I am a Filipino citizen and currently staying in South Korea. I was married to my husband who is a Korean citizen in 1999 in South Korea. I just want to know if the divorce I filed in South Korea will be recognized in the Philippines. My husband already left me many years ago and I am planning to remarry. I have a pending application for naturalization as a Korean citizen. How would this affect the divorce I filed?
Dear Lady D,
Although there is no law yet that allows divorce in the Philippines, nevertheless, in instances of mixed marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner, divorce is recognized, provided that the latter was the one who obtained the divorce and he/she is allowed to remarry.
Most often, the marriage between a Filipino and an alien spouse may lead to divorce.
To level the playing field, if the alien spouse is allowed to remarry after the divorce he/she obtained, the law likewise allows the Filipino spouse to remarry. This is specifically provided by the Family Code of the Philippines as follows:
“Art. 26. xxx
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 Philippine law.”
Based on the above provision, divorce may be recognized in the Philippines if the parties to the marriage are a Filipino and an alien spouse and the latter was the one who obtained the divorce. In your case, since you were the one who filed the divorce case, even if the same is granted, it will not be recognized here in the Philippines.
On the other hand, to be eligible to remarry, you may file an appropriate action in court for the declaration of nullity or annulment of your marriage, if a ground thereto exists. Once your marriage is declared null and void or annulled, as the case may be, you are qualified to remarry.
However, if your application for naturalization is granted, you are no longer a Filipino citizen. Therefore Philippine laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of a person, shall not apply to you anymore. If the divorce case you filed is granted and the law in South Korea allows you to remarry, then you are qualified to do so.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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