If You Are No Longer a Philippine Citizen Can You Get a Divorce?
I get a lot of questions and comments on divi=orce involving Filipinos and foreigners. I’ve written a lot about the subject, if you want to read more this is one place to start: Make the World Go Away … or, at least, Her Invalid Philippine Marriage.
But today a comment came in that’s different from most and it raises some very interesting points. Before I jump to my reader’s questions let me remind you as always, I am not a lawyer and all comments and advice expressed ere is personal opinion only, not legal advice.
What My Reader Asked About Divorce:
I got married in the PI but now A Norwegian citizen. The marriage didn’t work as how it should be. After l got here in Norway the relationship got so rocky and we were trying to hold it for some years but there is no way to save it. My questions are:
1. Since l am now a Norwegian citizen, Can l file my divorce here in Norway?
So far as I know, yes. You certainly can’t get a divorce in the Philippines if that’s what you were thinking. The rules for divorce in Norway seem pretty simple and straightforward, (Google is your friend) see:
2. Will it be legally recognized in the PI sense l am not a Filipino citizen no more?
A Norwegian divorce obtained by a Norwegian citizen should certainly be valid in the Philippines.
3. Or he should file it here in Norway so l will be officially declared single once the divorce will be granted here in Norway?
Since you are both Norwegian citizens I don’t believe it will make a difference which party files, but if you two are still on talking terms, then I would suggest he file for the divorce. One thing I would strongly suggest is, if you have any intention of reacquiring your Philippine citizenship I would hold off on that for now. The law is still very unclear on this, I know of at least one gentleman who has been in touch with me who had a problem.
He lost his Philippine citizenship by becoming a naturalized US citizen. He then divorced and after the divorce he reacquired his Philippine citizenship as allowed by RA-9225. When he went to get a marriage license here in the Philippines the registrar refused to issue him one, stating that because he had reacquired Philippine citizenship his divorce was not recognized.
I’m not really sure that was even a correct interpretation of the law by his local registrar, but why borrow trouble in my view.
As a Norwegian former Filipino you can return to the Philippines and live here forever on a 13(G) Philippine visa. If you intend to remarry here I personally would not reacquire Philippine citizenship until after I was remarried, just in case.
4. I got married in the Catholic Church, must l do anything about this before l can get married again?
Civil Law and Church Law Are Not The Same
Now you come to something really confusing to many people. Because in the Philippines there is no divorce, those wishing to end their marriage must be granted an annulment of the marriage by the Philippine courts. The Philippine courts, of course, operate under the Civil Lw of the Philippines.
But a great majority of people who get an annulment want to remarry and a great majority of those folks were married in a church ceremony.
There Is NO Divorce in the Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church operates under it’s own system of laws, called the Canon Law. Even today in 2016, the Catholic Church does NOT recognize divorce. Thus, even though you may have a legal divorce and you may be perfectly free to marry again under the laws of the Philippines, in the eyes of the Catholic Church you are still married. Wow. Double jeopardy it seems.
According to what church legal officials have explained to me (did you know there are priests and nuns whose calling includes being lawyers under Canon Law)? I found out for myself the hard way.
Only A Church Annulment Can Free You
To be free to marry again in the Catholic Church you must also receive an annulment through the Church courts, under Canon Law. You can remarry in a civil ceremony or even in almost all other Christian churches, BUT the Church of Rome does not recognize divorce.
I’m not an expert on this subject, only a “victim” … my Catholic wife and I have been married 15 years now but the Catholic church considers me (and my wife) adulterers because they do not recognize my divorce from my first wife. It’s not pleasant at all, essentially my wife had to give up her religion to marry me.
Consult your priest or local diocese officials on this matter, if you are a Catholic and want to stay a Catholic in good standing with the church you have along row to hoe. Godspeed.
So what does anyone else think? If You Are No Longer a Philippine Citizen Can You Get a Divorce?