Divorce in the Philippines is Not Possible – What Can Be Done Instead? (Legal Information)
Divorce in the Philippines is prohibited for the vast majority of the country’s citizens, for religious reasons. As a result, problems arise among many Filipino citizens in Israel who are interested in regulating their legal status as spouses of Israeli citizens or residents. In this article, an immigration lawyer explains about the complicated legal situation regarding divorce in the Philippines and the possible solutions.
The lawyers at our firm in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv specialize in immigration to Israel. Our firm has extensive experience in regulating the legal status of foreign spouses, including Filipino citizens, and in representing them before the administrative and judicial courts in Israel and in their country of origin. A unique collaboration initiated by our firm with a leading firm in Manila allows us to find creative solutions for Filipino citizens who are spouses of Israelis, and to work both with the Philippine authorities and with the Population and Immigration Authority in Israel to regulate their legal status.
Why Do Most Married Filipino Citizens Have Difficulty Regulating Their Legal Status in Israel?
To obtain legal status as foreign spouses of Israeli residents or citizens, the spouses must file a joint-life application with the Population and Immigration Authority. This is problematic for Filipino citizens who have married in their country of origin, because divorce is not possible today in the Philippines given the strict religious laws in the country. There are two possible solutions for this – declaring the couple as separated in the Philippines or filing a petition to have the marriage void. Both solutions are complex and require a great deal of legal expertise, as well as various courses of action with the authorities in the Philippines and Israel.
Why Is It Almost Impossible to Get Divorced in the Philippines?
The Philippines is dominated by Catholic religion. The legal situation in the country in terms of marriage is somewhat similar to the situation in Israel, in the sense that there is extensive religious control over the marriage institution. The law in the country is greatly influenced by religious law – in this case, Christian Catholic law. Just as in Israel there is a problem of Get (Jewish divorce) refusal, stopping the refused spouse from being able to remarry, so in the Philippines there is a similar problem, but a more serious one. The law simply does not allow Christians (who make up over 90% of the country’s population) to divorce.
Solutions for the Purpose of Regulating Legal Status
Because Filipino citizens who have married in the Philippines cannot get divorced, they must find other creative solutions if they wish to enter a marriage relationship in Israel. One of the main solutions for this is regulating legal status according to the procedure applicable to informally married couples, which is explained in another article on our website. However, many couples are interested in formal marriage, so this solution is not suitable for everyone.
Also, it is important to understand that regulating the legal status of informally married couples may require a more complex and lengthy procedure than regulating legal status through the procedure applicable to formally married couples. It is also possible that the Israeli authorities will require proof that the spouse’s previous marital relationship in the Philippines has ended. That is, even in this case, it will usually be necessary to register the spouse’s marital status in the Philippines as officially separated / single.
Couples wishing to marry will generally be required to file a petition to have the spouse’s previous marriage void in the Philippines. This requires applying to a Filipino court. In light of the many inquiries that our office has received on the subject, we have begun to provide a special service, in which we assist couples in proceedings for making their marriage void in the Philippines. This is done in collaboration with a leading firm based in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. This cooperation enables our firm to comprehensively address the issue with the authorities in Israel and the Philippines simultaneously. By doing so, we can assist couples throughout all stages of the procedure.
Contact an Immigration Lawyer
In this article, we have explained the complexity of legally divorcing in the Philippines, which is necessary for Filipino citizens who are spouses of Israelis and who wish to regulate their legal status in Israel. For any further questions or assistance in filing a registration of informal marriage and regulating the legal status of spouses from the Philippines, you can contact our office. An immigration lawyer from our firm will be happy to provide a detailed answer on the subject. Our law firm specializes in immigration to Israel. The lawyers from our firm have extensive experience in legally assisting foreign spouses throughout the stages of regulating their legal status in Israel.