• Separation of married couples does not affect their property relations

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My husband and I just got separated. We were married in 2005 but things did not work out right for us so we ended up separated after 7 years of trying hard to make our marriage work. I have recovered after that separation and I am exerting all my efforts in building a fortune. I just want to ask if all the properties that I will acquire after the separation will still be part of our conjugal property. Thanks.
    Aura

    Dear Aura,
    Assuming that you and your husband did not execute an agreement pertaining to your property relations prior to the celebration of your marriage, it is governed then by the regime of Absolute Community of Property.

    Under this system, the community property shall consist of all the properties that you and your husband owned prior to your marriage and those each of you may acquire thereafter, unless these are excluded from the community property. This is in accordance with Article 91 of the Family Code of the Philippines, 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.”

    The same code likewise presumes that all properties acquired during the marriage shall belong to the community property, unless it is proved that it is one of those excluded therefrom (Article 93, Family Code of the Philippines).

    The properties that are considered exclusive property of each of the spouses under the regime of Absolute Community of Property are explicitly provided under Article 92 of the Family Code of the Philippines, 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.”

    It is worthy to mention that even if the spouses got separated in fact, properties acquired by each of them shall still be considered as part of their community property, as their separation does not affect their property relations. Article 100 of the Family Code of the Philippines explicitly states:

    “Art. 100. The separation in fact between husband and wife shall not affect the regime of absolute community.”

    Thus, your de facto separation from your husband does not affect your property relations. Properties that you and your husband may acquire are still considered part of your community property, unless these properties are excluded therefrom as mentioned above.

    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 guide you with our opinion 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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