• Assets acquired during cohabitation are shared equally

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    John and I lived together for almost 10 years. We purchased several pieces of property during that time. When I discovered that he was having an affair with his co-worker, I confronted him about this and we decided to part ways.

    My problem is he wants to get all the pieces of property that we have jointly purchased, because his share in the acquisition cost of these assets is bigger. Please help me.

    Dear Carla,
    The property regime of unions without marriage is governed by Article 147 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which states that:

    “When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of a marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.

    In the absence of proof to the contrary, [pieces of property]acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work and industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s effort consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.

    Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation.

    When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants, such share shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation.”

    It is clear from the above-mentioned provision of law that the pieces of property that you have acquired during your cohabitation shall be owned in equal shares. Your former live-in partner has no legal basis in getting all these assets just because his contribution in the acquisition cost is bigger.

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net


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