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Alice Reyes Van Dorn vs. Hon. Manuel V. Romillo, Jr.

G.R. No. L-68470; October 8, 1985


FACTS:
Petitioner Van Dorn, a Filipino citizen, and private respondent Richard Upton, a US citizen,
married in Hongkong in 1972. After the marriage, they established their residence in the
Philippines. In 1982, the parties were divorced in Nevada, United States.
Private respondent filed civil case against Van Dorn stating that the Galleon Shop,
petitioners business in Ermita, Manila, is a conjugal property. Private respondent then asks that
petitioner be ordered to render an accounting of said business and that the former be declared
with right to manage the conjugal property.
Petitioner contends that respondent is estopped from claiming the alleged conjugal
property because their marriage has already been divorced. Respondent, for his part, asserts
that the Divorce Decree issued by the Nevada Court, a foreign court, cannot prevail over the
declared national policy of the Philippines which prohibits divorce.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not the Nevada divorce is recognized by the Philippine laws and is thus
valid.
HELD:
Yes. Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that only Filipino nationals are covered by the
policy against absolute divorce, as it is considered contrary to the concept of public policy and
morality. Aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines,
provided they are valid according to their national law. In this sense, the Philippine laws
recognize the validity of the Nevada divorce since as an American citizen, private respondent is
bound by the Decision of his own countrys Court which validly exercised jurisdiction over him.
Therefore, private respondent cannot sue petitioner and cannot lay claim on the alleged
conjugal property, as the former is no longer the husband of the latter.