• Community vs donated property

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My husband and I got married way back in July 2003, and we did not execute any marriage settlement before our wedding day. In 2012, my husband’s employer, Mrs. Fu, gave him a parcel of land in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija through a Deed of Donation and Acceptance. Subsequently, a Certificate of Title was issued in my husband’s name. Last 2016, my husband and I were issued a Decree of Nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, and I was shocked to learn that the Cabanatuan property was excluded from our community properties and was given only to my husband alone, unlike the rest of conjugal properties. I find this absurd since almost all the rest of our properties were divided equally. Is this correct? Thank you in advance.
    Ava

    Dear Ava,
    Since you were married to your husband in 2003 without executing any marriage settlement, the Family Code of the Philippines is controlling in your situation. In the absence of any marriage settlement, Article 75 of the Family Code states that the absolute community of property shall govern, thus:

    “Art. 75. The future spouses may, in the marriage settlements, agree upon the regime of absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property, or any other regime. In the absence of a marriage settlement, or when the regime agreed upon is void, the system of absolute community of property as established in this Code shall govern. (119a)” [Underscoring supplied]

    Considering that your property relations is the absolute community of property regime, Article 92 (1) of the Family Code likewise provides that properties acquired by either spouse by gratuitous title during the marriage, such as the donation which your husband received by donation in 2012, shall be excluded from the community property, to wit:

    “Art. 92. The following shall be excluded from the community property:

    (1) Property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse, and the fruits as well as the income thereof, if any, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor that they shall form part of the community property;”

    Since the Cabanatuan property was donated to your husband during your marriage (and to your husband alone as title was issued only in his name), it remains to be his exclusive property and is not considered part of your community property. Hence, the exclusion of the Cabanatuan property from the community property is only but just and proper.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on this matter, but we reiterate that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when facts are changed or further 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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