Philippine laws relating to marital status follow Filipinos wherever they may go.  Thus, as a rule, a married Filipino remains married even if a divorce is obtained abroad because divorce is generally not recognized in the Philippines. Luckily there is a limited exception for recognition of a foreign divorce decree which would allow a divorced Filipino to remarry.

Under the second paragraph of Article 26, Family Code of the Philippines, if a validly celebrated marriage between a Filipino and a foreigner is dissolved by a foreign divorce decree capacitating the foreign spouse to remarry, the Filipino spouse can also remarry. In other words, for the divorce to be recognized in the Philippines, the following conditions must exist: (1) the marriage was between a Filipino and a foreigner; (2) the marriage was dissolved by a foreign divorce decree; and (3) the divorce was obtained by the non-Filipino spouse.

This exception was created to address the anomalous situation in the past wherein a foreigner who divorces a Filipino can remarry under the laws of his or her country while the Filipino cannot remarry and remains married to the foreigner.  This discriminated against the Filipino spouse and puts him or her in a precarious situation.

Through the years, the Philippine Supreme Court has modified the above conditions in cases before it to more carry out the spirit and intent of the law.  Thus, in the 2005 Orbecido III case, the Supreme Court ruled that although the marriage was between Filipino citizens, if at the time of divorce one of the spouses became a citizen of another country that recognizes divorce, the divorce can still be recognized in the Philippines which will allow the Filipino spouse to remarry.

And in the more recent 2018 Manalo case, the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling by holding that even if the divorce was obtained by the Filipino spouse the benefits of Article 26 can still be enjoyed, thus overturning the well-established rule that it must be the foreign spouse who should obtain the divorce decree.

To enjoy the benefits of Article 26, a petition must be filed in a Philippine court for the recognition of the foreign divorce decree. In this petition, the divorce decree and foreign law on divorce must be proven showing that the foreign spouse can remarry.