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Divorce does not automatically apply on Filipinos

Divorce does not automatically apply on Filipinos
"My brother and his longtime girlfriend married in 2005. They are both registered nurses but my sister-in-law decided to migrate abroad, leaving my brother here in the Philippines. Eventually, their relationship weakened and they mutually agreed on separating. A few years after their separation, my sister-in-law got a divorce abroad to which my brother simply acceded since he knows that there is no possibility of reconciliation. Aside from the fact that my sister-in-law already became a naturalized foreigner, she was in a new relationship. Now, my brother is also thinking of working abroad and getting married again. He wants to be declared as “single” again but he was told that he needs to file a petition in court first before this can be possible otherwise, he is still considered “married” despite the divorce that his ex-wife obtained abroad. Is this true? Please advise me on this matter. MikaelaDear Mikaela, At present, we do not have a law granting divorce in our country. Our civil laws, particularly the Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order 209), only provides two ways to sever the marital vinculum, that is, by means of declaration of absolute nullity of marriage and annulment of marriage. The bases for these remedies are specifically enumerated under Articles 35, 36, 37, 38 and 45 of the Family Code.Be that as it may, a divorce validly obtained abroad by a foreign citizen may be given a binding effect in our jurisdiction, and thus, it will benefit the Filipino spouse. As stated under Article 26 (2) of the said law: “x x x Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.”However, it bears stressing that the decree of divorce by itself does not sever the marital vinculum insofar as the Filipino spouse is concerned and that it is still necessary for the Filipino spouse to file before the court a petition for the recognition of the foreign decree of divorce for it to have a binding effect on said spouse. Applying the foregoing to the situation of your brother, we submit that it is necessary for him to file a petition for recognition of the decree of divorce which was obtained by your sister-in-law abroad in order for our courts to determine if there was indeed a divorce decree secured abroad and if such a decree was obtained in consonance with the applicable foreign law. This is in line with the ruling of our Supreme Court in the case of Garcia vs. Recio (G.R. No. 138322, October 2, 2001, Ponente: Honorable former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban):“A comparison between marriage and divorce, as far as pleading and proof are concerned, can be made. Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr. decrees that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. Therefore, before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. Presentation solely of the divorce decree is insufficient.”Ultimately, the said remedy will confer upon your brother not only the right to revert to his status as “single” but also such other pertinent civil rights.We hope that we were able to answer your query. Please be reminded that this advice was based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated. Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to ."

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"Divorce does not automatically apply on Filipinos" was written by Mary under the Legal Advice category. It has been read 313 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 15 September 2021.
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