Frequently Asked Questions

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

You need to find a lawyer who would assess your case and advise you whether you have sufficient grounds for annulment. This is the first step.

It appears that you have been victimized by scammers preying on those in dire need of having their marriage annulled. Unfortunately, since the decision annulling your marriage is fake, for all legal intents and purposes, you are still married to your spouse and you must file a petition for annulment of your marriage.

If you have sufficient grounds for annulment, you can file the petition even if you can no longer locate your spouse or your spouse is residing overseas.

If you have sufficient grounds for annulment, you can still file the petition.

Yes, to legally dissolve your marriage, you must file a petition for declaration of nullity of your marriage on the ground that it is a bigamous marriage.

There is no summary proceeding in petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. You still have to go through the whole nine yards. Though your marriage is void for being a bigamous marriage, you must still prove among others, that the first marriage of your husband had not been dissolved, before he married you.

Your marriage is void. You can file a petition for declaration of nullity of your marriage if you can prove that you were only 17 years old, on the date you got married.

If you can prove that the facts or details reflected in your 2003 birth certificate reflect your true identity, you must file a petition for cancellation of your birth certificate registered in 2002. Once your 2002 birth certificate is cancelled, you can henceforth get a copy of your 2003 birth certificate.

Your parents must file a petition for the cancellation of your simulated birth certificate coupled with a petition for your adoption. At the end of the process, you will be issued a new birth certificate showing your adopting parents as your parents, without any indication that you were just adopted.

RECOGNITION OF DIVORCE

If you have no intention of remarrying, you need not file a petition for the recognition of the divorce obtained by your husband. Your status though would still be married to your husband who divorced you. If you are planning to remarry, you must file the petition for recognition of the divorce obtained by your husband. The divorce decree must be proven in court. Proof of its authenticity must be presented. This necessarily entails proving the applicable laws of the national law of your spouse to show that the decree of divorce is valid according to the national law of your spouse.

First, you must cause apostilization of the divorce decree. Second, you must register the apostilized divorce decree at the Civil Registry of Manila, where all foreign judgments are required to be registered. The documents that you should have before you can file a petition for recognition of divorce are the following:

  1. apostilized divorce decree;
  2. proof of registration of the divorce decree with the Civil Registry of Manila;
  3. marriage certificate;
  4. copy of the laws on divorce of the country or state where the divorce was obtained with apostille;
  5. birth certificates of children (if any);

Once you have the complete requirements, engage the services of a lawyer to file your petition for recognition of divorce. The venue of your petition is the place where your marriage was registered (if your marriage was solemnized in the Philippines).

You can divorce your spouse in the US but that divorce will not be recognized in the Philippines and you would still be considered married to your spouse. You have two options:

  1. Apply for US Citizenship then once you are a US Citizen already, divorce your spouse in the US
  2. If you have no intention of applying for US Citizenship, you should file a petition for annulment of your marriage in the Philippines, to legally dissolve your marriage in the Philippines

We only have court process servers in the Philippines but court process servers are government employees and they are not allowed to accept private engagements. Most foreign law firms accept service of summons done by Philippine lawyers. You must check with your court whether service of summons done by Philippine lawyers is allowed or would suffice. In such cases, we can be of assistance.

AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS

Yes it can be done. We can provide assistance in securing an NBI Clearance for those residing overseas and we can also assist in the DFA authentication of the NBI Clearance.

Yes, we can provide such service.

PHILIPPINE VISA AND IMMIGRATION

You may explore the possibility of obtaining a retirement visa or a special investor’s residence visa. There are other types of permanent residence visa. You must have your particular situation assessed by an immigration lawyer who can recommend the appropriate permanent residence visa for you.

The Philippine Retirement Authority is offering a special type of permanent residence visa to former Filipino Citizens and her family who are citizens of another country. The visa is called Special Resident Retiree Visa.

You must find an employer willing to file an application for a working visa for you.

You must file a Motion for Reconsideration with the Bureau of Immigration. Your unpaid visa fees and penalties will be assessed and you must pay it. You must also secure a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance because you have stayed in the Philippines for more than six months. Since you have overstayed for more than 3 years, the ruling on your motion for reconsideration will include a directive that you be placed in the blacklist and that you cannot return to the Philippines unless you file a petition for the removal of your name from the blacklist and you obtain a favorable ruling on your petition for the removal of your name from the blacklist.

You must first cause verification whether your name is in the Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s blacklist because if you are in the blacklist, you will not be allowed to enter the Philippines. If it would turn out that you are in the blacklist, you must file a petition for the removal of your name from the blacklist. Should your petition be favorably acted upon, you can return to the Philippines but you must pay the blacklist removal fee that will be assessed by the Bureau of Immigration.

PHILIPPINE LAND OWNERSHIP

Under our constitution, foreigners are not allowed to own lands in the Philippines, except by hereditary succession. Your wife can buy the land but for all intents and purposes, she would be the owner of the land, regardless of the source of the funds used in buying the land. You can however construct a building on the land and have the building registered under your name.

Yes, you and your children can inherit the lands left by your deceased wife because hereditary succession is an exception to the rule prohibiting foreigners from owning lands in the Philippines.

UNITED STATES VISA ASSISTANCE

FIANCEE AND SPOUSE VISA

No. The purpose of issuing a fiancée visa to your girlfriend is to enable her to marry you in the United States. If she has no legal capacity to marry you, the US Embassy will not issue her a fiancée visa. Your girlfriend must first cause the annulment or declaration of nullity of her marriage.

The following are the basic requirements:

  • You and your fiancée must have met in person already;
  • Both of you must have legal capacity to marry;
  • You must be able to show that you have sufficient financial capacity to bring a person to the United States.

No. Approval of your petition by the USCIS is not a guarantee that the US Embassy will issue a fiancée visa to your girlfriend. She must still pass the medical examination and the consular interview.

Your fiancée can secure Police Clearances from Hongkong and Singapore Police Department without her going to Hongkong and Singapore. It can be done. The Hongkong and Singapore Police have different requirements. We can assist in obtaining Singapore and Hongkong Police Clearance.

FAMILY BASED VISA PETITION

Your visa category changed after you got married. The petition filed by your mother for you as a single person, is no longer applicable. She must file another petition for you under the married child visa category.

When your petition reaches the US Embassy, the consul will ask for proof that your father is still domiciled in the US such as proof of US billing, US bank accounts, voting records, lease contract for a property in the US or proof of ownership of a house therein, income tax returns etc. Your father must return to the United States to establish his domicile again in the US, otherwise, your petition will be denied.

ESTATE / PROBATE

The estate of your father can be settled extra-judicially or without going to the court, if your father left no debts and all the heirs of your father are in agreement regarding the division of his estate. You and your father’s other compulsory heirs must execute an extra-judicial settlement of the estate of your father, cause publication of the extra-judicial settlement of estate and pay the estate and other taxes due. Thereafter, you can claim the bank deposits and have the ownership of the real estate transferred to you and the other compulsory heirs. As for the bank deposits, there is an additional requirement of posting of heirs’ bond.

No. A petition for the probate of the will must be filed in court and the last will must be admitted to probate by the court. After the probate of the last will and testament, corresponding estate tax on your father’s estate must be paid. Only then can you proceed to transfer ownership of the properties listed in the will to the designated beneficiaries.