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.

143 thoughts on “Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Decree

  1. Ofe;ia Fera

    i was divorced from my ex-husband, he filed the divorced in Australia 2004 and i already have my divorce certificate now i would like to indicate in our marriage certificate that i am already divorce …how would it c be done.?? or how can this be processed? How much would be the cost? Thanks and hoping to receive positive reply from you.

  2. Lily

    I am married to a foreigner year 2006 and a year after our marriage did not work out. My x-husband filed a dissolution of marriage to his country and I guess he remarry their. We don’t communication for decade. And he gave me a scanned copy of that marriage dissolution he filed, would that be acknowledge here in the Philippines? Can I remarry in the future? What would be the process for me to nullify my marriage in Philippine Law?

  3. William

    I read somewhere that the Ph. is the only country in the world that refuses to recognize divorce. Setting aside whether this is an exaggeration, what policies drive that choice?

    From what I have observed, dissatisfied married couples in the Ph. — including my wife’s parents, two her sisters, and one of her brothers — simply part ways with their spouse, and take up with other individuals who are more to their liking.

    How is that “better”? Does it really promote the values or beliefs facially intended by the above prohibition?

    Have there been any legislative or other efforts to change the law in this area? It seems outrageously harsh.

    Last question: Why is it so costly in Ph. to conduct any business relating to government or the judicial system? I would hazard to guess that a vast majority of Filipinos cannot afford to take advantage of those services.

    Thanks and regards,


  4. Donald

    A foreigner marries a Filipina in the Philippines. He subsequently divorces her in his home country. He now wishes to marry another Filioina in the Philippines. Besides:
    1. Copy of DIVORCE decree.
    2. Copy of “Legal Capacity to Marry” from his Embassy.
    3. Copy of passport.

    What other documents does he need and/or processes does he have to follow? For example, since his first marriage in the Philippines is registered with the NSO, does he need a CENOMAR, and if so, what is the process? Does he need to get judicial approval/confirmation HERE of his his foreign divorce? If so what is the process and documentary requirements?

  5. dollie

    i am married to a canadian for 7 years without any children, i live in the philippines an i am not contesting the divorce. i was served a divorce document but was asked to pay a certain amount for me to secure the document. is this legal? it is not me who wanted the divorce, why should i spend for it when he stopped sending me allowamces a few months back statting that he needs money to pay for his lawyer.

  6. Jam

    Good day. Gusto ko po humingi ng legal advice from you, wayback 2008 ako po ay ikinasal sa isang korean national dhil po sa kagustuhan ko makpag trabho sa korea. Ang usapan po namin ng kaibgan ko na nagreto sa akin sa korean guy na iyon ay kailangan daw po namin magpakasal muna dito sa pinas para mas mapadali daw ang paglakad ng papers ko papuntang korea. Pero ndi daw po nila yuon isusubmit sa NSO. Gagamtin lamang daw po nila un marriage contract namin as supporting documets daw po na ako ay may fiance na korean national. Ikinasal po kami sa manila. After few months po nag back out po ako sa plano ng pagpunta. Hanggang lumipas po ilang taon. Nagkaroon na po ako ng boyfriend at nagsama na kmi may 2 na po kaming anak. At gusto na po nmin magpakasal. Sinubukan ko po kumuha ng cenomar at duon ko po nalaman na nairehistro yun inakala kong pekeng kasal ko nuon. Anu po ang dapat kong gawin kng mag file po ako ng annulment. Thank you. Ms. Jam


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