The Philippines do not adhere to divorce for it continues to promote the sanctity of marriage. This is usually overlooked by Filipinos abroad. They think that since they are no longer within the Philippine islands, then they are no longer subjected to its laws. This is wrong. Filipinos, where ever they may be, are not allowed to initiate any divorce proceedings. The remedy is to file a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage for Filipinos Abroad.
In the Philippines, if a petition is to be filed before a court, it must be verified and signed by the Petitioner. How, then, could this be done if the Petitioner is living abroad? In filing a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity for Filipinos abroad, the latter must have a representative, preferably a lawyer, here in the Philippines who can draft the Petition and gather and attach all the necessary documents to substantiate the Petition.
After the drafting of the petition, the Filipino living abroad should verify the truthfulness of the facts stated in the Petition. So, the representative who drafted the Petition must send a copy thereof to the petitioner who is living abroad. The latter shall then, after reading and reviewing the contents, sign the petition and have the Petition authenticated before the Philippine Embassy in and for the country where he or she is currently residing. This process is commonly known as “consularization”.
Then, after the documents were authenticated by the Philippine Embassy, the petitioner living abroad must send the authenticated petition back here in the Philippines. Then, his or her representative shall file it before the Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the place where either the petitioner or the respondent of the case has resided for six (6) months.
Although it is possible to file a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity for Filipinos abroad, it does not mean they are no longer required to be present here for the entire proceedings.
There are at least three (3) stages of the proceedings when the presence of the petitioner is required, namely: a) collusion investigation, b)pre-trial, and c) direct testimony. During these stages, the petitioner must appear before the court; otherwise it may lead to the dismissal of the petition. Although these are the only three stages required by law, there may be times when the court would still mandate the presence of the petitioner.
If however, the petitioner is really unavailable during the hearing date set by the court, then his or her representative may file a motion to archive the case and simply move for its reopening when the petitioner’s arrival becomes certain.
So in conclusion, even if it is possible to file a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage for Filipinos abroad, their attendance is still necessary for the case to proceed.
To know more about this topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org:8888/dlaw or call Atty. Joyce Domingo at +632-8231090 or +639175220680.