Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgement 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 layman’s commonly abused term – 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)

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