Dissolution of Marriage

Q. I am currently overseas. How can I file a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage in the Philippines?

A. 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.

Q. I engaged the services of someone I found on the internet advertising a fast and easy annulment with no appearance. He gave me a court decision 4 months later declaring my marriage null and void. I later on asked for additional copies of the decision but I could no longer contact him. I went to the court which issued the decision to get additional copies of the decision. I was however told by the clerk of court that there was no such case in the court’s record and that my decision is fake. What should I do?

A. 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.

Q. I could no longer find my spouse or my spouse is residing overseas, can I file a petition for annulment of my 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.

Q. I want to file a petition for annulment of my marriage but my husband said that he would oppose my petition. Can I still file the petition and what would be the effect if my husband would oppose it?

A. If you have sufficient grounds for annulment, you can still file the petition. The opposition of your husband would surely stretch the case proceeding.

Recognition of Divorce

Q. My foreigner husband divorced me in his country. I was told that I can not automatically remarry but that I must file a petition for recognition of the divorce obtained by my husband. Why should I waste money in filing a petition in court for the recognition of the divorce decree?

A. 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. 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. The presentation of the divorce decree is insufficient. Proof of its authenticity and due execution 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.

A. 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.

Q. I am planning to file a petition for the recognition of the divorce obtained by my foreigner spouse. What should I do first?

A. First, you must cause authentication of the divorce decree either at the Philippine Embassy having jurisdiction over the place where the divorce was obtained or at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Second, you must register the 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 the divorce are the following: 1) authenticated copy of the divorce decree; 2) proof of registration of the divorce decree with the Civil Registry of Manila; 3) marriage certificate; 4) 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.

Q. I am a Filipino Citizen currently residing in the United States. I was told by a US lawyer that instead of filing an annulment case in the Philippines, I can divorce my spouse here in the US. Is divorce really an option for me?

A. 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.

Philippine Visa and Immigration

Q. I intend to live in the Philippines permanently. What type of Philippine Visa do I need?

A. The Philippines offers various 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. We provide this type of service.

Q. I am a US Citizen married to a Filipina who later became a naturalized US Citizen. We intend to retire and live permanently in the Philippines. What type of visa can we apply for?

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. We can be of assistance in securing this type of visa.

Q. I am a foreigner intending to work in the Philippines. How can I get a working visa?

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

Philippine Land Ownership

Q. I am a foreigner married to a Filipino Citizen. I intend to retire and live permanently in the Philippines. Can I purchase a lot and build a house in the Philippines under my name?

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

United States Visa Assistance

Q. I have a fiancée in the Philippines. She is separated from her husband. I intend to bring her to the United States. Can I file a petition for fiancée visa for her?

A. 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.

Q. What are the basic requirements or qualifications that I must have so I can file a fiancée visa petition for my girlfriend?

A. 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.

Q. The USCIS approved my fiancée visa application for my fiancée. Does that mean that for sure she will be issued a fiancée visa by the United States Embassy in Manila?

A. 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.

Q. My fiancée worked in Hongkong and Singapore, many years ago. I filed a fiancée visa petition for her. The US Embassy in Manila asked her to submit Police Clearance from Hongkong and Singapore. How can she secure those? Can she get that from the embassy of Singapore?

A. Your fiancée can secure Police Clearance 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. Consult their respective website. We can assist in getting those Police Clearances.

Estate / Probate

Q. My father died without a will leaving properties in the Philippines consisting of real estate and bank deposits, how can we claim the bank deposits and transfer ownership of the real estate to me and the other heirs of my father?

A. The estate of your father can be settled extra-judicially or without going to the court. 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.