TN 31 (08-05)
GN 00307.770 Termination of Marriage in the Philippines
Absolute divorce was permitted in the Philippines from at least March 11, 1917 to August 30, 1950.
Tribal and Muslim custom provided for divorce but Philippine law did not recognize such divorces granted before June 4, 1930.
2. Remarriage after Desertion by Spouse of a Prior Marriage
Prior to August 4, 1988, Philippine law provided that if one spouse has been absent for 7 consecutive calendar years at the time of the remarriage and the deserted spouse had no news of the absent spouse being alive, the first marriage was presumed dissolved. No judicial declaration of annulment or dissolution was needed.
This law was changed effective August 4, 1988. A subsequent marriage shall not be null and void if before the subsequent marriage takes place, the absent spouse has been absent for 4 consecutive years and spouse has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse is dead. The four-year period can be reduced to two years in cases involving presumptive findings of death of the absent spouse.
Absent information to the contrary, SSA accepts an allegation of the termination of a prior marriage by:
Allegations that a prior marriage terminated by divorce or annulment (other than as cited in GN 00307.770A.2 for desertion) in a country other than the U.S. must be supported by documentary evidence.
1. Desertion Cases
If a claimant alleges a prior marriage ended by desertion in the Philippines, develop the following:
the date/time and the circumstances of the desertion;
that the deserted spouse had no information about the absentee spouse being alive or in the case of a remarriage after August 4, 1988, the basis for the deserted spouse's belief that the absent spouse was dead; and
the length of the absence.
2. Custom Divorce
Submit questions on the validity of a remarriage after August 3, 1988 for a legal opinion as explained in GN 01010.800.