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How do I defend against concubinage and adultery charges

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Arresto Menor
I am a US Citizen visiting my fiancee here in the Philippines. My ex-wife (US Citizen, Peruvian American) discovered that I am here and intending on marrying my fiancee. She has filed charges with the NBI for adultery and concubinage.

My fiancee is legally married and has not gotten her annulment at this point. We are planning on getting her annulment either through the fact that when she got married, her husband was going through a divorce with an American woman in the US and the divorce was not yet granted when they married. He hid this fact from my fiancee. He married her using his Filipino citizenship. After he married my fiancee, he abandoned her and left for the US. After a year, he married another woman in the US using his American citizenship.

My question is, how do we defend against the charges of adultery and concubinage? I live in her house, but in a separate bedroom. We have not been intimate at this time as she has an 11 year old son living with her.

I have been in the Philippines for almost 5 months now, legally extending my visa every two months.

We are really afraid of what can happen to us. Can my ex-wife file these charges in the Philippines? How do I protect my fiancee?

Thank you in advance for your help!!!

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when you say ex-wife, do you mean your marital bond has already been dissolved? whose marriage is being alleged in the adultery and concubinage charge? yours or your fiancee's?

under philippine law, adultery is the act of married woman of having sexual relations with a man other than her husband. concubinage is the act of a married man and his mistress living together or having sexual relations under scandalous circumstances.

both adultery and concubinage are private crimes. only your fiancee's husband can initiate the adultery charge. in the same way, only your wife can initiate a concubinage charge; but if you are already divorced then the charge will not prosper unless you committed acts while you were still married.

is your ex-wife in the philippines?

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Arresto Menor
My ex-wife came to the Philippines after I arrived. She went to the US Embassy and tried to get me deported. The US Embassy would not help her. She went to the Bureau of Immigration, trying to get me deported. The BI not told her that there was nothing that they could do, they also extended my visa. My ex-wife then went to the NBI. She has a paper from a law firm which states that I have no divorce records. But the letter from the law firm is not certified or notarized, only a letterhead.

My problem is that I did not bring my divorce records with me. The original intent was to meet my fiancee for the first time and see where it lead. In addition, I knew that she needed to get annulled and this would take 6 - 9 months.

How can the NBI check for my divorce status and make this go away?

The NBI said that I should not leave the country while they negotiate with my ex-wife. My problem is that I cannot get my divorce records as they are in a safety deposit box in the US.

My ex-wife was here for three weeks and on the next to last day, she filed the complaint with the NBI and left the country.

If I cannot leave the country, how do I defend myself? To request certified copies of a divorce record, you must go the courthouse, present ID, pay a fee, and then wait for at least 6 months for them to send you a certified copy.

What I would like to do, is to get the case moved to the US and fight it there. Is this possible?

And since the NBI told me that I should not leave the country (they did not take my passport), I am afraid if I leave, it will make me look guilty, later I cannot return to the Philippines, and my fiancee will be left to defend herself at all costs.

If my ex-wife cannot complain against my fiancee and only me, if I leave the Philippines, what happens to the charges/complaint?

My ex is referring against me.

One last thing, how can she, an American citizen (She was born in Peru and became a naturalized citizen) file a complaint against me here if I am a US Citizen? We are both foreigners here.

My fiancee and I live in the same house with her 11 year old son. I sleep in one bedroom and my fiancee sleeps with her son in the other bedroom. We have not been intimate as we are very religious and are waiting until she is annulled and we are married. So there has NOT been sexual intercourse.

Thank you so much in advance for your advice. I have read many responses and you are always right on target!!!

Last edited by BooBoo on Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:03 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : adding requested information)

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criminal law is territorial. you could not move a case outside of philippine territory.

obviously the adultery charges will not prosper because it is not your fiancee's husband who initiated the complaint.

on its face, the nbi has a complaint of concubinage initiated by the proper party but it is still just in the law enforcement investigation stage. technically, this is not the commencement of criminal proceedings which should be initiated by your wife.

is there no way to acquire the divorce decree? even a photocopy will do just to begin with. perhaps the bank will accept that you will authorize a friend or relative to open the safety deposit box for you to retrieve the document and bring it here. or is there something in the box like cash that would make this dangerous?

when a foreigner is going to marry in the philippines, he is required to produce a certificate from his government stating that he is capacitated to marry. perhaps you can request one from the US embassy. I just don't know whether you will be required to produce the divorce decree or they have a way of checking this independently. that certificate, to my mind, would be as good as the divorce decree for the nbi investigation.

if you can afford it and really wish to stay in the Philippines for now, i would recommend to you to get your own place for now if only to obviate the living together part.

the nbi has no right to get your passport, and unless a case is actually filed in the prosecutor's office, no order can be issued to keep you here. you can explore the option of going back to the USA, and defend yourself from there by issuing a sworn statement before the Philippine embassy or consulate which will serve as your counter affidavit, and maybe you can request also request that they certified that you showed them the original copy of the decree and a photocopy marked by them is a faithful reproduction.

i would not recommend dealing with the nbi without legal counsel.

oh, and i'm not always correct. i sometimes look back at my previous responses and feel the urge to modify them. another thing is that some posters have become my clients or directly contacted me through private messaging and it will normally turn out that there are details they failed to previously mention which changes the entire situation. but thanks for the compliment!

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Arresto Menor
Thanks for the quick response. In order to get the Legal Capacity to Marry from the US Embassy, you have to provide your divorce records. As we cannot marry at this time, I did not bring them with me as the Legal Capacity to Marry is only valid for a short period of time.

There are other documents and valuables in my safety deposit box and I have to authorize the bank in person to allow someone else access to the box.

If I leave the country, can I be put on a watchlist and not allowed to return? The US Embassy cannot help in finding the divorce records as they are a Federal government entity and divorce is handled at the state level.

What scared me the most is the NBI came to my fiancee's house, we went to the NBI, and the NBI attorney did a good job in scaring us very badly. The first thing I am glad is that my fiancee is protected from my ex-wife's complaint.

While there, the NBI attorney told my fiancee and me that I should not leave the country until this was resolved. That is why I am afraid to leave. Is this an empty request? This is only a complaint, in the investigative stage. The case has not been filed at this time. The NBI told us that my ex wants to forward the complaint to the court.

Can she still pursue the case when she is not in the Philippines or that we are both foreigners and visitors here?

My visa expires on Sept 18 and then I have to leave unless I extend again. The BI is willing to extend my visa again with no problems.

My main concern and fear is that if I leave, I cannot return. But it seems that if I leave while this is a complaint, then I am OK. What happens if I am outside of the Philippines and this is referred to the Philippine court? I want to settle this complaint as soon as possible.

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