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.

109 comments

  1. Good day po Atty!
    Im a Filipina po dito sa Austria, married sa Austrian Citizen. Few years from now po, pag Austrian Citizen npo ako plano ko po kumuha ng divorce dito. My boyfriend (a Filipino, married with a Filipina) has a failed marriage too (because the wife had affairs with other “men”) But he and his wife (who both agrees for annulment of their marriage cannot afford the expenses for annulment procedures) what are the chances of me and my boyfriend to be legally married either here in Austria or in Philipines in the near future?
    Thank You.
    Best Regards.

  2. good day attorney,
    gusto ko lang po itanong kung nakadepende po ba sa judge ang ikatatagal at ikabibilis ng kaso gaya ng annulment??
    Sa kaso ko po mag 2 years na po next year.at hindi pa kami nakakapagpre-trial man lang.!anu po ba ang mas mabuting gawin?praktikal po ba na magpalit ng abogado sa ganitong pagkakataon?hindi na po kasi ako nakabalik sa trabaho ko sa dubai mula ng mgfile ako ng annulment dahil kailangan ko daw ng personal appearance sa korte at nakahirap po para sa akin dahil ako lang po ang nagtataguyod sa tatlo kong anak.
    sana po matulungan nyo ako…salamat po

    1. MJ, there are many factors that affect the speed of annulment cases. Load of the court, availability of the judge/public prosecutor, emergencies, availability of witnesses, among the reasons. Good luck.

  3. Good evg po atty Fred,

    Nahihirapan na po ako ngayon dahil sa annulment ko gusto ko po sanang magtanong sa yo pero baka mabasa po ito ng abogado ko. Kung okey lang po sa inyo pdi makahingi ng number nyo or email direct at doon ko sasabihin ang pangyayari.

    Thanks and more power po!

    1. Hi Pamela, I’m terribly sorry but it is not our policy to second-guess your existing lawyer. We do appear as collaborating or substitute lawyers but we have to go through the proper channels and the proper procedure.

  4. I just want to seek advise from you. I’m a Filipina and currently living in Qatar. I got separated with my husband for almost 2 years, but we were not legally separated nor annulled. I had a boyfriend at present and we want to get married here. How can we can do that and what could be the easiest way?

  5. Hi Atty,

    How much is an annulment cost and how long to process… I would like to use abandonment as a grounds for annulment is that possible? Can I just apply divorce abroad and remarry abroad?

    Regards,
    Lara

  6. Ganito nman po sa case ko. Ngpakasal po kmi ng gf ko last feb 2014. Pero up to now eh di pa nssubmit sa nso. Issubmit dw ng LCR before mgexpire ung marriage license. Eh ngdecide na kmi ng gf ko na ayaw na nmin mgsama. Ang question ko po eh need pa ba mg file ng annulment or pde na nmin kausapin ang LCR na wg na ipasa. Panu po ba? Salamat.

  7. Dear Atty,
    I and my 3 children was never support of my husband since we are together.
    He always beaten me when he is drunk.
    So I decided to seperated from him.
    He took other woman .
    So that time I ask my children to ask their father to signed the agreement that we are not longer husband and wife .my children signed also as a witness. Is it that valid Atty? I cannot afford the cost for annulment.
    Thank you!

  8. Ask ko lang Po kung totoo po ba Yong ibinalita Ni miss Loren n pwede n mag file ng annulment pag 5 yrs n kayo hiwalay, kasi more than 10 yrs n Po kmi hiwalay at may bago n Po pamilya dati ko asawa ano po ba ang pwede ko gawin kasi napakamahal nman ng annulment

  9. Sabi po niya menus gastos at 3 months lang ok na sana po totoo at kung sakali man saan po ba ako pwede mag file at ano po mga kailangan

  10. I am a Filipino but a resident in US i was married to an american citizen when i bought a condominium in the Philippines under my name and my ex husbands . We are now divorced and I am now a US citizen. I am wondering how can i change the ownership of the property and make it under my name only?

  11. Hi! I am now US citizen, I didn’t know the time I left Philippines that the father of my children who asked me to sign a blank paper will use my signature to make a marriage certificate. He asked me to sign a blank paper saying that he will consult his lawyer to make a letter that I cannot oblique him for our children’s maintenance. I never love him and he just rape me when I got pregnant I always wanted to escape from him but unfortunately my parents insist to send me back to him because they will not allow me to live with them as an additional expenses to them that I since I bore a child with him, I should make him take care of me and my children. I manage to go and work abroad without realising he had produced a fake marriage certificate and I don’t know how did he manage to forward it to NSO declaring I am married to him. I just found out recently with NSO that this marriage certificate exist after applying for a CENOMAR. The time I went abroad 20 years back then I met a US citizen and we got married, assuming I am still single in my country records they never required anything from me in order to marry my US husband. After 20 years I went home using my US passport. I was told by my own mother that I have a marriage certificate with this Filipino and due to curiosity I applied for a CENOMAR and it did say that I am married to this Filipino and also married to my US husband. What do I need to do? I am now just US passport holder and US citizen alone, I am no longer Filipino citizen or dual passport holder. What is my status? If I decided to get a dual citizenship will this risk me for a bigamy? Do I need to file for an annulment even though I am not aware of this marriage existence? Thanks in advanced.

      1. atty regarding po s petition for recognition of divorce., ask q lng, pde po ba na no appearance dun? like s hearing po?

  12. Hello Atty.andito ako sa Japan kasal po ako sa Japanese but unfortunately hindi po nagwork out yung kasal namin so nag decide po kami na mag divorced 2 years ago.Ang problema ko po ay kung pwede po ba akong magpakasal ulit dito sa Japan? Ano po bang procedures ang kailangan?Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang una kong gagawin kasi bago ka makasal ulit dito sa city hall sa Japan syempre kailangan mo kumuha ng papers sa Phil.Embassy.Hindi pa po ako nakapagsubmit ng divorced paper namin mula sa City Hall dito sa Japan sa Phil.Embassy.Di po ba kailangan mo ulit ma clear yung apelyido mo sa japanese?panu po ba makakuha ng singleness ulit para makasal ulit?need po your advice for my visa matters.Thank you!

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