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Van Dorn vs Romillo

Van Dorn vs. Romillo


139 SCRA 139
FACTS:
Alice Reyes Van Dorn, a Filipino Citizen and private respondent, Richard Upton, a US
citizen, was married in Hong Kong in 1979. They established their residence in the
Philippines and had 2 children. They were divorced in Nevada, USA in 1982 and
petitioner remarried, this time with Theodore Van Dorn. A suit against petitioner was
filed on June 8, 1983, stating that petitioners business in Ermita Manila, the Galleon
Shop, is a conjugal property with Upton and prayed therein that Alice be ordered to
render an accounting of the business and he be declared as the administrator of the said
property.
ISSUE: Whether or not the foreign divorce between the petitioner and private respondent
in Nevada is binding in the Philippines where petitioner is a Filipino citizen.
HELD:
Private respondent is no longer the husband of the petitioner. He would have no standing
to sue petitioner to exercise control over conjugal assets. He is estopped by his own
representation before the court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.
Furthermore, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the
Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. Petitioner is not
bound to her marital obligations to respondent by virtue of her nationality laws. She
should not be discriminated against her own country if the end of justice is to be served.

139 scra 139


Nationality Principle Divorce
Petitioner Alice Reyes is a citizen of the Philippines while private respondent is a citizen
of the United States; they were married in Hongkong. Thereafter, they established their
residence in the Philippines and begot two children. Subsequently, they were divorced in
Nevada, United States, and that petitioner has re-married also in Nevada, this time to
Theodore Van Dorn.

Private respondent filed suit against petitioner, stating that petitioners business in Manila
is their conjugal property; that petitioner he ordered to render accounting of the business
and that private respondent be declared to manage the conjugal property. Petitioner
moved to dismiss the case contending that the cause of action is barred by the judgment
in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada Court. The denial now is the subject of the
certiorari proceeding.
ISSUE: Whether or not the divorce obtained by the parties is binding only to the alien
spouse.
HELD: Is it true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the
Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces
the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and morality.
However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the
Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. In this case, the
divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of
American Law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage.
Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband petitioner.
He would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioners husband entitled to
exercise control over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the decision of his own countrys
court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and whose decision he does not
repudiate, he is stopped by his own representation before said court from asserting his
right over the alleged conjugal property.

The petitioner is a Filipino citizen while respondent Romillo is an American


citizen. They married in Hong Kong in 1972 and after their marriage, established a
residence in the Philippines. The parties were divorced in Nevada in 1982 and now,
petitioner is married to Theodore Van Dorn. Respondent Romillo, Jr. Filed a suit against
petitioner in RTC Pasay stating that petitioners business in Ermita, Manila is conjugal
property of the parties and that the petitioner ordered to render an accounting of that
business and that the private respondent be declared with a right to manage the conjugal
property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the case of the action is
barred of the judgment in the divorce proceeding in the Nevada Court wherein the
respondent had acknowledged that he and the petitioner had no common property as of
June 11, 1982.
Issue:
Whether there is an effect of the foreign divorce on the parties and their alleged
conjugal property in the Philippines.
Held:
It is not necessary to determine the property relations between petitioner and
private respondent after their marriage, whether absolute or relative community property,

complete separation of property or any other regime. The pivotal fact in this case is that
the Nevada divorce of the parties that the Nevada Court obtained jurisdiction over the
petitioner and private respondent.