I would like to ask for your advice in behalf of my mother. She is working in Saipan at present. My brother and I were left under the care of our father, although in reality it is our grandmother who is taking care of us because my father is more occupied with his vices to the point that he spends the money allotted for me and my brother. Just recently, my mother found out that my father sold the land that he acquired a year after they got married. She wants to know if there is any way for her to have that sale nullified.
Husbands and wives are governed by property relations. They may choose, prior to the celebration of their marriage, the particular property relations they prefer, whether it is the regime of absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property or any other regime. In the absence of such agreement, or if the regime agreed upon by them is void, they will be governed by the system of absolute community of property (Article 75, Civil Code of the Philippines (CCP) ).
If your parents did not enter into a marriage settlement prior to their marriage, it is safe to say they are governed by the system of absolute community of property. Accordingly, they are deemed as co-owners of all pieces of property owned by them at the time of the celebration of their marriage as well as those which they have acquired thereafter (Article 91, CCP).
But he pieces of properties that either of them has acquired by gratuitous title, including the fruits as well as the income thereof, do not form part of the community property, unless such is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor. In the same manner, assets for personal and exclusive use of either of your parents are not part of the community property (Article 92 (1) and (2), CCP).
Correspondingly, if the land that was sold by your father is his exclusive property, having acquired it by gratuitous title, then your mother may not have such contract of sale nullified. Being his exclusive property, he may mortgage, encumber, alienate or otherwise dispose of the property without the consent of your mother (Article 111, CCP, as amended by Section 2, Republic Act 10572).
On the other hand, if the subject land forms part of the absolute community property of your parents, your father may not sell it without securing prior consent from your mother. Should he be able to do so, your mother may seek for the nullification of such sale being a void transaction. This is in consonance with Article 96 of the law stating that: “x x x In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the common properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. These powers do not include disposition or encumbrance without authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. x x x” (emphasis supplied)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org