A Marriage Is A Marriage, Registered Or Not.
(Last updated 19 January, 2017)
- 0.1 Questions, I get Questions:
- 0.2 My Reader Asks:
- 0.3 Let’s Take This Question Apart and Find My Reader Some Answers:
- 0.4 Now The Readers’ Specific Questions:
- 0.5 So Is There Any Hope For The Cousin?
- 0.6 Comments?
- 1 Related Posts
- 2 Readers who viewed this page, also viewed:
- 3 Share this Article:
Questions, I get Questions:
And I love them folks, keep ’em coming, either with comments to these articles or via my dedicated Contact page.
Here’s a very interesting question I received this morning via my contact page. I’ve changed the names to protect in innocent (or the guilty as the case may be).
My Reader Asks:
My cousin got married 1997 in the province of Philippines and live with 1st wife for over a year but left her. Marriage was not registered and got he married to 2nd wife in 2003,lived in the US but got divorced 5 years later. He was naturalized 2016 and is now planning to petition his fiancée in Philippines. Recently he had his marriage record checked at NSO and the first marriage appeared, although he is divorced with 2nd wife. Can he file for K1 visa even if NSO says he is married to 1st wife? He has divorce decree on 2nd wife. Will immigration find out about first wife which he did not disclosed in the 2nd marriage when he went to US. Thanks!
Let’s Take This Question Apart and Find My Reader Some Answers:
Hi dear reader. First of all, please remember these comments and answers are NOT legal advice, I’m merely stating my personal opinions here.
To begin at the beginning, here are a few articles of mine you (or your cousin) should refer to for background information on this issue:
Be sure to read the comments to these articles as well, becuase there is a lot of valuable information, including some “real” attorney comments in them.
Now The Readers’ Specific Questions:
My cousin got married 1997 in the province of Philippines and live with 1st wife for over a year but left her. Marriage was not registered….
Well here s the first problem which your cousin seems to have. He married this woman and then “left her”. In other words he just walked out, correct?
Here’s the thing. Marriage, is a lifetime contract. Legally, neither party can just “walk away”. And if the parties are Filipinos they can’t divorce … that’s the law of the Philippines and it applies to all Filipinos, world-wide. Under the laws of the Philippines he is still married to the “woman one”,until death do them part, or until this marriage is legally terminated.
Walking away from a spouse does NOT end an otherwise legal marriage.
… and got he married to 2nd wife in 2003, lived in the US but got divorced 5 years later...
Well this second marriage was never legally a marriage. You can’t marry another person while you are still married. The law (in the Philippines or in the USA) calls this bigamy. A prerequisite for a legal marriage to take place is that both partners in the marriage be free to marry, and your cousin was not free,
And since he was still a Philippine citizen (even if he lived in the USA) his divorce from the second woman was not legal under the laws of the Philippines. But this may not matter in the long run, read on.
…He was naturalized 2016 and is now planning to petition his fiancée in Philippines. Recently he had his marriage record checked at NSO and the first marriage appeared, although he is divorced with 2nd wife…
And this fact surprises you and your cousin?
That kind of amazes me. I get questions like this all the time. The marriage happened 15 years ago and yet there is a record of it? Surprise, surprise.
That’s what all those government agencies and clerks do when you get married. Forward the record of the marriage to the NSO (now called the PSA). The record doesn’t get erased after 15 years just because one of the parties wanted to forget about it.
He got married, legally to this woman and he did nothing legally to end the marriage, so of course, legally, he’s still married.
… Now he’s a US citizen… Can he file for K1 visa even if NSO says he is married to 1st wife? He has divorce decree on 2nd wife. Will immigration find out about first wife which he did not disclosed in the 2nd marriage when he went to US…
But one of the very first thing things on the K! visa application is a section which asks for the details of ALL previous marriages, and proof that you are now free of them.
Regardless of whether the embassy checks your cousin’s NSO record or not … and I think they will … if he does not disclose this first, still valid marriage on the application, as an American citizen he could be subject to a $10,000 USD fine and several years in prison for falsifying a government document. Does he want to run this risk? I surely wouldn’t want to.
Also, for proposed wife number three. Although she, as a Philippine citizen still in the Philippines can’t be thrown in prison by the USA, if she fails to disclose any knowledge she has of your cousin’s record of serial marriages, she could face a five-year or even lifetime ban on entering the USA. The offense of lying on these applications constitutes Immigration Fraud against the USA, and the USA just doesn’t shrug its shoulders and say, “Oh. OK, forget about it.”
These application have to be filled up with total honesty, in my opinion.
So Is There Any Hope For The Cousin?
What can he do?
Start being honest is what I would advise.
Divorce the first wife (now that he is a US citizen he can do this, legally) (how hard this would be depends upon what US state he lives in).
Once that US divorce is granted then,bingo, he’s legally an unmarried US male and he’s free to submit the application, honestly and then marry woman number three legally.
So what are your thoughts on A Marriage Is A Marriage, Registered Or Not?