• Dividing assets after legal separation

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    Please tell me what will happen to our pieices of property if my husband will file a legal separation case against me. I admit that almost 80 percent of our pieces of property were bought by my husband during our marriage and I have no job so I have not really contributed anything in acquiring those assets. My fear is I have nothing to start with my new life, if I will be separated from him and he will not give me anything.
    Andiu

    Dear Andiu,
    In the absence of marriage settlement, or when the regime agreed upon is void, the system of absolute community of property as established in this Code shall govern (Article 75, Family Code of the Philippines). Correlative to this provision is Article 90 of the same code, which states that “the provisions of co-ownership shall apply to the absolute community of property between the spouses in all matters not provided for in this chapter.”

    The Supreme Court has discussed in Quiao vs Quiao et al. (G. R. No. 176556, July 4, 2012), as to how the Absolute Community of Property be dissolved:

    “When a couple enters into a regime of absolute community, the husband and the wife become joint owners of all the properties of the marriage. Whatever property each spouse brings into the marriage, and those acquired during the marriage (except those excluded under Article 92 of the Family Code) form the common mass of the couple’s properties. And when the couple’s marriage or community is dissolved, that common mass is divided between the spouses, or their respective heirs, equally or in the proportion the parties have established, irrespective of the value each one may have originally owned.

    Under Article 102 of the Family Code, upon dissolution of marriage, an inventory is prepared, listing separately all the properties of the absolute community and the exclusive properties of each; then the debts and obligations of the absolute community are paid out of the absolute community’s assets and if the community’s properties are insufficient, the separate properties of each of the couple will be solidarily liable for the unpaid balance. Whatever is left of the separate properties will be delivered to each of them. The net remainder of the absolute community is its net assets, which shall be divided between the husband and the wife; and for purposes of computing the net profits subject to forfeiture, said profits shall be the increase in value between the market value of the community property at the time of the celebration of the marriage and the market value at the time of its dissolution.

    Applying Article 102 of the Family Code, the net profits requires that we first find the market value of the properties at the time of the community’s dissolution. From the totality of the market value of all the properties, we subtract the debts and obligations of the absolute community and this result to the net assets or net remainder of the properties of the absolute community, from which we deduct the market value of the properties at the time of marriage, which then results to the net profits”.

    The net remainder of the properties of Absolute Community of Property shall be divided equally between the husband and wife (Article 102 (4), Ibid). Based from these provisions of law and jurisprudence, it is clear that properties acquired during the marriage shall be divided equally between you and your husband.

    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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