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NAME: Enriquez, Ephraim T.

I. Lavadia vs Heirs of Luna (2014)


II. Foreign Divorce
III. DOCTRINE
Divorce between Filipinos is void and ineffectual under the nationality rule adopted by
Philippine law. Hence, any settlement of property between the parties of the first marriage
involving Filipinos submitted as an incident of a divorce obtained in a foreign country lacks
competent judicial approval, and cannot be enforceable against the assets of the husband
who contracts a subsequent marriage.

IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS


V. Atty. Luna, a practicing lawyer, married Eugenia in 1947. Their marriage begot seven
children. After two decades of marriage, Atty. Luna and his wife agreed to live separately as
husband and wife, and executed an Agreement For Separation and Property Settlement”
whereby they agreed to live separately and to dissolve their conjugal property. On January
2, 1076, Atty. Luna obtained a divorce decree of his marriage with Eugenia from the
Dominican Republic. On the same day, he married Soledad. In 1977, Atty. Luna organized a
new law firm with several other lawyers. The new law office thru Atty. Luna obtained a
condominium unit which they bought on an installment basis. After full payment, the
condominium title was registered in the names of the lawyers with pro-indivisio shares.
When the law office was dissolved, the condominium title was still registered in the names
of the owners, with Atty.Luna’s share fixed at 25/100. Atty. Luna established a new law firm
with Atty. Dela Cruz. After Atty.Luna’s death in 1997, his share in the condominium unit, his
law books and furniture were taken over by Gregorio, his son in the first marriage. His
25/100 share in the condominium was also rented out to Atty. Dela Cruz. Soledad, the
second wife, then filed a complaint against the heirs of Atty. Luna. According to her, the
properties were acquired by Atty. Luna and her during their marriage, and because they had
no children, 3/4 of the property became hers, 1/2 being her share in the net estate, and the
other half bequeathed to her in a last will and testament of Atty. Luna. The RTC ruled
against her, and awarded the properties to the heirs of Atty. Luna from the first marriage,
except for the foreign law books, which were ordered turned over to her. Both parties
appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals modified the RTC judgment by
awarding all the properties, including the law books to the heirs of Atty. Luna from the first
marriage.

VI. ISSUE
Whether or not the divorce decree between Atty. Luna and Eugenia was valid, which will
decide who among the contending parties were entitled to the properties left behind by
Atty. Luna.

VII. RULING
No, divorce between Atty. Luna and Eugenia was void and ineffectual under the nationality
rule adopted by Philippine law. Hence, any settlement of property between the parties of
the first marriage involving Filipinos submitted as an incident of a divorce obtained in a
foreign country lacks competent judicial approval, and cannot be enforceable against the
assets of the husband who contracts a subsequent marriage.
Given the subsistence of the first marriage between Atty. Luna and Eugenia, the
presumption that Atty. Luna acquired the properties out of his own personal funds and
effort remained. It should then be justly concluded that the properties in litis legally
pertained to their conjugal partnership of gains as of the time of his death. Consequently,
the sole ownership of the 25/100pro indiviso share of Atty. Luna in the condominium unit,
and of the law books pertained to the respondents as the lawful heirs of Atty. Luna.