Divorces granted abroad might soon be recognised in the Philippines

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Divorces obtained by foreigners in their home country might soon be legally recognised in the Philippines.

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The House of Representatives has launched plenary deliberations for House Bill 7185, which proposes recognition of foreign decrees of termination of marriage. As a result, the Filipino spouse would be allowed to remarry without the need to undergo judicial proceedings.

Authored by lawmaker Pia S. Cayetano, HB 7185 has been endorsed for plenary approval by the House committee on population and family relations chaired by Congressman Sol Aragones.

The House panel has also pushed for the passage of another bill recognising absolute divorce in the country with Cayetano among the principal authors.

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HB 7185 proposes to eliminate the need for judicial recognition of a foreign degree of termination of marriage or divorce that the foreign spouse of a married couple has acquired.

The bill would allow the Filipino spouse to contract another marriage as soon as the divorce decree granted by another country has been authenticated.

A Filipino married to a foreigner, whose marriage is terminated abroad before the bill is passed, could also benefit.

Furthermore, Filipinos who have been divorced from a spouse who had subsequently acquired foreign citizenship is also covered by the provisions of the measure.

The bill also covers a Filipino who has subsequently acquired foreign citizenship and who has divorced from the Filipino spouse abroad.

The provisions of the Family Code shall be observed in any agreement of the divorced spouse relating to liquidation, partition and distribution of properties and the custody and support of children.

In filing the bill, Cayetano said that under the Family Code, a Filipino citizen who is divorced by the foreign spouse may only remarry if the foreign spouse is allowed to remarry.

“The bill seeks to eliminate this undue prejudice against our own citizens by eliminating the need for judicial recognition and enforcement and capacitating them to remarry upon acquisition of a foreign judicial decree of foreign divorce,” he said.

The Philippine consul in the country where the decree was obtained must first authenticate the divorce document.

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