My girl friend in the Philippines

My girl friend live in the Philippines and in a ‘common law’ marriage she left
her husband but he will not divorce I thought you did not need divorce in
common law she is moving to United States and we have plans to marry is this
legal or does she need a divorce?

Asked on June 12, 2016 under Family Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the Philippines legally recognizes common law marriage (which it apparently does, though you should confirm with an attorney who knows Filipino law), then it is treated the same as any other marriage. That means that yes, she would have to be divorced. "Common law" marriage, where it is legal, refers to how the marital relationship is formed; but once it is formed in a jurisdiction which recognizes it, it is treated as another other marriage and must be dissolved if/when it ends.

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