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Is an Alberta Divorce Recognized in the Philippines?

Alberta Divorce  vs Philippines Annulment

You may get a divorce in Alberta if you were married in the Philippines provided you or your spouse have been ordinarily resident in the Province of Alberta for at least 12 months prior to filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce.  However, your divorce may not be recognized in the Philippines if one of the spouses is not a Canadian Citizen when the divorce in Alberta has been obtained.  This may not be a concern for the spouse residing in Canada if:

  1. They never intend to re-marry in the Philippines;
  2. They are not concerned whether the divorce is recognized in the Philippines; or
  3. They are not concerned that a spouse residing in the Philippines may still have to go through an annulment if he or she wants to remarry in the Philippines.
Married in the Philippines?

Married in the Philippines?

To put it another way, if neither you nor your spouse are Citizens of Canada when a divorce in Canada is obtained, then the divorce may not be recognized in the Philippines.  If this does not concern you, then you can go ahead and get a divorce in Canada.  But, if you intend to remarry in the Philippines, you either need to wait to be a Canadian Citizen before getting a divorce or get divorced in Alberta and apply for a Philippine Annulment at a later date.

Immigrating to Canada

If you intend to immigrate to Canada (ie. obtain permanent residency or Canadian Citizenship) and do not wish to include your current spouse in your application (ie. you intend to divorce), you might be required to file for a divorce.  Though it may not be absolutely mandatory, an application for Divorce supports the fact that you are separated and do not intend to sponsor your spouse to come to Canada at a later date.  This helps you avoid having to include your spouse in your application and having to obtain medical exams and criminal record checks for your spouse.

Children Residing in the Philippines

The Courts in Alberta (or anywhere in Canada) do not have the authority to grant an enforceable order in Alberta pertaining to children living outside Canada.  There may be an exception, for example, if children with status in Canada (ie. Canadian Citizens) are subject to unlawful abduction in accordance with International and/or Canadian Laws.  You would need to seek legal advice to determine if an enforceable order can be obtained in Canada.  However, if you have dependent children, ordinarily they still have to be declared in the divorce application, but a special request will have to be made requesting the application be silent with respect to custody, access and child support.

What do I need to get started?

If you are wanting to start a divorce, be sure to collect the following:

  1. Details about your spouse (date of birth, place of birth, current address/phone numbers/email).
  2. Photograph of your spouse may be required.
  3. Marriage Certificate
  4. If there are children:  your latest Canadian Tax Return plus recent paystub
  5. If your spouse is in Canada:  his/her latest Canadian Tax return plus recent paystub

NOTE: please let us know if you are unable to obtain some of the above information and we can explore alternatives.

How do we serve a spouse outside of Canada

  1. In an ideal situation, if your spouse is outside Canada and provided he/she will cooperate, please email him or her asking if he/she is willing to accept papers for divorce by email or private facebook message. Print this email. If your spouse sends you a message back then print this email or message and we’ll use this to obtain an order for you to serve your spouse by email or private facebook message.
  2. Alternatively, we may need to get an order to serve your spouse by registered mail or have a third party deliver the papers to him/her directly.  We normally need a photograph of your spouse if he/she is being personally served.

NOTE:  please let us know if one of the above serving options is not likely to work with your spouse and we will explore alternatives.

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Can I Get a Divorce in the Philippines?

As far as I know, you cannot get a divorce in the Philippines.  I believe you have to get an annulment OR a legally recognized divorce outside the Philippines (as described above) if you wish to remarry in the Philippines.  I’ve heard it can take 3 to 5 years and cost several thousand dollars to obtain an annulment in the Philippines.

 Other Information:

Check out this blog from a Philippine Lawyer:

http://pinoytimes.ca/2009/12/business/effects-foreign-divorce-philippines/

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DISCLAIMER:  laws change.  The information in this blog may not apply to your specific situation and is based upon general research by the author.  Therefore, there is no guarantee that the information is accurate or that it applies to your specific situation.  You may wish to obtain independent legal advice from a lawyer qualified to advise you on the above, prior to seeking a Divorce in Alberta.

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