March 27, 2017, 8:46 pm
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Relaxed conjugal property law sought

SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez wants to amend the Family Code to eliminate the provision on absolute conjugal ownership of properties and allow separation of ownership to “prevent bitter property feud between estranged couples.”

“The State must recognize that these realities are, in fact, burdensome and detrimental to the relations of less-than-ideal families and marriages. The contestation of property (ownership) in the face of a growing rift only breeds resentment,” Alvarez said in House Bill No. 5268.

Alvarez said the bill will prevent bitter property feud between estranged couples and “may even deter marriage-for-money.”

HB 5268 seeks to amend Article 75 of Title IV of the Family Code mandating that in the absence of a marriage settlement or a “prenuptial agreement,” all properties brought into the marriage, including those acquired during the period, shall be governed by the system of absolute community or co-owned by the couple in equal shares.

Alvarez said that while at first glance, the provision of the law seems to be a testament to the integrity of the Filipino family, “it does not address the complicated realities facing marriages or relationships on the rocks.”

To address these problems, the bill proposes to replace the regime of absolute community with that of total separation of property.

“This system provides that each spouse shall own, dispose of, possess, administer and enjoy his and her own property, without need for consent of the other. Additionally, separate earnings shall be owned by each spouse separately,” Alvarez explained.

The bill retains the provision of the Family Code allowing future couples to enter into a marriage settlement for a “regime of absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property or any other regime.”

The proposed amendment provides: “In the absence of a marriage settlement, or when the regime agreed upon is void, the regime of total separation of property as established in this Code shall govern.”

Likewise, the same system applies to the property regimes of unions without marriage or under a void marriage.

Under Article 147 of the Family Code, the salaries and wages of such couple are co-owned in equal shares. – Wendell Vigilia
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