\ International & Philippine Marriage | Here's How to Tackle That - Sweet Elyse

International & Philippine Marriage | Here's How to Tackle That

The Philippines are a country that still doesn’t allow divorce and this has resulted in so many Filipinas and Filipinos looking into alternative methods. If you are not from the Philippines it may hard to comprehend the legalities of it all and the process in how it all works, especially with a clear cut marriage-divorce system in the UK and EU so hopefully, this guide will help you in resolving your inter border-separation.

Many Pinoys look elsewhere for marriage where possible, you see the dream that they have to escape their birth countries for a better life and many do find true and happy love. We know of many people who found love across borders and are happy together, mixing cultures and creating this beautiful love story. However, there are many marriages that never happen, why? This comes down to the divorce issue I discussed at the start. Many Pinoy’s married others within the Philippines and this means that when that marriage breaks down, they are literally stuck. 

That is unless they have a case for annulment, a few years of their time and a bag full of cash. Annulment is an expensive but legal process and the only way other than death to separate a married couple in that country.

That’s where under-the-table annulments come in. It’s a common but highly illegal process in PH and typically costs thousands of PHP to obtain, still very costly even for us Brits. If someone is opting to do this (at huge risk) then they will be given the following:

♥  Case notes including psychology evaluation relating to the reasoning for the annulment
♥  Certificate
♥  Certificate of authenticity
♥  Certificate of finality
♥  Annotated marriage certificate
♥  General registrar feedback (Tanggapan ng civil registrar)

These will advise which RTC branch the case was held in, the date, the parties and the civil case reference. In real annulments, the civil case reference number relates to the book it’s held in within the court system and can be easily cross-referenced if you take the correct route, or if external parties such as Governments or other legal establishments need to check for accuracy.

In good cases of false annulment, the fake certificate will be held in the NRO, many in-house workers do this on the side to make extra money, again hugely illegal but it keeps the fake certificate in the first checking office. Any establishment doing a bare-bones check will check here, or obtain a copy of the annotated marriage certificate and not question it which means many Pinoys get away with the false records.

However, if you are not from the Philippines and you marry a PH national then your marriage will be deemed legal ‘’if’’ it matches the laws within your home country. For example in the UK, you must not be related, you must not be forced into marriage, you must not have any impediment against you and you must be over the age of eighteen unless your parents agree to it. There’s also another stipulation that the UK and EU have in common and that is, you cannot marry someone ‘’if’’ they are already legally married. If someone is married and obtains a false annulment or a false divorce or basically any falsehood and then re-marries, the UK does not deem any marriage after the first to be legally grounding.

So, if you marry someone from PH who was married before and then obtains a false under the table annulment, from a UK perspective you are not married in the UK or EU. It wouldn’t fly here so regardless if you marry in any other country it does not subsist. But then where does that leave you as the PH NRO still think you’re married? You have a few options here…

1. You can file for annulment, the UK Embassy in PH host a few reliable solicitors who can help you out. If you earn under the income threshold they also take legal-aid. Enquire directly if you are worried about this. Filing for annulment means your solicitor can go to the court and file directly and if you have children, they can do an out of country annulment which stops you from having to physically go to PH. The only issue? It’s expensive and time-consuming. 

2. You can also find someone to do an under the table annulment, again it’s costly and comes with huge risks. There is no way that I personally recommend this option as two wrongs do not make a right. 

3. Doing things correctly is the best way. If you know that your marriage came after an illegally annulled marriage there are also easier ways to resolve that and I’ll discuss this separately below.

So, option three, it can seem like a real whirlwind especially if you’re out with PH. Let’s be honest here the organisations that you need to assist you aren’t easy to contact let alone get a response. It takes a lot of research and contacting and understanding of the PH systems (which aren’t all that different to the UK to be fair) to really know how to backtrack and resolve the issue of the fake marriage.

Do you have a copy of the original annulment documents? If so, there will be the Regional Trial Court number and city, the register number, the page number, the book number, the civil case number and the date filed on the documents. You will need these. What your goal is, prove from a reliable and legal source that the details are incorrect/not authentic/not legal. The UK want proof it’s not legal from a PH standpoint so that’s what we’ll give them.

What we know is that it’s ‘’only’’ the annotated marriage certificate and the fake documents that are falsified-but presumed real. We know for sure that no annulment process was ever done therefore there will be absolutely no case records held within the court system right? Because no case was ever heard at court. This is what you want to prove.

You can find out the RTC (regional trial court) contact details or request them from the local municipal hall relating to that RTC. For example, RTC 276, we contacted Muntinlupa Lingkod Bayan via email to request the direct contact for RTC 276 (this was the branch which hairy boys fake documents were ''apparently'' heard in civil court).

Draft yourself an email requesting if the civil case is held out of due-diligence, something like this will suffice, please change the purple sections to your own details:

Now be patient. What happens is the email is passed to the relevant ‘Atty’ (attorney) who then forward this to the relevant RTC who place a request. Now, these lovely folks have to search the civil case files relating to the details you’ve given them. In our situation, they checked from 2000-2020 just to ensure there was absolute without a doubt zero civil cases held with those details that had maybe been filed incorrectly. They literally checked twenty years’ worth and as guessed they noted there was no civil case file. To prove this they sent a certification to state such.

Now you have proof from the PH court system and also the email you obtain from the source. The Lingkod Bayan also refers this naturally to the Supreme Court of the Philippines who refer it to the RTC and is stated in the emails. So now what?

You now need the UK or EU to state that they deem the marriage to not subsist given the evidence. This is easy. Simply contact the National Records for your country via email, forward the email from the RTC Branch with the attached certificate. They will absolutely 100% scrutinise the document and the source so please, please, please do not falsify this. Once scrutinised they will advise that they either view it as being legal and subsisting or in our case, it is not legal and does not subsist.

To handle the PH issue you also need to forward all documents (under the table documents and new certificate as well as the UK response) to the Supreme Court/Lingkod Bayan and RTC branch as what they are holding is their PSA office is not accurate. From what I am aware and it may be a case-by-case basis here, they will decide whether to press with bigamy and falsification charges against those who initiated the original annulment (the party who had the annotated marriage certificate requested). You can also decide to file bigamy via a local solicitor but if you have your proof of not being married and are free to re-marry or simply be free of a bad marriage then that’s up to you.

My advice would be to let the universe decide the best course of action, you have the answer you need.


♥  Take the false annulment documents and note the details.
♥  Forward those specific details in a due-diligence email to the local Lingkod Bayan.
♥  The Lingkod Bayan will refer the case to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
♥  The Supreme Court of the Philippines will refer it to the correct Regional Trial Court
♥  The RTC will then action the request, checking all of the civil case files for the details pertaining to the annulment.
♥  They will respond via email usually with two attachments. One is typically a letter stating the case was referred by the Supreme Court and some further details and the second *hopefully* will be your certificate.
♥  If your certificate shows that there is no civil case file relating to the annulment, therefore the annulment is false and the original marriage subsists you need to forward this certificate, the email and any further details to your local National Records establishment (or county court) for scrutiny.
♥  They will respond telling you that it subsists or it doesn’t. If the UK deem it to not subsist then you are free to marry as in their opinion, you were never legally married. There was an absolute impediment that stopped your marriage being legal and that is, the partner is still legally married abroad.
♥  You can then forward the National Record scrutiny email along with the false annulment documents, any further details, the certificate showing no civil case file and original email to your local RTC branch as well as the Supreme Court. If you ask for confirmation of process, they will send you this.

And that’s it, folks. No need for expensive annulments, PH visits or solicitor fees. Due-diligence wins. Why fork out for an annulment and unnecessary fees to get divorced/annulled if you legally aren’t married? Seems a bit daft unless you are attempting to help out your ex in achieving a separation in their country also and even then, if you opt for a UK International divorce, it stills costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time and you’re relying on your ex-signing the papers and not contesting it. Some people do take this route, but sometimes the other party isn’t willing so in these instances distancing yourself is key.

Removing one barrier such as falsifications in marriage will allow you as an individual to take care of the rest – family, parenthood, other legal barriers etc. We wish you luck. If you have any questions drop us an email.

And breathe...

Elyse & Connor

Statement: Nothing to Disclose

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