RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN DIVORCE IN THE PHILIPPINES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

This article is written by PracticeForte foreign affiliate member Apolinario L. Caymo II

Many Filipinos divorced abroad make the mistake of remarrying without first going through the formalities required by Philippine law. While a divorce abroad dissolves that marriage in that country, this does not mean that the Filipino/Filipina divorcee automatically has the right to marry again under Philippine law. To avoid future inconveniences for divorced Philippine citizens, LEGAL One tackles the most common questions about judicial recognition of foreign divorce decrees.

1. Q: I am a Philippine citizen who obtained a divorce decree in a foreign country. Can I now legally marry under Philippine law?

    A: No. Before you can legally marry again, you must have that divorce decree judicially recognized in the Philippines.

2. Q: What is the action required to have the divorce decree judicially recognized or enforced in the Philippines?

    A: This can be done by filing a petition for the recognition of the foreign divorce decree before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in the         Philippines.

3. Q: Is judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree in effect a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity of the foreign marriage in the Philippines?

    A: No. The petition for the recognition of the foreign divorce decree is not the same as annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage under the Family Code.

4. Q: What, then, is the purpose of the filing of a petition for the recognition of the foreign divorce decree in the Philippines?

    A: It is merely to prove the foreign divorce as a fact and that it was made in accordance with the laws of the country where it was obtained.

5. Q: What documents or evidences do I need to present in the RTC for the recognition of the foreign divorce decree?

    A: To prove that the foreign divorce decree was validly obtained and issued in accordance with the law of that country, you must present the Original or Certified True Copy of the foreign judgment or order.

6. Q: After the divorce decree is recognized by the RTC, are there other steps to comply with to capacitate me to remarry?

    A: Yes. The decision granting the petition recognizing the foreign divorce decree and the Original or Certified True Copy of the foreign divorce decree or order  must be annotated/registered with the Office of Local Civil Registrar  (LCR) of the place of the RTC which granted the petition. After having it registered/annotated with the proper LCR, the registered documents along with the Original or Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Finality of the decision of the RTC, shall be submitted to the LCR where the marriage is registered.

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