Annulment in the Philippines (Questions and Answers Part 5): Overseas Filipinos Edition

We have four installments on this topic (refer to Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV), as well as related posts on annulment, legal separation, declaration of nullity and divorce. We’re trying to cope with the numerous questions raised, but with our schedules, it’s impractical to answer the questions one by one. This is the reason why we summarize the questions so that similar ones would be answered in one go. Again, browse through the existing related articles to see if your questions are covered by existing discussions.

In this series, we’ll centralize the questions relevant to Overseas Filipinos and OFWs. This will be a continuing discussion:

Divorce is allowed in the country where I’m located. Can I get a divorce here and would this be recognized in the Philippines?

Some countries allow the filing of divorce by Filipinos within their jurisdiction. The problem, however, is a divorce obtained by a Filipino abroad is not recognized in the Philippines (but the rule is different if the divorce is secured by the foreign spouse). It’s a useless exercise as far as Philippine law is concerned.

If a divorce secured by my foreign spouse is recognized in the Philippines, what should I do?

You need to file a petition for recognition of a foreign divorce decree with the appropriate court in the Philippines. Ask your lawyer to prepare the petition for you. See Judicial Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decree. Other related questions on foreign divorce decrees are discussed in that article.

Would it make any difference if I marry abroad (where divorce is allowed) so I could get a divorce later on in that place?

No. Filipinos are covered by the prohibition against divorce, regardless of wherever they get married (and regardless where they get a decree of divorce). This is based on the “nationality principle” which basically provides that Philippine laws affecting their status follow them wherever they may be.

Would it make any difference if I later become a citizen of the other country? For instance, I was married in the Philippines and secured a divorce in the United States. Both of us are Filipinos and my spouse voluntarily signed the divorce papers. After the divorce, I married another guy, a former Filipino who had acquired U.S. citizenship. I am still a Filipino citizen. Is my previous marriage still valid in the Phils.?

Yes, the first marriage is still considered valid in the Philippines because divorce between Filipinos, wherever secured and even if with the consent of both spouses, is not recognized under Philippine laws. In other words, as far as the Philippines is concerned, the second marriage is null and void.

What if I were naturalized in another country and I subsequently secure a divorce?

Naturalization in a foreign country is one of the ways to lose Filipino citizenship. A Filipino who loses his citizenship through naturalization  may secure a divorce decree abroad and have the valid divorce decree recognized in the Philippines through the proper process in court.

What if I secured a divorce decree abroad and subsequently lose my Philippine citizenship, will the divorce decree be recognized in the Philippines?

Spouses who are both Filipinos at the time of the celebration of the marriage may validly secure a divorce abroad if one (or both) of them is naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree AFTER losing Philippine citizenship. The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.

If divorce is not allowed in the Philippines, does this mean that spouses have no remedy in getting out of a problematic marriage?

While divorce is against public policy and is prohibited by law, the Family Code provides for certain grounds to annul a marriage or declare it as null and void.

Why not allow divorce in the Philippines?

Good question. But this is properly addressed to your representatives in the House and your Senators. As members of the legislative department, they have the power to make laws and change existing laws. See Allowing Divorce in the Philippines.

Can I file the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity even if I’m abroad?

Yes. You could prepare and file the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity even if you’re abroad. You could sign the document abroad and have it authenticated at the nearest Philippine embassy. You could then transmit the documents for filing here in the Philippines. Your lawyer should be able to guide you every step of the way, including the preparation and filing of the petition.


  1. Hi atty. I am married to canadian here in the philippines. Civil and church.He is alcoholic and manipulative. He goes back to canada to work 5 months in a year since 2012. But he stayed for a year straight this 2013 and left november to work. He came back to the phils april 2014 in which he did not tell me. I found out only thru his passport entry stamp. We live in the province. He showed up only june 28. We left for manila july 17 for me to open a business then he left us. We still communicate thru email he did not show up until my daughters bday on aug 15 to my parents house where we stays aug 17 i saw a text from a girl that said my husband addressed me already as ex wife. We had an argument. He left the next day and did not show up anymore. We were planning to go back home supposedly next month bfore my youngest daughters 1st bday. But he sent me an email saying he changes his mind and he will be ok to go home oct 16 bec im noy nice. My question is if i file an annulment, he will fight for thr kids custody. Will i lose my kids since i have no work? We got properties under my name. What will happen to this? Im at my parents placw now because i cant go back to the province where we resides bec its little remote and no help. Can i ask for support? Thank you very much.

    1. goodeve atty.
      kasal po ako sa japanese pero immitation lang po . at hindi ko na po alam kung nasan ung lalaki. nasa uae po ako. paano ko po maiaayos and divorse namin kung wala n po ako kahit anong imformation about sa kanya. thanks

  2. good day atty
    nagfile po ako ng annulment case january 2012…and now nkasked pa lang ako for pre-trial…as a single mom with three kids napakahirap ng walang work.ofw po ksi ako dati at ung napagipunan ko ay finile ko ng annulment against my ex husband.
    just want to know at this point of time good decision po ba na magpalit pa ng lawyer?and also if possible din po ba na malipat ng court?sa malolos po kasi ako ngfile dati and now ngrerent kmi d2 sa QC at napakalayo po ng biyahe…
    if manghingi po ako ng assistance sa PAO do you think aasikasuhin nila ako?hindi ko na po kayang bayaran ung lawyer ko at lagi nya ako minimessage about sa fees..
    please attorney i really need help..thank you and more power.

  3. Hello Attorney!
    Ano pong ground ang puede kong gamitin to file for annulment with my husband since ako po yung at fault at nawalan na ng love sa kanya? how to file an annulment hence andito ako sa abroad nagtatrabaho? is converting to Islam will allow me to marry again to a Muslim man? please enlighten me…thank you very much!

  4. Good evening Atty, 12 years na po ako kasal, at 9 years na po ako ang solo nagtatrabaho, at bumubuhay sa aking mister at 2 anak, 8 years na po ako dito sa Cyprus, at wala na pagpupursige ang mister ko na makatulong sa akin, at ang masaklap pa patuloy sya sa pagsusugal at natatalo ng malaking halaga, wala pa po kmi sarili bahay at nakatira sila sa bahay ng parents-in-law at kasama pa ang 2 nya nakatatandang kapatid me asawa at un 1 ay wala, ayaw ng biyenan ko babae sa akin dahil sa pagbubunganga ko sa mister ko dhil sa pagsusugal nya, ayaw ko po umuwi jan sa Pilipinas hanngat wala pa po ako sarili bahay na matitirahan, gusto ko po mag-file ng annulment, pra makapag-pakasal ako sa Cypriot upang manatili ako dto, at kumita ng pera at matustusan ko ang financial needs ng 2 ko anak, at nang tuloy-tuloy ko mabayaran ang house and lot ko dyan sa Pilipinas. Me chance po ba ang annulment file ko? Please help me… Thank you!

  5. Hello..Atty hihingi po ako ng payo matagal napo kami hiwalay ng Mr.ko since 1yr old ung anak namin na ngaun at 19yo napo sya. Hiniwalayan kopo sya dahil napaka irresponsible nyang asawa at anak sa kabila ng ako ang bumubuhay sa pamilya eh nagawa pa nya pong mambabae at sa hirap ng dinanas ko kung time na yun sumuko na rin Ko dahil kahit ano pakiusap ko ayaw nyang bumalik sa amin nun ng anak namin Mas pinili nya ibahay ang babae nya na hanggang ngaun eh magkasama sila sa iisang bubong.So Hindi namin po tama na gawin nya yun samantalang ako Hindi pa makalaya sa ganitong sitwasyon. Baka po matulungan nyo po ako kung Pano koba ipapa annul ang kasal nmn sa simbahan kasi gusto ko a po maging malaya. Salamat po

  6. My boyfriend is separated from his wife 17 years ago and they have an 18-year old child. His wife already has 2 other children from another men. Their daughter is a There are no conjugal properties involved. How is it possible that we can marry now? Can you give an estimate of the cost of annulment? thank you.

  7. hi gud eve attorney hingi pa ako ng advice tungkol sa husband ko i abandon nya kami for 15 years may isa kami anak wala cya suporta somula ng iniwan nya kami at matagal na kaming cumunication.. .. ano po ang pwede e file ko sa kanya na kung sakaling akoy mag asawa.. at di ako makaaford sa annulment pls im waiting for your responce

  8. Hi Atty,

    I have a question, kapag po ba umabot na trial ang annulment case gaano po katagal
    assumption or based sa experienced nyo bago mag desisyon ang korte?

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