DIVORCE OBTAINED BY A FILIPINO ABROAD CAN NOW BE RECOGNIZED IN THE PHILIPPINES
Art. 26 of the Family Code states, to wit:
X x x x
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
The legal wisdom then was if it was the Filipino spouse who obtained the divorce then that divorce cannot be recognized in the Philippines because the law explicitly states that :” and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse”.
An opinion has been advanced that this interpretation of the law is actually unfair to the Filipino spouse who has to wait for his or her foreign spouse to file for divorce before it could be recognized in the Philippines. The available remedy was a declaration of nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity under Art. 36 of the Family Code , which has been considered to be long, tedious, and expensive.
The Supreme Court has rectified the situation by now allowing the Filipino spouse to have a divorce that he or she has obtained against the foreign spouse recognized in the Philippines.
In the case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Manalo, the Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals which allowed the judicial recognition of a divorce filed by a Filipino wife against her Japanese husband in Japan. The ruling was based on the legislative history of Art. 26 of the Family Code and the decision of the High Court in Van Dorn vs. Romillo, Jr. (G.R. No. L-68470, Oct. 8, 1985).
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