Date of the Marriage and Pre-Nup
For marriages that took place after August 3, 1988, the Family Code of the Philippines, or Executive Order No. 209, is the governing law. Marriages that took place before this date are still governed by the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines. According to the Family Code, in the absence of a marriage settlement, the property relations between the husband and wife will be governed by the System of Absolute Community.
Article 75 of the Family Code states that future spouses may agree upon the regime of absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property, or any other regime in their marriage settlements. If there is no marriage settlement, or if the agreed-upon regime is void, the system of absolute community of property as established in the Code shall govern.
This provision considers two scenarios. If a pre-nuptial agreement or marriage settlement was executed, the spouses can choose the property regime that will govern their relationship. However, if no such agreement was made, the marriage is governed by the absolute community property regime.
Property Relations under the Family Code
If a marriage took place after August 3, 1988, without a marriage settlement, it will be governed by the absolute community property regime. If property was donated to either spouse during the marriage, we must examine the relevant provisions of the Family Code to determine what is included in the absolute community property and what is excluded.
As a general rule, the absolute community of property includes all property owned by the spouses at the time of the marriage or acquired thereafter. Article 91 of the Family Code states that, unless otherwise provided by law or in marriage settlements, the community property consists of all property owned by the spouses at the time of the marriage or acquired thereafter.
However, the Family Code also provides a list of properties that are excluded from the property regime. Article 92 of the Family Code governs the properties that are excluded from the absolute community property. It states that the following shall be excluded from the community property:
- Property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse, and the fruits as well as the income thereof, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator, or grantor that they shall form part of the community property.
- Property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse. However, jewelry shall form part of the community property.
- 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.
In the case of Brigido B. Quiao vs. Rita C. Quiao, et al., G.R. No. 176556, July 4, 2012, the Supreme Court reiterated Article 92 of the Family Code, stating that when a couple enters into a regime of absolute community, the husband and 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.
Thus, if a property is donated to either spouse during the marriage, it falls under the first exclusion mentioned in Article 92 of the Family Code. Once the donation is accepted, the donated property becomes the exclusive, personal property of the recipient, having been acquired by gratuitous title during the marriage. In other words, it belongs solely to the recipient of the donation. The only circumstance in which it would become part of the absolute community of property is if the donor explicitly states that the donated property should be included in the absolute community of property.
Without such an explicit statement in the donation document or deed of donation indicating that the donated property will be part of the community property, the law expressly excludes the donated property from the absolute community property regime.
Therefore, by default, if a property is donated to either spouse during the marriage, it is excluded from the absolute community of property. It will be owned solely by the spouse who received the donation, and the other spouse will not have a share in that property.
About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices
If you need help regarding annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage, legal separation, or have any questions or concerns regarding family law, we can help you. Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website https://ndvlaw.com/.