I married a Canadian in November 2009. He filed a divorce in Canada in February 2010. I received the divorce certificate from Canada, then I went to the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines for authentication.
I went back home to the Philippines to remarry. When I got a copy of my Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) at the National Statistics Office (NSO) after my marriage to my Filipino spouse, it was indicated there that I am still married to my Canadian husband. Nobody informed me that I need to file a petition for recognition of my foreign divorce decree.
Please advise me what to do to fix all these issues. If I am able to file for recognition of my foreign divorce, can I just remarry the same Filipino whom I married after my ex-husband?
The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides that “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 the Philippine law.” As you have stated, a divorce decree was issued by the Canadian government thereby dissolving your marriage with your Canadian husband.
The starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce judgment is the acknowledgment that our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws. Justice Herrera explained that, as a rule “no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country.” This means that the foreign judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence, together with the alien’s applicable national law to show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself. The recognition may be made in an action instituted specifically for the purpose or in another action where a party invokes the foreign decree as an integral aspect of his claim or defense (Gerbert R. Corpuz v. Daisylyn Tirol Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010). Thus, the need for recognition of your divorce decree.
A petition for recognition of divorce decree is filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the place where you are residing (Section 2, Rule 4, Rules of Court). Once the divorce decree has been recognized, the court shall order the annotation of the judgment of recognition in the records of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), formerly known as the National Statistics Office (NSO). As to your marriage to your Filipino spouse, it is our opinion that there is no need to remarry him after the recognition of the divorce decree. Your marriage to your Canadian husband was already dissolved when the application/petition for divorce was granted by the Canadian government. The petition for recognition of your divorce decree in the Philippines is being filed not for the purpose of dissolving your marriage, which has already been done by the Canadian government, but merely recognizes the said decree in our country. Hence, when you married your Filipino spouse, there is no legal impediment to marry him under our laws.
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 firstname.lastname@example.org