Marital Property FAQs

A marital property is defined as an asset of married individuals; both partners acquired this property during their marriage.  For us Filipinos, marriage is absolutely sacred which is also one reason why divorce is not allowed but many Filipino couples, whether they like it or not, enjoy a harmonious marriage for quite a while but mostly ends as it turns sour.  One issue most of the time is money and sometimes, maybe properties.  The marital status of every individual has great effects on ones property ownership.

Here are some FAQs about marital property:

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  • Marital property are evenly owned by both individuals which include every single earnings and all debts acquired during the course of their marriage shall be joined together as part of one estate within the CONJUGAL PROPERTY and the “FRUITS” of those properties shall be shared between the husband and wife for the duration of their marriage.
  • Any asset accrued before the marriage is regard as separate property of each individual. This includes all the property owned by one spouse, or a property given to one spouse before or during the marriage or property inherited by just one spouse.
  • In the unfortunate event of death, it is important to know “who will own what property.”  If both names of the couples are placed in the title or deed then each owns one-half of the property.  When one spouse passes away, his or her property is distributed according to his or her will.  The property goes to the surviving spouse if the spouses share ownership and own property in “joint tenancy with the right of survivorship” or “tenancy by the entirety”.  On the other hand, the property can go to someone other than the surviving spouse if it is “tenancy in common”, as per the deceased spouse’s will.  However, once there is no deed or title, whoever paid for the property or received it, as a gift owns it.
  • The court will decide how the marital property will be divided once the couple acquires legal separation or annulment.
  • There is a settlement before marriage commonly known as Prenup or Pre-Nuptial Agreement which will govern their property relations during the course of their married life. The prenup agreement are becoming common where most couples have become more responsive of their rights, including their right to remain separated their properties and assets acquired before marriage. This is beneficial for couples who have numerous properties prior to their marriage.  This can also be an advantage if one of the spouses has a child from a previous marriage so that the child is cared for properly in the future.
  • Spouses with or without a prenup, remains heirs of each other, the same way that their children are their lawful heirs.
  • If the spouses’ properties are separated by this prenup agreement, either spouse cannot donate more than one-fifth share (1/5) of his or her property to the other spouse
  • Spouses are not allowed to transfer, modify, or eradicate any of the marital property without the approval of the other spouse.
  • During legal separation, the spouse who incurred debts or loans will take his loans or debts with him or her.
  • After dissolution of the marriage, each spouse can freely dispose, sell, mortgage, lease, exchange, or donate any of his or her private property acquired before marriage without any consent from the estranged husband or wife.
  • However, if the couple was married on August 3, 1988, and up to present, their properties will no longer be governed by the law of conjugal property but instead by the provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines signed by the former President Corazon Aquino. This code affirms a married couple’s properties acquired before or during marriage will automatically co-owned by the couple.

Read: Documentary requirements for land transfer in the Philippines

These are the most common questions that revolve around marriage and the properties or the shadows behind it.  There are more questions but of course, these questions are the ones that are the incidents that doesn’t happen every week.  So if you have questions, feel free to address them.

Read Also: How to Process Land Transfer in the Philippines

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