Ask Atty. Barney: Recognition of divorce decree in the Philippines

Katanungang legal? May sagot d’yan! Alamin ang mga batas at iyong karapatan dito sa UAE. Kung ikaw man ay nangangamba sa iyong visa, nagbabalak ng annulment, magsisimula ng negosyo, may pinagkakautangan, problema sa pinapasukan, hinaharap na kaso o anumang usaping legal, sasagutin ng ating Kabayan Atty. Barney Almazar ang inyong mga katanungang legal dito sa UAE. Mag-email lamang sa


Recognition of divorce decree in the Philippines

Atty. Barney, I am a Filipina and was married to a British citizen. After 5 years of being married, he filed for a divorce in United Kingdom which was granted. I found a new love here in Dubai and we are planning to get married. I just want to know if I can remarry under the Philippine law by virtue of the divorce decree obtained by my former husband. – Charisse

 Yes, you may remarry provided that the divorce decree obtained by your foreign husband has been recognized as valid by a Philippine court.

Marriage entered into by a Filipino may only be dissolved through a petition for absolute declaration of nullity of marriage or a petition for annulment of marriage. Unless the previous marriage has been annulled or declared void, Filipino spouse cannot validly enter into a new contract of marriage. However, if a foreigner married to a Filipino citizen has obtained a divorce decree abroad, the Filipino spouse may remarry pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code, to wit:

“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 likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.”

Notwithstanding the above quoted provision, the divorce decree obtained by your foreign husband will not automatically capacitate you to remarry. You must first file a petition for recognition of foreign judgment with the Philippine courts. A foreign divorce, being in the nature of foreign judgment requires verification and approval from our courts for it to be recognized in our country.

Once the Philippine court confirms the foreign divorce decree, its decision indicating that it formally recognizes and accepts your foreign divorce decree will be registered before the Office of the Local Civil Registrar that will eventually result in a change of the marital status from married to single. It is only after undergoing this process that you will be able to make your foreign divorce effective in the Philippines, and as a consequence enable you to legally remarry.

 Abusive Debt Collectors

Atty. Barney, my daughter has a loan with a bank. For the past 4 months, she was not able to pay her monthly dues because of an emergency in the Philippines. She received a call from a collection agent who cursed and shouted on her. The agent also caller her boss and told him that my daughter is not paying her loan. Is the action of the bank illegal? – Rhian

Yes, the action of the bank collection agent is illegal. It is punishable under paragraph 1 of Article 374 of the Penal Code which states:

“Punishment by detention for a period not exceeding six months or by a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Dirhams (AED 5,000) shall apply if slander or abuse is transmitted by telephone or face to face with the victim and in the presence of a third party.”

Moreover, his action of disclosing account information is against the Central Bank rules. Banks and their agents are mandated to ensure the confidentiality of bank account information of their clients. Hence, they are prohibited to disclose it to third party even if such clients are not paying them.


 Atty. Barney is a Director at the Commercial Department of Gulf Law in the Middle East, Philippines and United Kingdom. Readers can visit or call +971 55 8650 248 for further information.