Freedom and divorce
If you are worried about costs, I will ask you to consider what is more important: freedom or money? I am sure you have a friend who is a lawyer. Or you can seek the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines chapter nearest you. The Public Attorneys also render help for nullity petitions, as do the various legal aid offices of law schools.
I will try to answer the letter below that came in through the email. Keep those letters coming!
I have been reading most of your articles on the net and I find it very helpful to your readers. This time I think it's my turn to seek legal advice from you and I hope this will be granted by your kind heart.
In December of 1994 my wife went to the US as a tourist, I tried my best to be a father and mother to our only daughter when she extended her return trip to March 19, 1995 which was supposedly one month only as we have agreed. On her return I noticed so many changes particularly her obligation to me as my wife, then 3 days after her arrival my fears came into reality when she proposed for a separation.
My begs for explanation didn't work out as she is firm with her decision. I have no other choice but to leave her house since we are living with her mother. I contented myself of seeing my daughter only on weekends and it was really very painful sacrifice since they live in QC and I live in San Pedro, Laguna. I sacrificed everything for me to support my daughter and hope that one day things will be back to normal. However, my heartaches didn't end there, In February of 1996 my wife went back to the US and brought our daughter without my consent. She was able to secure the passport of my daughter by forging my signature. My life was devastated but I need to move on.
Today she is already married to an American and already a citizen by the US law. My very limited financial resources refrained me from fighting for my rights so I decided to let go and wish them the best.
Presently I have now 2 kids to a woman whom i think will stay with me for real. I just want to know how we can legalize everything for the sake of my loving children and girlfriend. I am not with speaking terms with my ex wife and I do not expect any cooperation from her. We hear mass every Sunday as a family but we're always bothered with our legal issues even in the eyes of our good Lord.
I hope you can give your best advice on this predicament.
You do not tell me whether your wife became an American citizen at the time her divorce against you became final. If so, you may go to court here to have that foreign divorce decree recognized so that you can re-marry. Your have to prove that the foreign divorce enabled your wife to remarry, and you have to prove that the law of the state allows divorce.
Alternatively, if you marry your present girlfriend abroad, that marriage is recognized everywhere, except the Philippines! I know, this is a ridiculous situation, but what can I say? When Government abdicates its role to priests, this situation is what we get.
Your ex-wife cannot sue you for anything as she initiated the divorce and, as far as she was concerned, the divorce freed her to remarry.
Finally, you may file a petition for nullity of marriage. You must go and see a lawyer as I do not know whether your first marriage was valid or not. There are many grounds for nullity, it is not just Article 36. If you are worried about costs, I will ask you to consider what is more important: freedom or money? I am sure you have a friend who is a lawyer. Or you can seek the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines chapter nearest you. The Public Attorneys also render help for nullity petitions, as do the various legal aid offices of law schools.
Please keep sending your letters in through [email protected]. Till next time.