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.

132 thoughts on “Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree

  1. 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?

  2. 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,

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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?

  6. Pingback: Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part 5): Overseas Filipinos Edition at Philippine e-Legal Forum

  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. Pingback: Divorce in the Philippines - are you in favor or not? - Page 5 - Tsikot Philippines 2011

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  10. 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

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. Delmitch

    Hi Atty.
    I am a Malaysian citizen from birth who met and married a Filipina girl in a church wedding in Philippines. She came to live with me in Malaysia, unfortunately I filed for divorce due to her infidelity last 2009. I have my divorce decree. I went to the Philippine Embassy as well together with my ex-wife and we have a few questions from the Embassy regarding the divorce and I tell the reasons behind it and with the confirmation from my ex-wife.
    I have met another girl and would like to marry again in Philippines. Can I get married in Philippines any time? Is my divorce recognized in Philippines since I go through in Philippine Embassy here as well? If not, who do i go to in Malaysia to sort this?
    Please help me ASAP. Your respond is HIGHLY appreciated. Thank you so much.

  14. Delmitch

    Hi Atty.
    Sorry about my questions on the first message that i sent out. I understand now, but i have a few questions.
    Can I file a petition for the recognition of my divorce decree here in Malaysia so I can marry again in Philippines? Please respond to my query. Thank you so much.

  15. nogginz


    what if=> we file annulment with my wife, she is now in NEW YORK base.. but she is now have A green card/resident certificate.. is she still live in the US even we have legal separation and with out my family name…


    my bisa ba ang kanyang pangalan sa dalaga pa sya SHEILA P. GINGOYON.. at hindi na apelyido ko… mananatili ba sya doon..

    thank you very much sir…


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