Guam Divorces for Philippine Marriages.
(Updated 24 November 2018)
Recently I’ve published several articles on divorce in the Philippines.
We’ve also mentioned the idea of the foreigners (non-Filipino) member of the marriage going to a country other than the Philippines.
They can obtain a divorce in the foreign country and then their Filipino partner can file a court case in the Philipines for recognition of the foreign divorce.
This process will then free both members of the marriage to be free to marry again, in any country, anywhere.
Now, Why Would An American Go To Guam For A Divorce?
Well, there are a number of possibly good reasons.
Let’s look at a few of them:
There’s No Such Thing As A US Divorce
Divorce in the USA is under the control of the individual states. That means 50 different divorce laws. (Actually, 51 if you include the District of Columbia, which also has its own divorce laws).
Some states are “easy” to get divorced in. Others are, well, not so much.
Some states are very cheap in terms of overall divorce costs. Again, others, well, not so much.
One big issue that may crop up for the couple seeking the divorce is residency within the jurisdiction you are seeking the divorce from.
Some US states require rather long periods of residence.
Some states are really talking about a person’s “domicile” rather than the strict interpretation of “residency.
If you’re living in the Philippines and want to stay here, you could run into a situation where you would have to move back to a US state and live there for a period of time in order to file a divorce in that state. (I can hear many of you saying “Yukkk” to that idea.)
(There’s a legal difference between these words, trust me on that, but not being a lawyer, I won’t go into it here.)
Even a bigger stumbling block for many Phil-Am couples are some US states which require residency of BOTH parties to the divorce.
For the average Phil-Am couple this is going to be a real show-stopper if the Filipino member if the marriage doesn’t already have a visa, Green Card or other rights to enter the USA and stay there for the length of time required.
Time is another big issue here. too.
In every US state, a divorce is an action granted by a state court. From the start of the filing process to the day the court grants the “Final Decree” can be weeks, or months, or (shudder) even years if problems arise
A Guam Divorce Solves Most Of These Issues
First one should decide for yourself if a Guam divorce is valid. (Remember I am not a lawyer, consult one if you need legal advice).
A lot of people lump Guam Divorces in with other foreign “quickie divorces”, such as Mexican or even more misleading, divorces from the Dominican Republic.
Some of these divorces may, in fact, not be legally recognized by various US states.
However, the issue of Guam Divorce Validity has been addressed many times in US courts. A Guam Divorce is legally recognized by ALL US States.
And if a divorce is recognized by a US State it is also recognized by the nation of the Philippines.
There’s a lot of self-serving information out there, some of which I don’t trust. Here’s a link to some real facts from the US Navy Staff Judge Advocate. GUAM DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
For an uncontested divorce (with no children or property involved), only one member of the couple needs to be a Guam resident.
The required period of legal residency is 7 (that’s right, seven days). An American can go to Guam (no visas or permissions required, remember, it is “Guam USA”), stay there for 7 days, and then be legally entitled to file a case for divorce.
The other partner of the marriage can be of any nationality and is never required to travel to Guam.
After the seven days the person establishing residency in Guam and filing the divorce action my leave Guam and should never have to return.
The divorce decree, however, is not issued at the end of 7 days. The complete divorce case typically tales 30 to 45 days to complete.
One should certainly seek legal guidance and administrative assistance during this process. There are a number of Guam attornies who specialize in helping folks through these divorces.
I don’t have a recommendation myself.
For informational purposes only, here’s one attorney’s informational web page on the process. (there are many others)
All in, a Guam divorce should run in the range of $2,000 USD.
RT plane fare from Manila to Guam is usually available for about $500 USD. United, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific all fly non-stop from Manila. The flight is a few minutes less than 4 hours.
Once The Divorce Is Granted
The US member of the marriage is immediately free to marry again.
The Filipino member can take the divorce decree and file a case in Philippine court for “Judicial Recognition of a Foreign Divorce”. I’ll cover that subject in another article.
These divorces are not limited to Americans. Any nationality whose own country’s laws will recognize a US divorce and avail of a 7 Day Guam Divorce.
So what else can I tell you about Guam Divorces for Philippine Marriages?