Percy has been working as an Overseas Filipino Worker in South Korea for almost five years when he met Kim, a Korean national. He expressed his desire to stay permanently in South Korea and work without the need for contracts with a Philippine agency. Upon learning this, Kim offered Percy a deal: for 500,000 SKW, Kim will marry Percy so he can gain legal residency in South Korea.
Percy readily agreed to the deal. But instead of celebrating the marriage in South Korea, both of them decided to come to the Philippines and get married before a judge in Manila. In less than two months, Kim and Percy were married.
Unfortunately upon their return to South Korea, Percy was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was advised by his doctor to refrain from doing hard labor. He found it difficult to find a job without a valid medical clearance that is required in most office jobs in the city. In the end, he and Kim decided it would be best for Percy to stay in the Philippines while he undergoes treatment for his condition.
Back home, Percy realized that living permanently abroad may not be a good idea after all. Given his condition, he would rather be around his family who are ready and willing to take care of him while he is ill. He called Kim and told her that he will no longer be coming back to South Korea. Since Kim already received Percy’s full payment for their deal, she simply agreed with his decision and wished him well.
A few years later, Percy reunited with his childhood sweetheart and in a few months, both of them decided to get married. Thinking that his ‘marriage for convenience’ with Kim was invalid anyway, he went ahead and began preparing for his wedding. When he requested for a copy of his CENOMAR, he received a copy with the details of his previous marriage with Kim.
Apparently, a ‘marriage for convenience’ is valid for as long as it satisfied all the legal requisites of marriage. Both he and Kim were of legal age when they presented themselves before the judge, they were able to present all the required documents, and the marriage was celebrated by a duly authorized solemnizing officer.
Pero hindi naman namin mahal ang isa’t isa nung nagpakasal kami. Pinakasalan ko lang siya dahil sa citizenship ko sa South Korea.
According to the Family Code of the Philippines, the possibility that the parties in a marriage might have no real intention to establish a life together is insufficient grounds to nullify the union. Therefore, even if the reason for Percy and Kim’s wedding was merely for him to gain permanent residency in South Korea, Philippine laws still recognize their marriage as binding and legal.
Given all these, Percy might find it difficult to build a case for annulment against Kim.
This case is also applicable if the wedding between a foreign national and a Filipino was held abroad – for as long as all legal requisites in that country were fulfilled and the marriage was recognized as valid, Philippine laws will also consider the marriage valid and legal, even if the reason for getting married is merely for convenience.
There is no convenient way to end a marriage for convenience.