Options of Filipino Spouse in Mixed-Nationality Marriages

We received a query on the options of a Filipina who was separated from her husband who is a foreign national. The question goes something like this: “I am married to a Canadian man who is living in the United States with a permanent residency. We were married in 2010 and after the marriage he went back to US. We communicated for a couple of months until such time that he stopped communicating and ignored my mails and calls. My question is how can I get out of this bondage?? Can I file a divorce but i am thinking he might not file in the States that he is married. Look Atty, this is unfair. I am stuck up on this bondage while my foreign husband I know is wandering.” Let’s have a general answer so others similarly situated don’t have to repeat the query.

In general, there are two legal options available to a Filipino who married a foreign  national and who wants out:

1. If the foreign spouse validly secured a divorce decree abroad, the Filipino spouse can seek a judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree under Article 26 of the Family Code. For the discussion on this matter, see Divorce in the Philippines and Judicial Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decree.

2. If the foreign spouse did not secure a divorce decree abroad (or if there is a divorce decree, the Filipino spouse cannot get it for one reason or another), the Filipino spouse could file a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity, as the case may be, in the Philippines. For the discussion on this subject, see the related discussions, starting with Annulment, Divorce and Legal Separation in the Philippines: Questions and Answers.


  1. SUPER question?
    what happens if a filipina national married a foreigner in Hongkong magsitrate then after 17yrs of marriage both agreed and consented for a divorce-which later filed by foreign husband in Cook County, Illinois, USA . Divorce finality had been received and accepted and signed by the filipina wife-dated July 17 ,1995 with a witness stamp documented and notarized in makati city by the filipina too. and also Dissolution of conjugal properties been consented amicably by both parties ..decision with finality by Judge Salonga at Makati City Trial court in May 23,1995.

    In Year 1997/May5- a marriage license was applied at the Makati city Hall Marriage registrar’s office by same Filipina to marry an American citizen.
    A List of requirements were submitted and followed..

    A license therefore was issued with Marriage License no 1928129- issued on may 5,1997, Makati city…And so marriage took place at our House Roof Garden in May 30, 1997- Solemnized by a Licensed Priest from a known Church in Makati..
    And Marriage was also registered at the NSO and was consented by the American Embassy, Manila…

    Year 2007- Filipina Wife caught the American husband having an illicit affair with a young filipina about 22yrs old that time (american husband was 42 yrs old also at that time )…Husband chose to leave the wife and their legitimate daughter of 9yrs old in april 2008 and lived with the girl and her immediate family in Las Pinas. Husband took their company bank accounts and hired employees for their company all relatives of the other woman…and take note the other woman even opened a new company with similar name except for the PH at the end…But SEC already sent them a letter!
    Husband stopped giving enough support for child and wife with a mere Php5,000/month, and prohibited wife from working in their conjugal company-also moved company office somewhere wife wouldn’t know about and same time slowly destroyed wife’s personal company websites- for her only possible earnings on line ..and many more demeaning acts and verbal abuse done to wife.

    Wife then sued husband for RA9262 since Sept-2009- (with the help Makati DSWD -Police/Women’s desk) for financial support and emotional/psychological abuses to both wife and child. And Wife up ’til NOW represented PROBONO by The Makati City Trial Court Fiscal at the Family Court.

    Last Hearing was held October 2012- whereby wife was at teh witnesed stand asked by the accused’lawyer- whether the first divorce decree of teh wife from the first foreign husband was submitted and was judicially recognized by the Phil Government? (NOTE: filipina first marraige was solemnized in HKG) Wife thought the dissolution of marriage in ILLINOIS ,USA and the decision of dissolution few conjugal properties were what the Lawyer meant…? so wife apparently was ignorant into that matter of having to submit her divorce decree to the PHIL government incharge…

    Question is???…..is the filipina’s second marriage in the Philippines to the american husband NOT VALID?
    Makati City Marriage Registrars didn’t include that in the list, other wise they should have pointed that to me upon submission of my required documents? Who is to be blamed?
    And what to tell this Lawyer -who wants the Filipino wife to present a document of a Judicial Recognition of her Foreign Divorce ????which ignorantly she didn’t know of such nor does have…

    hope you can enlighten us and perhaps include this in your case studies!
    thank you,


    1. Hi MK, super question indeed. No need for a case study because this was previously addressed in a previous post, the one cited/referenced in item no. 1 above. Good luck.

  2. Hi Atty. Fred
    I need a lawyer to process my papers in Philippines, would you mind if I ask your personal email add please? Looking forward fornyour urgent response.

    Thank you,

  3. Good Day. I am pilipina who merried a African national for 4 years and we separated for tree year’s now.I just found that he just using mi to get a permanent residency in Philippines but we found that he can’t have it only temporary resident so apter 4 years they not giving him again a trv.so he leave Philippines and until now we did not communicate.I just want to nkow if I can file an annulment even he is not around.or is this valid reason to file an annulment.thank you hopefully you reply for my question.

  4. I want to ask what is my action..because my korean national husband I didn’t know where he is we have no communication since he leaved here in Philippines last 2005 after our wedding…
    thanks and more power

  5. Since he left 2005 after our marriage we dont have communication until now..i dont know where he is…I want to annulled our marriage what is my action?

  6. Hi ..I was married before German we got married in Philippines, after 20 years got divorce here. I’m married again and i’m now German citizen i give up my Philippines passport.if i apply to get dual citizen Philippines passport. do i need to apply first my divorce in phil?

  7. Hi…im mary ann…im married to.canadian guy…resently he retired and come in philippines,and apply a provisionary status.b ut lately our marriage is getting sour and the troubled strart. 10 months a go
    When i sell the property…and i don’t give him a half of the amount.but he let me pay all my personal needs and for the kids also like school fees,uniform,books and allowanced for our two kids.also taxes of the house.licinsed and insuranced for the car. he.let me pay because he said the money is for that…
    BUT sadenly now he want his half of the total amount….that i dont have any more…and her forcesing me….i told him i will.give the before he can kept the half but he will pay the school expenses and he refused…my question is he can bring me in court to pay him back the full half amount?
    I will very greatful for some adviced.

  8. hi goodevening im a filipina whos married to a russian.. and he beat me once but hard i broke my leg.and after he beats me and he left and i dont know where he is it happen 3days ago.i just want to ask if it possible to deport him?

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