Conjugal property bill: What's mine is mine
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – A once-happy marriage that turns sour can be even uglier when the money grab begins.
A bill filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez aims to prevent a bitter property feud between estranged couples, and may even deter the incidence of marriage for money.
Under House Bill No. 5268, Alvarez proposes that each spouse retain his or her personal assets belonging to the person before the marriage.
He seeks to amend Article 75 of Title IV of the Family Code mandating that in the absence of a marriage settlement, or the pre-nuptial 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.
While the said provision of the law appears to be a testament to the integrity of the Filipino family, the House leader said it does not address the “complicated realities facing marriages or relationships on the rocks.”
“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 in the face of a growing rift only breeds resentment,” he said.
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. Separate earnings shall also be owned by each spouse separately,” Alvarez said.
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.”
The same system applies to the property regimes of unions without marriage or under a void marriage. Under Art. 147 of the Family Code, the salaries and wages of such couple are co-owned in equal shares.
Alvarez said that in the interest of protecting the family, both spouses shall remain legally bound to provide for the support of the family through their separate properties.