All the Things You Need to Know About Conjugal Properties

By: Hanna Rubio

After finally meeting the love of your life, you are taking things to the next level. The planning starts, invitations are sent, and the important people are picked. You and your partner will become one, bound by marriage and your love for each other. After the white veil occasion, both of you will be thinking about the present and future. One way of securing your family’s future is by investing your hard-earned money into something that you know will eventually grow like properties or other investments such as stocks, bonds, vehicles, and crypto can also help on safeguarding your financial capabilities or looking for a home in a secure subdivision in Cabuyao, Laguna. Not to mention the investments and properties you acquire before marriage.

When you are married to someone, you two become one. All will be shared may it be problems, successes, happiness, or even properties. After the marriage, some of your assets will become your partners’ assets too, and vice versa. This is due to something that you call conjugal property. Conjugal property refers to the shared ownership of property acquired once a couple decided to marry each other. This means that properties owned by the husband will also be rightfully owned by the wife and the same goes for what the wife owns.

Article 116 of the Family Code of the Philippines states that “All property acquired during the marriage, whether the acquisition appears to have been made, contracted or registered in the name of one or both spouses, is presumed to be conjugal unless the contrary is proved”. Unless no written letter or agreement denotes an exemption, property owned by both parties is legally owned by both of them.

But just like other things, the conjugal property also has its exemption. Properties acquired are evaluated by them and a decision should be made about what properties will be under the conjugal property and what properties will not, all these under the same clause, marriage settlement, or what is commonly known as a pre-nuptial agreement. When a pre-nuptial agreement is signed, specific terms and properties will be exempted from the jointly-owned partnership.

That being said, if a written marriage settlement is not present, the different types of property regimes enter the picture. When a property regime is applied, certain situations and terms will be considered to determine what regime is most appropriate for the separation of property. Here are the types of property regimes in the Philippines.

The regime of Conjugal partnership of gains (CPG)

What really is the conjugal property meaning?

In the conjugal partnership of gains, exclusive real estate properties owned by the spouses before they get married will remain as separate property ownership even until they got married. However, the income, products, and fruits of the mentioned separate property will be shared rightfully by both of them. All couples who got married before August 03, 1988, considering the marriage settlement is absent, will be under this regime.

Say, the wife has a rental house in a subdivision in Cabuyao, Laguna, the property relations itself is solely owned by the wife (or her separate property) only but the income from rentals will now be shared with her husband. Here are some of the properties or income included under this regime,

  1. Property bought using both of the husband and wife’s joint fund and is considered an onerous title.
  2. Betting or gambling wins are shared equally however if a loss is recorded, the spouse who placed the bet or gambled will be responsible for it alone.
  3. Earnings from a profession or work from an industry are also shared.

On the other hand, here are some of the properties or income excluded,

  1. Property acquired before marriage.
  2. Property with a gratuitous title.
  3. Purchases using the exclusive money of each of them.

The regime of Absolute community of property (ACP)

In contrast with CPG, a marriage is considered to be under the absolute community of property (ACP) when the couple got married after August 03, 1988, which is when the effectivity of the family code was finalized. Every property owned by each of them which is acquired before and after the marriage is considered conjugal property.

All exclusive property acquired by the wife will belong to her husband and the same goes along for her husband’s owned properties. When the wife bought a unit in a subdivision in Cabuyao, Laguna when she was still single, after being bound of marriage, it will also be rightfully owned by her husband.

ACP includes,

  1. Fruits or income of the common property is shared.
  2. Properties acquired during the marriage.
  3. Lottery or gambling winnings.

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In contrast, ACP excludes,

  1. Properties given with gratuitous title in the form of gift, donation, or inheritance (such as a property inheritance) before marriage will be owned and managed by both spouses jointly after the marriage.
  2. Exclusive or personal use properties.
  3. Fruits, income, and the property itself from a former marriage with legitimate children.

Despite a legal separation, properties under the absolute community of property will still be shared and jointly owned by both spouses. For this instance, both of them should file a judicial separation of property to be able to divide the properties.

The regime of Complete separation of property acquired

In this regime, there is completely no conjugal property. The rights and ownership of properties acquired by each of them will remain exclusive. All income, fruits, or benefits from their separate properties will solely be exclusive to them.

This does not only apply to properties acquired before the marriage but to all the properties that will be acquired during and after the marriage. An example is when the husband owns a condominium unit and the wife owns a house in a subdivision in Cabuyao, Laguna, even after the marriage, they get to keep their exclusive ownership.

But the only thing that everyone should keep in mind is that this particular regime still needs the approval of both parties. The separation of property can be partial or total. If partial, the agreed properties to be shared will be shared. Properties that weren’t agreed to be separated will be under the regime of absolute community. While those that will not be shared will remain an exclusive property.

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