Philippine Marital Problems
Here’s a comment I received regarding one woman’s journey on the road of life. I get a lot of similar queries like this and I have decided to answer more of them here in the “main blog” instead of having them buried in the comments section.
First, a disclaimer: I am not an attorney. This is not legal advice in any way. Please consult the proper professionals before you act on any of my words, which are, just one man’s personal opinion.
Also I would like to add a request here. In many questions like this I need to ask that people be a little more specific. In other words, don’t make me guess at your nationality, the nationality of your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, and especially be careful of “here” and “there”. I sometimes have trouble figuring out what country a person is writing from, and many people get confused because they think I am in the USA, when in fact, the Philippines is “here” to me.
In short, jut try to remember that people all over the world check in here and they may not know where and what you are talking about. Fair enough?
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the reader question, broken down and edited slightly for readability and clarity.
Hi Phil!! Your website is very interesting. I just wanna consult with you a situation i am currently in. I’m engaged with my immigrant bf and we want to get married here in NY and I am 2 months pregnant. …
OK, I’ll have to start out making a lot of assumptions here. The only reason I think I might understand this is, I receive so many other “guessing game” contributions that I think I can follow the clues. I am assuming the reader is a Philippine citizen living in New York and she wants to marry a man who is also a Philippine citizen, but living in New York,
And the intended spouse is married. It doesn’t matter where he married, if it was a legal marriage in the country he married, it is a legal marriage in New York. I assume (there’s that word again)that the writer is, herself, free to marry. So, what’s the problem, he should get a divorce, then he’s free to marry and the reader is free to marry and we’re all home free, right?
The problem that we have now is that he is married in the phils (no children). The wife currently works in Saudi Arabia who we think will not agree to a divorce.
Well I get questions like this all the time from Filipinos and that’s one of the reasons I am making assumptions about citizenship. In most US states the divorce law is now commonly called a No Fault divorce law. If you read the requirements for divorce in New York State, it seems to me the wife does not have grounds to NOT accept the divorce, as long as one of the parties asserts there is an “Irretrievable Breakdown” between the husband and wife.
I’m assuming the lawyer you consulted knows this, I mean that’s why you consulted one, correct? It would seem to me he has given good advice.
What are the things we need to do to have a legal marriage? We have consulted to a lawyer here in NY that said all my bf needed to do is file for a divorce even if she doesn’t agree. All he has to do is make sure that she receives that final divorce notice and we can legally marry here. Is that right?
Yep, again, far be it from me to question a real lawyer. I certainly see no problem with his advice. Especially since there are no children and probably little or no marital property involved, the current wife does seem to have much choice. If hubby-to-be gets a New York State divorce, he is then free to remarry in new York, or most anywhere else in the world … except the Philippines.
Reading the things you had written above, legal marriage would not be possible unless annulled in the Philippines.
That is correct regarding marriage in the Philippines. The current law of the Philippines will NOT recognize his New York divorce. However, as we discuss in the next part of your question, why do you care? You are in the US, he is in the US, and he is even working on his citizen (hats off to him on that, by the way), and if you were to marry after his divorce, it should be 100% legal in any state of the USA. So I don’t see a problem for now.
Another option that we have is that we are going to wait for the time that he obtains his US citizenship which is 2 years from now. From there, the plan would be to divorce the wife which will be honored by the Philippine Government. BUT the problem is our upcoming child.
Exactly. You have a better concept than many of my readers regarding the issue. If you were to wait until he became a US citizen and he then divorced his present wife, they both might become free to remarry within the Philippines.
Divorce By A Foreigner Who Is Also A “Former Filipino” May Be More Complex
I have to stick the “might” in there because the law is unclear if a divorce filed be a foreigner who is a “former Filipino” may, or may not be recognized by the Philippines. If he were a “pure”foreigner yes, no problem, but Philippine law treats ‘former Filipinos” differently in many ways than either “natural born Filipinos” or “natural born citizens of other countries … foreigners.
But there’s no point in waiting, in my view. As you point out,, there are more pressing issues.
We are concerned about the legitimacy of my child. What’s confusing is that what the lawyer said seemed so easy—-just divorce the wife from here.
It seems to me that if you consult a lawyer in a legal matter and s/he gives you legal advice … especially if tat advice is advice you want to hear … advice that will help you live your life the way you want to, it’s probably wise to follow that legal advice, diba?
Can we have a civil marriage legally once the final divorce notice is received?
Exactly. I see no reason you can’t do exactly that.
I understand that under the Philippine law, it is illegal and he could be charged with bigamy. But since we don’t plan to go back to the Philippines as of yet …
Again, correct. There would probably be grounds for bigamy under Philippine law, but the chances of any ill-effects of that reaching to the US seem almost infinitesimal. To begin with, the current wife would have to file a notice with the court in the Philippines alleging the crime and then she would essentially have to push the case along.
And while your boy friend lives in another country there really is little the government of the Philippines could do … it’s not a crime that someone would be extradited for … especially since, to the laws of the US he would NOT be guilty of bigamy. Don’t “borrow trouble” is my view on this … or, as we say here in the Philippines, we’ll burn that bridge if we ever have to come to it
… possible or allowed or legal to serve another divorce once he gets his citizenship just to nullify the marriage in the phils? We are in a situation that we are on the way of having a child and we want to get married before its birth. What do you think we should do? I’m confused. I know you are not a lawyer but u are unbelievably knowledgeable in this.
I’ll have to save that one to show my dear wife the next time I do something totally stupid. Thank you, but I certainly am NOT that knowledgeable.
However, I have no idea what you might do after he becomes a US citizen. Another of those “bridge burning” issues, it’s years in the future. And, you enter into the picture too. What if you become a US citizen as well? (as I certainly recommend).
You Both May Want To Hold Off On Reacquiring Philippine Citizenship
Then the Philippine law is truly not an issue, even if you were to later in life decide to return to your bayan to live. As a”former Filipino” you can get a permanent residency visa to live in the Philippines for life and no need to ever reacquire your Philippine citizenship if the old bigamy issue ever appears worrisome.
So that’s all the advice I can offer, really. It’s so refreshing to talk with someone who has already done what I always advise … consulted an attorney.
My vote is, follow your layer’s advice, enjoy a happy marriage and many happy and healthy children. Godspeed in solving your Philippine Marital Problems.