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. Luis

    A Filipina was divorced from her foreign spouse. The foreign spouse remarried and later died. If the Filipina want to remarry, does she need to have her divorce judicially recognized by a Philippine court before she can be allowed to remarry even if her former spouse had already died?

  2. Nith

    Hello Atty. Me and my BF stayed together for 14 years and have already 12 years old daughter. The problem is he is already divorced in Italy but he was married a filipina in Manila. Do we can marry here in Philippines, even he is not yet annulled from he’s x Filipina wife? Thank you

  3. Stephen

    Good day po!
    Nag file na po atty ko ng judicial recognition of foreign divorce…last 2014 pa po pero until now lagi po nag o-oppose ang solicitors sa Supreme Court…ilang beses na rin pong nag response atty ko kaso until now ala pa rin po ?

  4. babydoll

    Hi good day.. I was married to an Australian man in 2011 but I never lived in AUstralia with him because I didnt realize that he only married me but no intentions of taking me there to live with him. So many years we didt have any contacts and for sure has no hope for the relationship to get back,. Unfortunately we were married here in the Philippines but the marriage wasnt recognized in their country,, I have a new relationshhip and want to marry this man and also we have a baby,, I want to know how can I possibly remarry if there is no divorce here the Philippines, Is my child a legal child of that man although biologically is the son of my current boyfriend, ? Please tell me what to do, I need to process everything as soon as possible,

  5. jj

    Hi, I am an American Filipino ( dual citizen ). I was neutralized when I was 5yrs old. I went to Philippines when i was 25yrs old and got married after few months because i got my girlfriend pregnant, she is 19 yrs old. it was a mistake and both of us did not really thought it through. now im in Qatar and i have a Filipina girlfriend that i want to marry. what legal actions can i do?

  6. Jardy

    I know a filipina who married a foreigner in the Philippines then they moved to lived in the US. When they went on vacation in Philippines, her foreign husband cheated with another filipina. When they went back to US, the foreigner divorced her in US, petition the other filipina and they got married in the US. The filipina I know is now a US citizen. When her divorced foreign ex-husband and new filipina wife retires in the Philippines, she was informed she can still file a case of adultery and have rights to her divorced foreigner ex-husband assets (house & lot, business, money in the bank) even if the names is in her divorced foreigner ex-husband name and his new filipina wife because there is no Recognition of Divorce record in Philippines. Does the filipina I know still has rights to do such things?

  7. Lovely

    Hello Attorney,
    I would like to ask for my friend.. He is an American married to a Filipina.. But then the Filipina kicked him out of their house because she said she is not in love with him anymore. All the property is under the Filipina’s name. Then my friend filed for a divorce in the US. Then cut her off her allowance but still gives child support.. Now my friend has a new Woman(also a Filipina) and the ex wife also has a boyfriend which is a policeman.. Can my friend remarry here in the Philippines again?
    And the problem also is the ex wife is threatening my friend and his new girlfriend because she was cut off of her allowance.. does she still have the rights to demand for money for herself even after the divorce?
    I would appreciate your answer..

  8. Thomas

    Hello attorney,

    I have a question my current wife was a Filipino citizen at the time she married her now ex husband in the Philippines,,, she went with him to the United States and he filed for divorce,,, she is now a US citizen and not a Philippine citizen no longer, later I married her in the US,,, her divorce was never recognized by the Philippines government cause she is now a US citizen,, recently she filed for divorce from me,,, we have been living separate for almost five years now but we are still legally married,,, she now flew here to the Philippines where I live and filed a case of Concubinage against me,,, however how can the Philippines recognize her divorce from her ex when she never reported it to the courts,,, is our marriage valid here or what can I do.

  9. I'm a lover not a fighter

    Hi, Atty. Fred,

    I and my wife are both natives in the Philippines, but we are divorced in the UK.
    Can I file petition for recognition of foreign decree of divorce here in the Philippines?
    Becuase I wish to recognize our divorce in the UK here in the Philippines.
    If possible, How long will it take this process and cost?
    Because she had somebody new and I have somebody new as well.

    Thank you so much for your help.

  10. Jeff

    Hello Atty. Fred,
    I am a U.S. citizen who divorced my Filipino spouse in the U.S. I have my divorce decree authenticated by the Philippines Consulate in San Francisco. I also have an official publication of my state’s divorce law, published by my state’s legislature. Does my state’s divorce law also have to be authenticated by the Philippines Consulate? Thank you!

  11. Nida

    Good day PO, kasal anak ko ng Japanese dto sa Philippines, divorce na sa Japan plan na nya mgfile problem nya one of the required is the Family register?Hindi Po namin maintindihan saan PO kukuha nyan?

  12. Amelia

    Magandang po Atty. Fred. Ako po ay isang Pilipina na ikinasal sa isang Japanese noong 2006. Tumira po aq sa japan kasama siya noong 2009 at Dinivorce po nya ako noong 2010. Nagbakasakali po akong mag-apply bilang Housekeeper sa Japan, ngunit isa po sa requirements nila ay ang pagbabalik ng aking apelyido sa pagkadalaga sa aking passport. Kakailanganin ko pa po ba ng Regustered Court Decree at Certificate of Finality para sa pagpapalit ng aking apelyido o Maari nyo po ba akong tulungan at turuan kung papano po at anu po ang dapat kong gawin gayong wala din naman po akong sapat na pera panggastos. Napakalaking tulong po ng inyong magiging pagtugon. Maraming salamat po.

  13. Needyourlegaladvice

    We were both Filipino citizens and we were married abroad. We have reported our marriage to the Philippines after 5 years of marriage. We have even secured a copy of our marriage certificate from NSO. My husband left me two years ago. We had been having problems ever since then. I tried working things out with him only through chat communication but we still have issues getting along with each other. He didn’t give any child support and for two years of his absence, I was all by myself in this foreign land taking the responsibility for my child. I don’t love him anymore and I don’t wanna live with him anymore. He was also abusive and I don’t wanna stay with him anymore. I am considering of filing a divorce here in abroad. Considering it will be granted, will it be sufficient enough to have the possibility of having an annulment granted in the Philippines? How much will it cost to process such annulment?

  14. Lourdes

    Magandang araw po sa inyo Attorney.

    Hiwalay po ako 4 years na may dalawa kaming anak both minors pa. Bumibigay naman siya ng sustento kahit papaano. Ngayon may ka.chat akong foreigner na Irish, pwede ba niya kaming ma.petitionan to Ireland? Kung pwede halimbawa, pwede ba akong maka.secure ng divorce doon at magpakasal sa kanya kasi divorce naman po siya. At sa kabilang dako naman po kung mag.papa.annul ako sa kasal ko dito sa Pilipinas sapat na ba yong 4 years na hiwalay kami ? Ano ang maaring grounds ko, kinasal po kami noon 22 na ako. At mayroon na kasi silang anak sa kinakasama niya ngayon. Salamat po.

  15. Tarah

    Does this have any expiration?for example i did know that this foreign judicial decree existed. so in the records here in the Philippines is i have never been married since i was married in abroad. so after getting my divorce papers i thought i can re marry right away. does this mean my marriage here in the Philippines is voidable?


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