• Property regime governing a marriage

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My husband and I got married in January 2006 and we have four children together. Despite this, our relationship turned sour and we have been living apart for the last two years. Recently, I found out that his grandfather died and left him two condominium units as his inheritance. Since our combined incomes are not enough to support our four children, I asked him to give me half of the rent of the condominium units but he refused. Was he right in  refusing my request?
    Sincerely yours,
    Sam

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    Dear Sam,
    Article 75 of the Family Code of the Philippines is the applicable law in your situation since you got married in 2006. This provision states:

    “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.” (Emphasis supplied)

    The aforementioned provision sets the property regime that  governs your and your husband’s marriage. This is called the absolute community of property. This means that every piece of property you have or have acquired before and after your marriage forms part of your absolute community of property. This can be found under Article 91 of the Family Code, which provides:

    “Art. 91. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the marriage settlements, the community property shall consist of all the property owned by the spouses at the time of the celebration of the marriage or acquired thereafter.”

    In relation thereto, not every piece of property that you and your husband have forms part of your absolute community. Thus, the exemptions therein are enumerated under Article 92 of the same law, viz:

    “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;

    (2) Property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse. However, jewelry shall form part of the community property;

    (3) Property acquired before the marriage by either spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage, and the fruits as well as the income, if any, of such property.” (Emphasis supplied)

    Article 92 states that inherited or donated pieces of property acquired during the marriage, as well as their fruits and income, do not form part of the absolute community of property. In other words, this means that such inherited or donated property to one of the spouses, belong to him or her only, such as in your husband’s case. Thus, your husband is within his rights to refuse to give you the income from the rent of his inherited condominiums and you cannot compel him to do otherwise.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    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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