Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgement of Divorce

Recognition of Divorce
You had a falling out with your spouse who is a foreigner and next time you know,  he divorced you and a Decree of Divorce was issued, subsequently. You wanted to remarry after the Divorce but you cannot obtain a Certificate of No Marital Record (CENOMAR) because your ex marriage is still recorded in the NSO. What should you do? Same case, you are a former Filipino citizen and now living in the United States. Many years back, you migrated to the United States to escape your battered life and troubled relationship with your Filipino spouse . You wasted no time divorcing your spouse right after you became naturalized american. Now that your love life gets exciting, you wanted to take it to the next level by marrying your Filipino soulmate. But just the same, you cannot marry him because your ex marriage is still recorded in the NSO. What should you do?

You may have been advised that the legal remedy is to file a Nullity of Marriage Petition or in laymen’s commonly abused terms -Annulment. Though Annulment is not completely an improbable legal remedy here, the process can be tedious or cumbersome and the results are not always certain that the Court will grant your Petition. My good friend Atty. Godwin Manginsay may declare me persona non grata in Cebu if I were to approve the legal remedy of Annulment.

Well, the easiest way out is to file a Petition for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgment of Divorce. In the first case, the Filipino spouse who has been divorced by the foreign husband may file a Petition on basis of the Divorce which was initiated by the foreign spouse. This will entitle her to remarry pursuant to Article 26 of the Family Code. The foreign husband, if he wishes to do so, may also file a Petition for Recognition of Divorce on the basis of the Rules of Court on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Cancellation of Record in the Local Civil Registrar. In the second case, the former Filipino spouse may only file a Petition for Recognition of Foreign Judgment of Divorce based on the provisions of the Rules of Court allowing recognition of foreign judgments and cancellation of record in the Local Civil Registrar.

As you may have observed, the grounds for Recognition of Divorce by the foreign husband and former filipino spouse are the same. Whereas, the ground in the Petition by the divorced Filipino spouse is Article 26 of the Family Code allowing her to remarry only when the Divorced was initiated by the foreign spouse.

In Japan, the most common Divorced entered into by a Japanese national and a Filipino spouse is Divorced by mutual consent.  If we strictly follow Article 26 of the Family Code, the Filipino spouse cannot remarry because the Japanese national did not initiate the Divorce. The Divorce was not initiated by anyone but by both parties. My two cents is that this type of Japanese Divorce could not be recognised in the Philippines if the basis for its Recognition is Article 26 of the Family Code. All hopes not lost because this Japanese Divorce could still be recognised in our jurisdiction if the ground would be the Rules of Court allowing Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgements (Section 48 Rule 49)  and Cancellation of Record in the Local Civil Registrar (Rule 108) – so long as the Divorce absolutely allows the parties to remarry – the Divorce can be recognised in the Philippines.

If you have some questions about filing a Petition for Recognition of Divorce in Philippines, please contact us.

Alex Acain, Esquire (+63 9175002878)

Viber (+63 9175002878)

Immigration Blacklist: Interpol Green Notice

Many foreigners, mostly americans, are wondering why they were sent back to their country of origin upon their arrival in the Philippines, when they have been travelling in and out of the country for so many years prior without any problems. In immigration parlance, we call this scenario A to A (airport to airport). They were complaining of not able to pass through immigration and immediately put on the next flight back home due to a “Green Notice” in their names that shows up in the immigration database, to the “shock and awe” of their Filipino love ones who are eagerly waiting for their return. Your name in the immigration blacklist is the natural consequence if you are tagging a green notice in your name.

But what is this Green Notice? A Green Notice is issued by the International Police Organisation (Interpol) to provide warnings and criminal intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries. According to the Interpol, it is an effective way to share key police intelligence on a global scale and to prevent offenders from crossing borders. The target of this Green Notice are known sex offenders who have a criminal record of conviction abroad. The Interpol has seen in recent years of an increase in the numbers of travelling sex offenders, that is, individuals who travel to foreign countries in order to abuse children. The Green Notice is the main tool of the Interpol in dealing with travelling sex offenders so that the perpetuation of crime and abuse of children in other countries will be prevented. It was only in the later part of 2013 when the Green Notice database was shared to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. This explains why foreigners who are known to be sex offenders were able to travel in out of the Philippines in the past, unhampered.

But as I have seen, not all foreigners who are included in the green notice have serious case of pedophilia. Some have been labelled as sex offenders for having engaged in a consensual sex with a fellow minor, a sixteen year old girl, at that time he was 17. Both parties were adolescents during that time and the incident happened 30 or 40 years ago.   

If you want to seek legal advice on how to remove your name in the immigration blacklist, please contact us.

Alex Acain, Esquire (Mobile: +63 9175002878)

Viber: +63 9175002878


Can I be held liable for Bigamy?

wooden gavel and books on wooden table,on brown background
Can I be held liable for Bigamy? This is one of the most common questions that has been filling up our inbox for quite sometime now. One of the emails that we received partly reads:

I got married twice in the Philippines in 1990 and second in 1996, only that the second marriage was not registered intentionally. I took all the records of our marriage including the marriage contract from our minister but did not report it to the local civil registrars office. Me and my second wife went abroad and married here again in the U.S. There is no record of my second marriage in the local civil registrar or in the NSO. We are living in the United States until now.I am planning to take a vacation in the Philippines but worried that my first wife will file a bigamy case against me? Can I be held liable for bigamy? Please help.”

Bigamy is an illegal marriage committed by contracting a second or subsequent marriage before the first marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. Simply saying, you cannot get married to another for the second time without legally terminating your first marriage. Of course, you can be held criminally liable for bigamy for having contracted a second marriage while your first marriage is still existing. The failure to record the second marriage in the local civil registrar is of no moment here because the second marriage can also be proven by the testimonies of persons who have personal knowledge of your second marriage. It can also be proven by the introduction of other evidence like photographs or videos other than the records in the local civil registrar or the National Statistics Office.

I remember we had a client who was accused for the crime of bigamy at the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City. His first marriage was celebrated in Muntinlupa City and the second marriage was celebrated in Australia . The second marriage was also reported in the Philippine Embassy in Australia and subsequnetly, it was recorded in the NSO. The first wife filed a bigamy case upon knowledge of the second marriage and my client was immediately arrested at the NAIA upon his arrival. Right before arraignment, we filed a Motion to Quash the Information for Bigamy on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the offense. The second marriage was contracted outside the Philippine territory and the case does not fall under any of the exceptions enumerated in Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code. The RTC in Muntinlupa sustained our Motion and dismissed the case.

95% of the email inquiries that we received of this nature are coming from Overseas Filipino Workers. In my travels abroad, I have also observed that many OFWs are staying as live-in partners. Some of those who are cohabiting as OFWs are married and have families in the Philippines. Being away from their families and loved ones, and pressure of work in a foreign land also contribute to their distress. Sadly, due to growing migration brought about by the lack of employment opportunities locally, the number of broken Filipino families is on the rise.