FAQS About Public Defenders

When you are learning about public defense, the first question you are likely to ask is, “What is a public defender?” So let’s not waste anytime answering this question, and many more frequently asked questions about public defense lawyers. A public defender is a criminal defense lawyer that works for the state and paid by the government. They provide free legal representation to defendants that are facing criminal charges that are punishable by jail time. Continue reading to read more common questions and answers just like this one!

Do Defendants Have to Pay for a Public Defender?

No, clients do not pay. However, a judge must decide that a defendant qualifies for public defense before one is appointed to them. In cases that a person is fully capable of paying for a private representation, they may be denied state assistance.

Is a Public Defender Less Qualified Than a Regular Criminal Lawyer?

No, both public defenders and private criminal attorneys are equally qualified in terms of education requirements, certifications, and licensing. The only difference is the level of skills and experience of each person.

Should I Use Public Representation or Hire My Own Lawyer?

Although public defenders are equally qualified doesn’t mean they are the most promising option for defense. Since they work for the state, their case loads are extremely rigorous and overflowing. This means they only have a limited amount of time to spend on each case. A private attorney can provide personalized representation to ensure you avoid the maximum penalties if convicted of your charges. Whether you are facing a petty charge like shoplifting, or a major charge like manslaughter, private counsel is the best choice, no matter the price. You can’t put a price on freedom, after all.

Can a Public Defense Lawyer Reject My Case?

If you are indigent and cannot pay your bills as they come due, it would be both unethical and illegal to have your case rejected since it is a violation to your Constitutional rights. Although a case can be handed over from one lawyer to another, it cannot be rejected and ultimately “skipped over” or denied. A person who is entitled to free representation will get it, no matter what.

Can I Request a New Lawyer?

If you are found to be eligible for state defense, you will be assigned a lawyer by the court. If this lawyer does not meet your expectations or recover the plea arrangement that you wanted, you do not have any options. Unless you can prove to a judge that your current lawyer is somehow violating your right to adequate representation, you cannot switch or be appointed a new one. Inadequate representation includes scenarios like missing appointments, failing to meet deadlines, forcing you to a certain plea, not informing you of case status and court dates, and ignoring critical evidence. And if you choose to appeal your conviction, you must hire private representation anyway, so asking to switch at that point wouldn’t be necessary.

Information About Hip and Pelvis Injury Compensation

The hip is a joint that connects our upper leg bones to our pelvis, giving us mobility. Our hip and pelvic bones are constantly at work for us, even when we are sleeping. Whether managing your everyday responsibilities or relaxing after they’re done, your hips are always playing a role in what you are doing with your body. They are a major component to your body’s overall stability, comfort, and physical capabilities. This explains why injuries to these areas are often very inconvenient and extremely painful.

Although most common in elderly patients, young to middle-aged adults and children can also be at risk for pelvic and hip injuries if they are involved in a serious accident. The most common types of accidents that cause severe pelvis and hip injuries include motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and even bicycle accidents. When a person is injured in such an accident as a result of another person’s carelessness, they are likely eligible for legal compensation. At this time, it would be in their best interest to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer for help with filing a claim against a wrongful party. They will develop an impactful case to profile the type of injuries their client suffered, and how it has negatively affected their overall health and quality of life. This will be the foundation of determining the amount of compensation that should be paid to the victim for their losses and damages.

Types of Pelvic Injuries

There are several types of hip and pelvic injuries, all of which are generally accompanied by muscle bruising and ligament sprains as well. They are all extremely painful, and can restrict a person’s mobility for months on end depending on the severity of the damage. Here are some of the most common hip and pelvic injuries seen as a result of negligent accidents:

Dislocations

Hip dislocations occur when an impact causes the ball-shaped head of the femur bone to come out of the cup-shaped acetabulum set in the pelvis. They are a very common injury among slip and fall victims, and victims of traffic accidents. It is unimaginably painful, and renders a victim immobile instantly. It can also cause nerve damage, resulting in numbness of the leg, foot, and ankle.

Hip Sprains

Hip sprains are serious muscle tears in the ligaments that support the hip joint. They occur when the ligaments are stretched past their limit and tear. This type of injury is tremendously painful, and can also result in bruising and swelling of the hip and pelvic area. It can take several weeks to heal, during which mobility is mostly restricted. Slip, trip, and fall accidents are common causes of hip sprains, but they also occur regularly in vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.

Pelvic Fractures

Pelvic fractures are among the most serious hip and pelvis injuries a person can sustain. This is because they have the potential to seriously change a person’s life forever. Some pelvic fractures comes with life-long consequences, or permanent complications. If the injuries are not permanent, they are still extraordinarily painful and are accompanied with months, or even years, of rehabilitation and healing. Painful physical therapy, loss of mobility, long-term medical care, and more are just a few circumstances a patient will face after fracturing their hip. Since the reproductive organs are in this area, more serious pelvis fractures can cause infertility, impotence, and sterility.

Hip Bursitis

One of the most common causes for hip pain, hip Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between muscle tissues by providing a gliding surface. Although most cases can be treated at home with proper care and pain medication, they are very painful and can takes weeks or months to heal completely.

If you or someone you love has recently suffered a pelvic or hip injury as a result of a serious accident, call a licensed personal injury attorney to file a no-risk, no-fee claim. They have the proper resources and knowledge to effectively navigate your case and recover the fair amount of compensation you deserve.

Common Bail Bond Questions and Answers

There is a lot to know about bail and bail bonds. Many people are very unfamiliar with the difference between the two, and the details of the industry and the services they offer. Fortunately, you have resources like these to help you understand what bail bonds are, what a bail bondsman does, and how to obtain bail in your time of need. In this article, we will cover plenty of frequently asked questions regarding the bail bonds industry, arrest warrants, getting out of jail, and more. Continue reading to learn about all of these topics, and more, when it comes to the indemnity industry.

What is Bail? What are Bail Bonds?

Bail bonds are formal documents that allow a release from jail for a person being detained on suspected charges or crimes. Bail is the amount of money or surety set by the courts. These amounts differ for everyone; depending on the crime, a person’s criminal history, and more. Once bail is set, a bail bond can be obtained so that a person can be temporarily released from jail to await their following court hearing at home.

What is a Bail Bondsman? How Much is a Bail Bond?

A bail bondsman, or bail agent, is the individual who operates a service that provides bail bonds for people who need to turn themselves into authorities, or need a release from jail. They operate by lending, or covering, the bail amount for those who cannot afford the entire fee upfront, in exchange for a non-refundable fee. Bail can be set as low as a few hundred dollars for minor infractions, and some in the high-thousands.

To get out of jail, a person has the option to pay this money as a deposit to the court, and then receives this money back when they show for their scheduled court hearing. The issue is that not everyone has this type of cash on hand, and cannot afford to pay the courts these amounts to get out of jail. This is where a bail bond agency comes in handy. They will pay the entire bail amount for you, in exchange for a fee.

These fees are regulated by the state, so bail bondsmen can only charge between 10-15% of the person’s total bail amount. So if a person’s bail is $5,000, they would pay a bail agency $500-$750 for bail. They do not get this money back. They are also obligated to sign a contractual agreement promising their return to court. If a defendant obtains a bail bond, then skips their court date, the bail bondsman does not get that money back. This is when they come for you.

Are Bail Bondsmen Bounty Hunters?

Bounty hunting is not a real vocation, and bail bondsmen are nothing of the sort. If a person skips bail, the bail bondsmen will simply track them down with the information they have, and give police a heads up on the whereabouts of a fugitive. They do this in order to get their bond money back. They will send police to your home, office, work, daycare, gym, friend’s house, and any other place they think you may be. Before they come looking for the fugitive, they will contact the person who signed for the bail contract, and pursue recompense from them. Since most individuals do not wish for their loved ones to get stuck paying thousands of dollars, most people choose to show up for court. An arrest warrant is issued for anyone who skips a court date, so police can arrest them anywhere at any time; such as routine traffic stops, the BMV, the post office, border crossing, and more.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Divorce?

Many couples debate whether they need a divorce attorney when mediation is required by the courts. It is recommended, at minimum, consulting with a family law attorney about your options and what is best course of action for your case no matter how well you and your ex-spouse get along.

Below you will find just a few examples of the aspects you need to consider if you are debating whether you should hire an attorney for your divorce:

  • If you have many complicated assets to divide up. If you have accumulated various expensive marital property, you should consider hiring a lawyer. You will want to have a lawyer present if you have complicated possessions you are dividing, like businesses, numerous vehicles, and real property.
  • If your spouse is prone to lying. If your former spouse is known to lie, it could become difficult when it is your word versus theirs in a hearing or mediation session. If they are spreading false information about you, or lying in the courtroom, you need a lawyer on your side to protect your interests.
  • If violence or abuse is ever involved. If any abuse is present, whether it’s related to children, substance abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, or any other form, you should always hire an attorney. Not only will the abused spouse not be able to negotiate properly for fear of manipulation or further abuse, but a family law attorney can help take the appropriate steps to protect you and your family.
  • If your spouse has hired an attorney. Your spouse may choose to hire a lawyer to represent themselves at the last minute. We see attorneys appear at hearings and mediation with little to no notice to the unrepresented spouse. If your spouse decides to have representation, you should as well. It will be difficult to make your case against a family law attorney, even if you believe you have a clear and reasonable argument.

There is so much at stake! If you are going through divorce and you are debating on whether you need to hire a divorce attorney, call and speak to a family law firm you trust in your area. An experienced attorney should answer the questions you have, discuss your options and your particular case to help you understand your options during divorce. A skilled lawyer may be an invaluable asset to protect your and your family interests.

Ensuring That You Own Your Content’s Copyright

You have been a prolific writer for your business for a long time and, of course, just like all other writers, you use sources to back up the facts that you write in your content. Of course, there is no reason for you to assume anything other than the fact that you own the copyright of all of the content that you are writing.

Sometimes the line is obscured

If you own the copyright on specific content (including graphics, videos, etc), that means that you can do anything that you wish with that content. After all, it belongs to you. On the other hand, if someone else owns the copyright on the content, you are severely limited from doing what you want with that content. That means that you can’t recycle the content and use it over and over again, you can allow other people to post the content on their websites (for increased exposure and a wider reach), and you can’t touch the images (making them smaller, larger, wider, narrower). Your hands are tied in that case. However, you may not always understand when it is appropriate (legally and ethically) to alter the content in any way and when you really need to be hands off.

You probably have an accurate sense that you can’t just find a graphic image online, copy it, and embed it in your content. That is just common sense. If you use any portion of someone else’s content (words), you probably realize that you must give the author credit for what he or she has written. However, the copyright goes far beyond that. It is extremely important for you to understand the basics of copyright and how that applies to you and to your business. If you don’t pay attention to what you are allowed and not allowed to do, you may get yourself into trouble (legally and financially speaking). There are some concepts that will benefit you if you at least have a working knowledge of them. Hopefully, they will not actually apply to you at any time but being aware is very important for you.

  • Have a licensing agreement, including an invoice: That is an invoice from the person who owns the copyright. If you plan to use material of which someone else owns the copyright, you will probably need to pay that person (or that entity) some money. There may be rare occasions in which the person or entity will not charge you money but you need to have a written agreement between you so that you don’t get into trouble.
  • Lawsuit as a result of copyright infringement: This is a lawsuit that occurs in a federal court. The person or entity doing the suing is the owner of the copyright. The lawsuit will make demands, such as your eliminating all of the copyrighted material from wherever you have posted it online. You will also (most likely) be expected to pay some amount of money (damages) and there is also the potential that you will be asked to pay the lawyers’ fees.
  • Cease-and-desist communication: This is a communication (usually in the form of a letter) from the person who owns the copyright telling you that you must delete their content from wherever you have posted it.
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice: This is a notice that refers to the act on behalf of the copyright owner. It is sent to your web hosting service. It will insist that your web hosting service disables any access to wherever the copyrighted content appears.

The disturbing thing about this situation is that, depending on the whim of the copyright owner, you may end up paying in any number of ways. It might be minor but it might be major as well. You may be notified of the copyright violation in stages. If you respond immediately after you receive the first notice, you may get lucky and after doing whatever is demanded of you, that will be the end of it, as long as you never do it again. However, if you continue, the consequences will probably get more and more severe. You will need to tread lightly in this situation and do whatever you need to do quickly if you want to escape relatively unscathed.

Educate yourself about your rights

When you first write a piece of content, you need to make sure that you take all measures to ensure that you never run into these types of problems that are described above. If you don’t happen to be the one creating the content, you need to make sure that you get the other person to assign copyright ownership to you. It is critical that you have it in writing. The best thing to do is to have a written contract between you and the other person. Hopefully, in that case, there will be no question about anything. If you want the creator to be able to benefit from the content, it is safest to put that into the contract as well. The sorts of things that you will want to put into the contract are: exactly what is being created, how revisions are handled, deadlines and consequences if those deadlines are not met, the payment schedule, who will own the copyright, and who will be responsible for the consequences if the copyright is violated. If you have a long-term relationship with that person, you will probably find that you will need to revise your contract over time.

Conclusion

Copyright ownership may not have been something that you thought about very often (or at all); however, you need to have it in mind all of the time and be cognizant of doing the right thing. If you don’t, the consequences will probably not be pleasant. You need to protect your reputation and your bank account at all times. Copyright laws are very complicated and you may not even realize that you are violating any of those laws. However, you need to be aware of what you are doing and make sure that you don’t continue to violate any copyright laws. Interestingly, there are a few situations in which you don’t need to get permission from the copyright owner of the content. You should do the research and determine when those rules apply, which will ease the burden a little bit. Undoubtedly, you were not aware that you were doing anything wrong. However, once you are aware, you need to make sure that you do everything by the book.

Estafa Vs B.P.22 – What Is the Difference?

We’re pretty sure there’s a point in time that you became party to a transaction, either as payee or payer. Of course as payee, receiving cash is much preferred as you are sure that your payment was given to you in full sans any further action needed from your end. Now as payer, issuing a check is so much more convenient, especially for substantial transactions, as you would not have to worry about bringing cash and making sure that all your expenses are accounted and debited for, up to the last centavo.

It’s great if all transactions went smoothly without any hitch. However, with both parties making and receiving payment all in good faith. But what if you were conned by someone you had the mistake of trusting? Or what if you issued a check as a show of good faith to close out on a deal but at the time of issuance, the account has insufficient funds and you made a mental note to replenish the account as soon as you got paid. Alas, you then notice that your check bounced.

The above instances had surged over the years and has caused an unfortunate chain reaction which prompted the filing of either or both the following cases: Estafa and Violation of Batas Pambasa (BP) 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law.

Estafa Through Issuance of Unfunded Checks
The crime of Estafa is punished under the Revised Penal Code. One can be held guilty for Estafa by means of issuing a bouncing check with the use of false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:
“By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check. (Article 315(2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 4885)”

How can a person be held guilty for Estafa?

Under the RPC, the following elements are necessary to hold a person guilty of Estafa:

  1. Postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued
  2. Insufficiency of funds to cover the check, and
  3. Damage to the payee thereof.

The most important element here is the damage caused. Absent any of the following elements, a person cannot be held liable for Estafa.

Case in point:

Andres owns and operates a trading good business and bought merchandise from Bonifacio and issued an unfunded check in consideration of the goods received.

In this scenario, Andres can be held liable for Estafa because he issued a check knowing it to be without sufficient funds to pay the items he bought from Bonifacio. The issuance of the bounced check here was with fraudulent intent.

Bouncing Checks Law (BP 22)
Unlike Estafa which has its basis under the RPC, BP 22 is enacted through a special law. A person can be charged for violation of BP 22 when he commits the following acts:

  1. Making or drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment;
  2. Having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.

How can a person be held guilty for Violation of BP 22?

Violation of BP 22 can be filed against any person when the following are present:

  1. Making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value;
  2. Knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment; and
  3. Subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.

Same with Estafa, the presence of all these requirements is important. Otherwise, the charge of BP 22 will not attach. Note that knowledge of insufficiency of funds is presumed when it is proved that the issuer received a notice of dishonor and that within 5 days from receipt thereof, he failed to pay the amount of the check or make arrangement for its payment. Additionally, in BP 22, good faith is immaterial. Meaning, the mere issuance of an unfunded check already consummates the crime.

Using the same example above, Andres can also be charged for Violation of BP 22, other than Estafa, because BP 22 cases also cover issuances of bouncing checks for value received.

Where does the disparity lie?

It is Estafa when, among others, you issue an unfunded check with fraudulent intent in consideration of something of value you received. Here intent is material and good faith may be used as a defense.

It is a case for Violation of BP 22 when you issue an unfunded check whether or not it is for an obligation you contracted prior to the issuance of the check or not. Simply put, you are liable for BP 22 whether you issue a check for a present or a past obligation.

Some Laws To Protect Your Automobile

People tend to face numerous issues with respect to their automobiles. Some of the most common problems that people face are:

  • Buying a defective car and getting refused a refund, fixing and replacement by the manufacturer.
  • After completing a final loan contract, you are asked to sign a new contract with higher down payment.
  • You are trapped with deceptive advertisements and you have been sold a more expensive car.
  • Dealer conceals optional add-ons and undervalues the trade-in during fixing of the deals.
  • Your car is repossessed without your consent by the creditor.

Know Your Rights

There are different laws that save the consumers from auto fraud. Here is a list of various laws and their scheme of protection.

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

This law is utilised when a contractor, warrantor or supplier denies complying with a service contract, written warranty or implied warranty.

State Repossession Laws

These laws state that:

  • Your car cannot be removed from a locked garage by the car repossession company without your consent.
  • You can put your car up in auction or you can pay the full money in order to buy back the car.
  • On paying repossession costs or reinstating your loan, you can get your car back in some states.
  • Your car must not be sold below market value.
  • You should be informed whether the creditor will put the car up for auction or not.

State Lemon Laws

Those cars are dealt by lemon laws that have been repaired many times for the same defect. Different states have different lemon laws.

  • Your car should be replaced or refunded by the manufacturer for a substantial defect after four tries.
  • Your car should be refunded or replaced for a safety defect after two tries.

Truth in Lending Act (TILA)

According to TILA, interest rates and other information regarding the loan should be disclosed by the lenders before processing a loan. You can get the best auto financing rate with the help of TILA.

Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAP)

You are protected by UDAP from deceptive, unfair and false acts including the false advertisements.

Contacting an Attorney

You should know about the following, if you want to contact an attorney.

Repair Record

Keep record of the timing of the car when it is out for service and keep track of the repair attempts. Every time you repair the car, do not forget to submit a dated and written list of problems to your dealer.

Notice Required

Before entitling to a replacement or refund, you must go through the notice requirement of your state.

Your Refund or Replacement

Ask the manufacturer for a replacement or refund only after confirming that your car is qualified as a lemon. You may have to go through arbitration if a valid arbitration program is incorporated into your written warranty, in order to get your replacement or refund.

Vehicle Tracking Laws

Real-time vehicle GPS Trackers have different laws that vary from state to state. Each state has a different law, so it is important to check with a lawyer to make sure that placement of the GPS won’t have any legal issues.

General laws

  • It is generally legal to use a GPS Tracker if you or the organization own the vehicle that is being tracked, or if you are the owner of the asset.
  • It is also usually legal if you are tracking your child that is under the age of 18.
  • Usually, it is legal to track a car or asset for legal repossession in the event of a loan or default.
  • It is usually illegal to use a tracking device if you are not the owner of the vehicle or if you are tracking a boyfriend or girlfriend in their own car.

Laws in the state of Florida

The state of Florida has tracking laws that can be different from other states.

Florida established a new statute that makes it illegal for somebody to place a tracking device unless you are the owner of the vehicle.

The exception to this law is a parent who is the sole guardian of a child, or if both parents consent to place a tracking device to monitor their child.

Another exception to this law is a person with a disability. This can include an Alzheimer’s patient or somebody suffering from dementia.

Using a GPS Tracker illegally in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor. This can lead to an excessive fine or up to six months of jail time.

It is very important to verify your state laws prior to placing the tracking device. Each state has unique laws so even though it may be completely legal in one state, it can potentially lead to jail time in another state.

The general rule of thumb is that if the vehicle is in completely in your name, you should be permitted to place a GPS Tracking device to monitor the vehicle. However, if you are placing the GPS Tracker on somebody else vehicle, it is most likely illegal and can result in a fine or possibly even jail time.

Again, these laws are state specific so it is very important to consult a lawyer prior to purchasing a tracking device. The laws are also constantly changing in every specific state in the U.S., and it is important to check your state laws before purchasing and activating any GPS Tracker.

If Traveling to Chicago, Know the Details of Chicago Traffic and Signal Rules

Chicago speed limits vary, and on most city roads it is 30 mph. however, the interstate highways, but for the congested areas accept a 55 mph speed limit. In Chicago at a red light turning right after stopping when there is no oncoming traffic is permitted, yet ensure there are no restrictions posted. In case of doubts, patiently wait for the green. Cameras are installed at most major city intersections to catch drivers running red lights and are the cause to other infractions. Chicago is filled with several one-way streets, particularly in and around, surrounding the Loop, so it is very essential to look for alert signs and also for other cars.

Likewise, the laws for drunk-driving in Illinois is quite strict. Anyone caught with.08 or more blood-alcohol content while driving will have automatically his or her license seized, besides will be issued a ticket. In fact, the home states authorities will also get notified. Drivers having Illinois driver’s licenses may have their licenses suspended on the first offense for three months.

Traveling to Chicago indicates following several rules and one is the passengers must wear seat belts and even children under the age eight may wear the strap in the child-safety seats. This city also does not permit using cellular phones handheld devices and is considered illegal while driving in the city. Of course these restrictions are not the same in the suburbs, it varies. There is a must for the headlights in case you are using the windshield wipers. In Illinois the radar detectors are legal.

Visiting Chicago is interesting, if you are ready to walk short distances. Most tourist attractions are close by that it can be covered by walking or you can use public transportation. But, if you wish to drive here, you must be prepared to accept the rules of Chicago. However Chicago is relatively easy to find your way around as it is logically laid out city. Although there is traffic jams in rush hours and is frustrating as in other large cities, yet you have to accept the fact that the traffic runs smoothly at most day times. Chicagoans are always ready for unexpected delays and one thing is definite that throughout the summer and spring months at least few downtown street or one major highway is sure to go under repair. That is the reason it is commonly told that Chicago has two seasons, construction and winter.

Driving in Chicago, make sure to take a spin along the stretch between the Museum Campus and North Avenue as it is truly stunning. However, do not miss out the posted driving rules. Be prepared always for some taxi occasionally to cut or made an unexpected turn without giving any signal. Generally, on seeing yellow light, the drivers here take speed and so hearing to honking is common, especially if you fail to make a mad dash prior to the light turning red. As expected, the parking price is at premium and street parking throughout downtown is limited for 2 hours, but get a ticket from nominated pay box and stick it to your dashboard.

Divorce 101 for Filipinos

Here’s a situation: A and B, both Filipinos, went to the United States to get married. After several years, marital troubles started to occur between the couple and after efforts at reconciliation failed, the two started to part ways. They figured that since they were married in abroad, they decided to get a divorce in the US.

Upon return to the Philippines, after obtaining a decree of divorce, A and B mutually divided their properties between them and went their separate ways. Now, here’s where it gets tricky: Apparently, A incurred debts after their ‘divorce’. And now creditors are after not just A’s properties but also that B’s, which left the latter distraught. Is this even possible? Yes.

First things first: Divorce is NOT applicable to Filipinos. Even if the couple successfully obtains a decree of divorce, the same is VOID in the Philippines. In effect, in the eyes of the law, the couple is still legally bound as husband and wife.

Art. 15, otherwise known as the Nationality Principle, of the New Civil Code provides:

Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.

Given this, the creditors may go after the property of B as the same forms part of the community property of with A. After all, they are still a married couple.

However, Divorce obtained outside the country, may, in certain instances, be recognized in the Philippines. How?

Article 26 of the Family Code, reads:

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.

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 have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

What makes this provision applicable to Filipinos are the presence of the following elements:

  1. That the there is a valid marriage between a Filipino and a foreigner.
  2. That the alien spouse obtains the divorce abroad and such decree capacitates him/her to remarry.

What if the Filipino later on became a naturalized foreign citizen, is this now applicable to him? It depends. In Republic vs. Orbecido III, the Supreme Court ruled that: “The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.”