Many Foreigners are looking for a Filipina to get married and spend the rest of their life with. Sometimes they meet a nice woman but they find out that the woman is married already and/or separated. And here is the problem. There are no divorce laws in the Philippines to set her free and to be able to marry you.
Only two countries in the world do NOT have a law to regulate divorces.
The first one does not need one, simply because only single persons live there: Vatican City. You should know that the Vatican is an independent state situated in the middle of Rome with its own government, laws and more. Therefore, it is a country.
And 2nd, there is a country of more than 7000 islands with around 100 million most catholic people who can easily get married, but cannot get divorced if there are problems. If you are rich in the Philippines there are ways to get ‘officially separated’ from your spouse, but this is a very expensive and time-consuming process. They call it ANNULMENT.
It happens a lot that a couple was married, but after some time the man runs away and lives somewhere else, most of the time with another woman. They call themselves separated, but are not able to legally marry again; they are often not even officially separated. If you meet such a woman and you want to marry her, you will have some problems to solve first.
Of course, you can just live with her and act if you are married, but if the original husband finds out, he can make many problems for you. He could demand for all your money because he will claim that he was only away to find work or something like that and upon return finds his wife committing adultery. In such cases, the richer party (mostly the foreigner) will have to pay him off to agree in an annulment or he will report you to some friendly (and willing for a share of the money) police officers so you might end up in jail (and maybe your girlfriend too). So be careful when you do something like this.
Articles 333 and 334 of the Revised Penal Code (Marital Infidelity laws) define adultery and concubinage. According to these articles, a wife may be found guilty of adultery if she has sexual relations with a man not her husband. In contrast, a husband would only be guilty of concubinage by meeting certain specific conditions. The punishment for adultery is heavier than concubinage. The law implies that husbands can get away with infidelity so long as they don’t meet certain conditions, making it discriminatory against women.
I just wanted to write about this subject because it might happen to someone one day or has happened already.
Without a divorce law, Filipinos, once married, stay married all their lives. Unless they get a legal ‘separation’ or ‘annulment’.
- In the Philippines, a person can be officially and legally ‘separated’, which means that such couple are allowed to live separately and their assets are split (no more obligations to the partner), but cannot get married again.
- And there is the ‘annulment’, which gives such person the possibility to get married again.
Both procedures (especially the latter) are costly, and more special: time consuming. Annulment might even take several years.
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning, almost as if it had never taken place (though some jurisdictions provide that the marriage is only void from the date of the annulment). In strict legal terminology, annulment refers only to making a voidable marriage null; if the marriage is void ab initio, then it is automatically null, although a legal declaration of nullity is required to establish this. The process of obtaining such a declaration is similar to the annulment process. Generally speaking, annulment, despite its retrospective nature, still results in any children born being considered legitimate in the United States and many other countries.
I came across a few websites handling divorce and annulment in the Philippines. So if you thinking about an annulment for yourself or for your future partner, just check them, maybe it can help you. The addresses are:
These are both pages of law firms willing to help you in your struggle, but I would like to advise you to ask for rates first, and ask also a lawyer in your neighborhood. You should realize that you need a specialist-lawyer (in Family Law) for these cases because of the possible complications.
Read more about the annulment process in a future post