Marriages solemnized abroad valid in PH

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
If a marriage between two Filipinos was validly celebrated abroad and later on one of them divorced the other, is this divorce valid in the Philippines?

Dear Philip,
According to the Family Code of the Philippines, a marriage celebrated abroad is valid in the Philippines provided that the same is also valid in the place where it was celebrated. This is in accordance with Article 26 of the law, which states:

“Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35 (1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.


Assuming that the marriage, which was validly solemnized abroad does not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the above-quoted law, the same is also valid in the Philippines. As such, considering that the parties to the marriage are both Filipinos, a divorce decree obtained abroad by any of them will not make them eligible to remarry. According to the Family Code of the Philippines, a divorce may be recognized in the Philippines, only if the marriage is between a Filipino and foreigner and the latter was the one who obtained the divorce. This is specifically provided in the second paragraph of Article 26 thereof, which provides:

“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.”

On the other hand, the same is still applicable to the marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one of them becomes a citizen of another country and obtained a divorce decree thereafter. This was elucidated by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in the case of Republic of the Philippines versus Cipriano Orbecido III (G.R. No. 154380, October 5, 2005, 472 SCRA 114), as follows:

“Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of reason, we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. xxx”

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 guide you with our opinion 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


Please follow our commenting guidelines.

1 Comment

  1. It seems to me this law is very poorly thought out. Its like a criminal charge that has no bail yet sometimes gives bail for the said charge. If one filipino is married but can then also get a divorce then why cant every filipino be given the same right. Well i know the answer to that its because of your very close ties with religion. Other than suppressive muslim countries who dote on almost every word of religion there isnt a country whose citizens cant get divorced. The Philippines needs to move to the 21st century & not stay in the 15th century. When i hear any of your religious people talk about reasons for religious laws i think of a particular person, Richard Dawkins, & his words. I know which one i listen to & why i listen to him. Now in case you couldnt work it out i listen to Richard Dawkins. I suggest some of you also lend him your ears for a while, it may help you.