8 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL JUDICIAL RECOGNITION OF DIVORCE IN THE PHILIPPINES
What is a Judicial Recognition of Divorce in the Philippines?
How Do you file a Recognition of Divorce in the Philippines? The following are the steps in getting a judicial recognition of divorce in the Philippines:
- Determine if You Qualify for a Recognition of Divorce.
A divorce can be recognized in the Philippines only if one spouse is a foreign national or when both spouses are already foreign nationals at the time the divorce became final. Any one of the spouses can now file the Petition for Recognition of Divorce. For example, if a Filipino citizen is married to an American or when a former Filipino citizen is naturalized while married to an American, then the law allows any divorce of that marriage to be recognized by a court in the Philippines . In a situation where one is a dual citizen of the Philippines and another country and the other spouse is a Filipino citizen, there is as yet no ruling by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
- Choose an Attorney
The choice of an attorney or lawyer is the most important part of the recognition process. Your choice will determine your probable success and whether or not the legal services you are seeking would match your financial budget and your timetable. A quick check with the list of lawyers on the website of the Philippine Supreme Court is a good start.
- Gather the Required Documents
The following is a list of the documents that will be required in processing a judicial recognition of divorce: a) A Brief Marital History; b) A certified true copy of the marriage certificate registered in the Philippines or in another country and registered with a Philippine consulate; c) A certified copy of the divorce decree, order, or decision duly translated to English if in another language, duly authenticated by Apostille. Please refer to the apostille requirements applicable in your place of residence. Guidance can usually be found with the Office of the Secretary of State or such equivalent office in your state of residence; d) A certified copy of the specific law on divorce in the country where it was obtained duly translated to English if in another language, duly authenticated by Apostille, and should indicate that the parties to the divorce can remarry .Please refer to the apostille requirements applicable in your place of residence. Guidance can usually be found with the Office of the Secretary of State or such equivalent office in your state of residence; e) Birth Certificates of children, if any; f) Proof of Residence of the spouse; g) Proof of Philippine citizenship ( Passport or Certificate of Naturalization) or proof of foreign citizenship; h) Proof of citizenship of the spouse. ( Passport or authenticated proof of naturalization)
- File the Petition
Your lawyer will prepare a draft of the petition which should be finalized with your inputs and approval. When the petition is finalized, you would need to sign the affidavit of non forum shopping which will be attached to the petition. If you are in the Philippines, the affidavit has to be sworn before a notary public. If you are abroad, it may be signed before the nearest Philippine consulate.
- Testify in Court
The first hearing will most likely be for purposes of establishing the jurisdictional facts, that is the service of the summons to the other party or publication if the party’s whereabouts cannot be ascertained or unknown. After that, witnesses will be called to testify. Normally, the fist witness will be the Petitioner followed by a representative from the Office of the Civil Registrar where the marriage which is the subject of the divorce is registered. Other witnesses may be required by the court.
- Wait for the Decision of the Court
After the testimonies of all the witnesses, all the evidence in the case will be offered in evidence and the case submitted for decision by the court.
- Wait for the Finality of the Decision
The Decision of the Court becomes final 15 days from receipt thereof by the Petitioner.
- Annotation of the Decision of the Court with the Civil Registrar where the Marriage was Registered
After the finality of the decision, a Certificate of Finality will be issued by the court which rendered the decision and this will be endorsed to the Office of the Civil Registrar where the marriage is registered for annotation. The annotation will include information of the title of the case, the court, and the relevant dates.
You may CLICK HERE to start your search for profiles of Philippine lawyers. Please follow this link for the list of lawyers on the website of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.