Acknowledgment of Divorce in the Philippines
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Unlike many western cultures, Philippines courts forbid divorce according to their Family Code of laws. Annulment is the only recourse a Filipino citizen has under normal circumstances. This is different than a Decree of Nullity of Marriage. This states that the marriage was invalid at its inception. It was not legal due to incorrect agreement or performance by the clergy.
Prohibition on Divorce
In the Philippines, a married couple cannot divorce by law. Regardless of where they live, this law follows them throughout the entire world. Article 15 of the New Civil Code states that laws pertaining to familial rights and responsibilities, or to the standing, form and legal capability of persons, are compulsory upon inhabitants of the Philippines even though residing overseas. Therefore, Filipinos are still under the rule of their land even if they are in another location.
Exceptions Regarding Divorce
There are exceptions to every rule. In the Philippines, marrying someone of another race or country may allow a divorce. Divorce can take place if the spouse from another country seeks it in their own home country. The foreignerís country must accept the divorce for it to be valid. In the Family Code of the Philippines, paragraph 2 of Article 26 explains that legal marriages between a Filipino national and a non-native are genuinely recognized. A divorce must be accurately attained overseas by the non-native spouse which is the only way to allow remarriage.
In order for a Filipino to remarry, he or she must have been in a marriage that is recognized by Filipino law, involve a marriage between a Filipino and a non-native, and the non-native must have obtained a legally binding divorce while overseas. In order for the divorce to be legally binding, it must be filed in court and accepted there. If this process is followed, both parties are free to remarry.
Until recently, this applied only to mixed couples of Filipino marriages. The rule has broadened and now includes Filipinos who have become naturalized in another country and seek a legally binding divorce.
If the non-native has been approved a divorce, this does not mean that the Filipino has the right to enter into another marriage. There must be an acknowledgment of the divorce of a non-native from the Filipino courts for remarriage to be possible. After the Filipino courts have acknowledged the dissolution of marriage, only then can a Filipino citizen remarry.
Annulment is the only solution to divorce in the Philippines. An annulment acts as if a marriage has never taken place. A marriage may be terminated in this fashion if the marriage does not meet all of the legal requirements. There are only a few options that are available to Filipinos when seeking an annulment.
When looking for an attorney regarding the possibility of divorce or annulment, Filipino natives often have many questions. The case may be more complex if they have married a person who is a citizen from another country, moved to another country or had a marriage that took place overseas. In order to determine the individualís rights, an attorney familiar with international law and Filipino law in particular may be retained. He or she may answer questions or provide advice for Filipino citizens who are interested in severing their marriage or remarrying.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.