Local courts can recognize divorce decree obtained in foreign country

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I am a Dane who got married to a Filipina in the Philippines. Our marriage did not work and I have already obtained a divorce decree here in Denmark. Will your country recognize the divorce decree that I got? I just want to help my ex-wife so she can move on with her life. Thank you very much.

Dear Saeed,
Under Philippine laws, divorce is not one of the means of terminating the validity of a marriage. Hence, a divorce decree, even if validly obtained by a Filipino abroad, will not operate to terminate his marriage. A different rule, however, shall be observed in case of marriages between a Filipino and a foreigner and the divorce decree was obtained by the foreigner spouse.

Paragraph 2, Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides:

“Article 26. xxx

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce decree is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have the capacity to remarry under Philippine law.”

Hence, by express provision of law, if the divorce decree that you obtained in Denmark allows you to contract another marriage, then it shall have the effect of terminating your marriage here in the Philippines since your ex-wife shall also be given the capacity to contract another marriage under our laws.

However, the divorce decree shall not be automatically recognized here as our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and judgment. It shall be necessary first to prove and allege both the divorce decree and your national law according to our law on evidence (Garcia vs. Recio, GR No. 138322, October 02, 2001).

To have the divorce recognized here in the Philippines, your ex-wife shall need to file a petition before our courts for the recognition of the divorce decree that you obtained in your country. She must be able to prove in the said petition the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to your law which issued it. It must also be shown in the petition that you were also given the capacity under your laws to remarry by virtue of the divorce decree that was issued to you (Republic vs. Orbecido, GR No. 154380, October 05, 2005).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.


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