Strictly speaking, there is no divorce in the Philippines. A marriage involving Filipinos may only be dissolved through Annulment. On the other hand, Legal Separation is a judicial process where the marital obligations of the spouses to live together as husband and wife as well as their property relations are terminated.
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However, 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 the capacity to remarry under Philippine law. As such, in order for this exemption to apply, it must satisfy the following conditions:
There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner; and
A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry.
Procedure and Requirements
The divorce obtained abroad must be passed upon judicially by a Philippine court to prove its validity before the Filipino spouse can remarry under Philippine law. This is done through filing a Petition for Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment. Recognition is a judicial process where both the foreign divorce and the foreign divorce law need to be proven in Court. For purposes of filing the petition, the following documents are necessary:
- Marriage certificate
- Copy of the divorce law
- Copy of the foreign divorce judgment
- Copy of the birth certificate of spouses and children, (if any).
The decision of the Philippine Court shall become the basis for the annotation of civil registry documents. After the petition is granted, the court decision must be filed with the appropriate Local Civil Registry Office, City Civil Registry Office and the Office of the Civil Registrar General in the Philippines.