share it to me?
      The reason why i want to get back my singleness is because i am already remarry to a perfect man and we have 1 baby girl now.. I cant able to used his family name because of the issue of my X HUSBAND..

      Your reply is much appreciated.. Thank u

  14. Lyn

    Hello. Regarding the procedure of Recognition of foreign divorce,magkano po ang mag file sa court? Will it take long?


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