Hello & good day, my name is Stephanie Chua, I am a filipina, 52 years old.
I am writing because I need legal advice & I'm in a desperate situation. I tried writing lawyers about my problem here in florida, but I get short insufficient advices. Unfortunately I am not financially capable to hire a lawyer, so more to seek annullment in the Philippines.
I was married when I was 16 years old due to pregnancy, & unfortunately it's a fact that in the Philippines that when you get pregnant the only solution is to marry. So my x husband & I was pushed to marry by my mother & his parents (I never had the consent of my father to marry).
Throughout the 30 years of my very rocky marriage, we would separate all the time, this is due to his irresponsible ways. He was always out of work, a drinker, gambler, womanizer & a doper.
I have 4 children with him, which are all grown ups now. My eldest is already 35 & my youngest is 25, my children always knew that I stayed in the marriage for them. They knew that once I made sure they are all doing well in their own lives that I will leave their father & finally live my life.
When my youngest child went to dubai for work that was the time I left, knowing that I am done with my obligations to them as a mother.
I've been permanently separated from him for 5 years now.
Within the time I separated with him, my mother told me that she thinks my marriage is void from the beginning because my father never gave his consent to the marriage. I then inquired about it through the public atty. office in my city. He said it is also in our law, our Philippine family code chapter 3 art. 35, in which it is indicated that a marriage under the age of 18 even with parents consent are null & void.
Thou he also adviced me that I should seek for an annulment, I did not do it due to financial reasons.
After 2 years I met an american through a dating site, we fell inlove & he proposed to me asking me to come here in the U.S.. I had no problem coming here because I have an existing multiple entry visa for the U.S.
At first it concerned me on how I can marry him if I am still married to my x. So I downloaded a divorce papers & a consent to divorce paper & made my x sign it before I left the Philippines.
But I was not able to file it here because I needed to be a resident to be able to file it.
A cousin of mine that's been living here in the U.S. for 35 years adviced me just to get married because as she says law of other countries does not apply with the law in the U.S. & that my marriage is void anyways from my first husband. My mistake was I believed her & my husband & I married before my entry visa expires. Today we tried to file for my petition, unfortunately we found out we cannot file for it because I am still married to my x & the void law doesn't apply & I still need to annull my marriage from my x or divorce him.
I am not in the Philippines so how can I seek annulment from the U.S.. I have no financial capacity too to do that too, divorce is the best option but where & how can I get it?
Please, please help me, advice me please on what I need to do, I am lost, worried & scared.