Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (Divorce Decree, etc.)

Recognition of Divorce Decree


It is a very common occurrence in the Philippines that when things do not work out in a mixed marriage, the foreigner spouse obtains a divorce, nullity of his/her marriage in his/her country. On the part of the Filipino spouse, he/she should file a case for the judicial recognition of the foreign judgment or divorce decree.


When is the judicial recognition of foreign judgment/ divorce decree applicable? It is applicable when one of the parties to the marriage is a foreigner; and, the foreigner obtains a valid divorce/ nullity of marriage in his/her country. It is not essential that the union/marriage be a mixed marriage from the beginning: meaning, one of them is a foreigner during marriage. A judicial recognition of foreign judgment can still be had by a former Filipino who acquired a foreign nationality then was granted divorce in his/her country.


Before getting married again in the Philippines, it is mandatory for any divorced individual to go to court to secure a judicial recognition of their divorce decree. There is no other way.


The judicial recognition of a foreign judgment is based on Rule 108 of the Rules of Court as enunciated in FUJIKI vs. MARINAY, et. al., G.R. No. 196049, June 26, 2013, to wit:


Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that “[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.” Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth, death or marriage, which the State has an interest in recording. As noted by the Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas this Court declared that “[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact.”


Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:


Sec. 1. Who may file petition. — Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.


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