Dear Atty. Duran-Schulze,
I’m a Filipino and based in the Philippines, may I file a divorce in the US?
Not necessarily. If you have a foreign spouse, then under par. 2 of Art. 26 of the Family Code, you may validly file a divorce in the country of your foreign spouse to read:
ARTICLE 16. 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.
(As amended by Executive Order 227)
If your foreign spouse has the nationality of a US citizen, then by all means you can file a divorce in the US. However, if your spouse is not from the US, then no, you have to file it in the country of his nationality. In this case, after the divorce, has separate petition needs to be filed before the Philippine courts – this is called recognition of foreign judgement.
Further, if both of you are Filipinos, you cannot file a divorce at all. Philippine laws do not recognize divorce and acquiring the same in another country will not effectuate the divorce. To further explain, Article 15 of the New Civil Code provides that Philippine laws on family rights, duties, status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding to all Filipino citizens even though living abroad to read:
Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
Therefore, if you married in the Philippines, and both of you are Filipinos, you are bound by Philippine Laws on marriage and may only dissolve the same or legally separate from your spouse based on our laws. In this case, the appropriate legal remedy is to file a petition for annulment.
Need further information and assistance? Talk to our Legal team at Duran & Duran-Schulze Law. Call us today at (+632) 8478 5826 or send an email to [email protected] for more information.
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