Divorce Guidance for a US Service Member


   I am a US Service member currently serving at my permanent station in Japan. My home of record and last physical address from when I was last in the US was North Carolina. Currently the situation is as follows:
  1. Me and my wife have been married in the Philippines. When i researched the Philippine laws it had this to say in regards to a divorce attained by foreign born spouses (in this case me since I’m American)

Is divorce allowed under Philippine laws?

Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38. (71a)

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. (n) (as amended by E.O. No. 227, dated July 77, 1987)

  1. She has been committing adultery since this past August 2011 and has moved out of her own free will from our marital home provided by the US Military (we do not own the house as it is property of the US Government). At what point would it be considered separated or would we require documentation specifying a date of separation? Also on this subject; if she returned for a brief 2-4 hours to gather her things and sleep with the intent of leaving again (in accordance with the US Military regulations i am unable to deny her to enter or force her to leave) would that be considered cohabitation and thus reset our time needed to be separate?

  2. What evidence would i require to prove adultary, (ie. pictures of the act itself or phone records, GPS location data with a date time stamps that correlate with how long she had been at a location)?

4… We were married on 28 June 2010, she was forced to stay in the Philippines since she was not eligible for the Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Japan. She arrived in Japan after she became eligible in 27 June 2011 which is also the date that she had arrived in Japan. Upon arriving we spent approximately 38 days of actual cohabitation before she began her adultery and moved out. Have we been married long enough for her to be eligible for any spousal support if adultery cannot be proven? By the time I am able to file for divorce will be 2 years and 2 months with no children.

  1. Currently I possess a clearance with the US Government; things like debt and police reports and various other things can put this in jepordy. I am wondering if there is any paperwork that I am able to do to exonerate me from being responsible for her actions like establishing credit lines and not paying, or any other actions of the such?

  2. As it is I currently live in Japan and am almost certain I will be unable to make it back to the US due to my job with in the US Military. Is there an alternate means of doing a hearing on Skype or a Video Tele-conference (VTC)? This is also because she is unable to go to the use as she does not possess a VISA to travel.

  3. Finally could I please get a price estimate of how much this would all be costing me if we do an uncontested divorce with no support required and all property acquired during the time of marriage split up prior to filing the divorce as well as an estimated time of completion if filed on the 4th of August?

Thank you

Matthew M

  1. I cannot advise you on on whether or not you can get divorced under Philippine law. In general, I would say to you that your marriage would likely be considered valid in North Carolina. If you have a valid marriage in a foreign country, then North Carolina will look to see if the marriage was valid under the laws where you married and if it is within our laws here. So, as long as your marriage does not violate our basic laws on marriage (for example, as long as you are not in a polygamous marriage), yes, your marriage should be valid here in North Carolina. Your home of record is NC since before being deployed so you should be able to pursue a divorce here.

  2. From those facts, it appears that your date of separation is August 2011. Her returning briefly to spend one night so that she could get some of her things does not reset the clock.

  3. Any evidence would be relevant, there are no requirements for what you must have. You just should present all evidence that you have. You do not need to show adultery at all though to get a divorce. This would be relevant though if she sought spousal support.

  4. With such a short marriage, I think alimony would be unlikely. If she did pursue it anyway, you can present evidence of her adultery as a defense to her claim so you won’t have to pay.

  5. The assets and debts of a marital estate are valued at the date of separation.

  6. No, but the best thing for you to do would be to hire an attorney to represent you in the divorce hearing. You need not be present at all. The attorney can appear on your behalf.

  7. You would need to schedule a consultation with my office to get specific pricing information tailored to your unique facts and circumstances. You can call our main number and dial extension 100 to speak with our client liaision to schedule an appointment. A general idea of our pricing can be found at: www.rosen.com/pricing. Assuming you don’t run into any issues with service, if you file for divorce in August it should become final sometime around September or October.

Good luck to you!