Prenuptial Agreements in the Philippines

Article 1 under the Family Code of the Philippines defines marriage as a permanent union for the establishment of conjugal or family life. When a couple enters into marriage without marriage settlement or a pre-nuptial agreement, the default property regime of marriages celebrated under the Family Code is absolute community.

Partners who wish to avoid potential disputes over money, real estate, and other assets can sign a pre-nuptial agreement with their future spouse. This will make it easier to determine the proper separation of property. Pre-nuptial agreements are legally recognized to help couples manage property relations within the limits provided by the Family Code.

A prenup is helpful to have a lasting marriage. It will help prevent future disagreements regarding property. Both of the future spouses are in the best position to decide which property regime is the best for their marriage because the latter are both aware of each other’s circumstances, wealth, and preferences.

The Family Code also provides for specific regimes that couples may adopt, including:

  • Regime of Absolute Community – In absolute community, all the properties owned by both spouses at the time of celebration of marriage, and the properties acquired or bought thereafter will be included in the community property (FC Art. 91). In other words, what the husband owns in the present (at the time of the celebration of the marriage), and in the future, will be co-owned by the wife, and vice versa. Under the Family Code, this is the default property regime, absent a pre-nuptial agreement or if the regime agreed upon is void.
  • Regime of Conjugal Partnership of Gains – Here, the husband and wife will place in a common fund the following: (1) the proceeds, products, fruits and income from their separate/exclusive properties; and (2) properties acquired by either or both spouses through their efforts or by chance. Both will be divided equally between spouses upon dissolution of the marriage or the conjugal partnership.
  • Regime of Separation of Property – The spouses can freely own, administer, and dispose of their individual estates without each other’s consent. This includes existing or future property, whether partial or total. Regarding family expenses, Family Code Article 146 provides that “both spouses shall bear the family expenses in proportion to their income, or, in case of insufficiency or default thereof, to the current market value of their separate properties.”

A prenuptial agreement contains the terms after the future spouses determine, fix, and modify their property relations to their preference. Such an agreement must be entered into voluntarily and should be in writing. Prenuptial agreements can be dismissed for lack of consent, coercion, mistakes, fraud, and undue influence or bad faith. The agreement must also be notarized and duly recorded in the local civil registry and the Registry of Property to be valid as against third persons.

For more information on prenuptial agreements, work with experienced legal experts who are well-versed in family law. Contact Duran & Duran-Schulze Law today to talk to a legal expert. Call us at (+632) 478 5826 or send an email to info@duranschulze.com to schedule an appointment.