My wife and I have a conjugal house, which is situated in Marikina. We have been separated for almost four years now because of personal differences. For over a year since the time she left me, I tried to sort out our marriage but I failed and I do not see us ever reconciling again. Surprisingly, though, we recently had a calm conversation regarding our marital situation. Neither one of us wants to initiate filing a petition to have our marriage declared void, but neither also wants to initiate reconciliation. I told her that I would want to separate our properties already because I am having difficulty declaring her as part-owner of our Marikina home. She merely said that I can do whatever I want. Now, I just want to be enlightened on what legal remedy I should avail in order for me to be able to separate our properties. Assuming we patch up, can we still restore our conjugal property ownership?
You mentioned that you and your wife own a conjugal house, which is situated in Marikina. Being a conjugal property, both you and your wife have the right to administer and enjoy the same (Article 124 (1), Family Code of the Philippines (FCP)). Should there be disagreement between the two of you, our laws recognize your decision as the one that may prevail. However, it must be emphasized that your decision must not be made arbitrarily or capriciously. Any decision you make must still be for the general benefit and welfare of the family, otherwise your wife may seek the court’s intervention within five (5) years from the date of any agreement or contract implementing such decision (Article 124 (1), FCP).
Considering that your wife left you, separated for almost four (4) years now and reconciliation is far-fetched, we believe that you may avail of the remedy of judicial separation of property in order to conclude the regime of conjugal partnership of gains which governs you and your wife. Pursuant to Article 135 of the FCP: “Any of the following shall be considered sufficient cause for judicial separation of property: x x x (4) That the spouse of the petitioner has abandoned the latter or failed to comply with his or her obligations to the family as provided for in Article 101 x x x (6) That at the time of the petition, the spouses have been separated in fact for at least one year and reconciliation is highly improbable.
x x x”
Nevertheless, should you and your wife reconcile and live together once again, you may move before the court to revive your property regime of conjugal partnership of gains. This is in consonance with Article 141 of the said law which provides that: “The spouses may, in the same proceedings where separation of property was decreed, file a motion in court for a decree reviving the property regime that existed between them before the separation of property in any of the following instances: x x x (4) When the spouse who has left the conjugal home without a decree of legal separation resumes common life with the other; x x x (6) When the spouses who have separated in fact for at least one year, reconcile and resume common life;
x x x”
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.