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Absolute Community Property

What is the System of Absolute Community of Property (ACP)?

In ACP, the spouses are considered co-owners of all property brought into the marriage, as well as those acquired during the marriage, which are not otherwise excluded. The commencement of this regime is laid down in this article:

Art. 88. The absolute community of property between spouses shall commence at the precise moment that the marriage is celebrated. Any stipulation, express or implied, for the commencement of the community regime at any other time shall be void. (145a)

What are included in the ACP?

Community property shall consist of all the property owned by the spouses at the time of the celebration of the marriage or acquired thereafter. The inclusions of ACP is further enumerated and explained in the following articles:

Art. 91. Unless otherwise provided in this Chapter or in the marriage settlements, the community property shall consist of all the property owned by the spouses at the time of the celebration of the marriage or acquired thereafter. (197a)

Art. 92. The following shall be excluded from the community property:

(1) Property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse, and the fruits as well as the income thereof, if any, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor that they shall form part of the community property;

(2) Property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse. However, jewelry shall form part of the community property;

(3) Property acquired before the marriage by either spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage, and the fruits as well as the income, if any, of such property. (201a)

Art. 93. Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to belong to the community, unless it is proved that it is one of those excluded therefrom. (160)

 

What are excluded in the ACP?

  1. Property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse, and the fruits as well as the income thereof, if any, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor that they shall form part of the community property;
  2. Property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse. However, jewelry shall form part of the community property;
  3. Property acquired before the marriage by either spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage, and the fruits as well as the income, if any, of such property.

 

What are the obligations chargeable to the community of property?

  1. Support;
  2. Debts and Obligations (if contracted by both spouses and if redounded to the benefit of the family);
  3. Taxes and Expenses;
  4. Expenses to enable spouse to commence or complete a professional or vocational course, or other activity for self-improvement;
  5. Value of what is donated or promised by both spouses in favor of common legitimate children for the exclusive purpose of commencing or completing a professional or vocational course;
  6. Expenses of litigation between the spouses;
  7. In case only of insufficiency or absence of exclusive property of the debtor-spouse, which shall be considered as advances to be deducted from the share of the debtor-spouse upon liquidation of the community;

The abovementioned enumeration is supported by these provisions:

Art. 94. The absolute community of property shall be liable for:

  • The support of the spouses, their common children, and legitimate children of either spouse; however, the support of illegitimate children shall be governed by the provisions of this Code on Support;
  • All debts and obligations contracted during the marriage by the designated administrator-spouse for the benefit of the community, or by both spouses, or by one spouse with the consent of the other;
  • Debts and obligations contracted by either spouse without the consent of the other to the extent that the family may have been benefited;
  • All taxes, liens, charges and expenses, including major or minor repairs, upon the community property;
  • All taxes and expenses for mere preservation made during marriage upon the separate property of either spouse used by the family;
  • Expenses to enable either spouse to commence or complete a professional or vocational course, or other activity for self-improvement;
  • Ante-nuptial debts of either spouse insofar as they have redounded to the benefit of the family;
  • The value of what is donated or promised by both spouses in favor of their common legitimate children for the exclusive purpose of commencing or completing a professional or vocational course or other activity for self-improvement;
  • Ante-nuptial debts of either spouse other than those falling under paragraph (7) of this Article, the support of illegitimate children of either spouse, and liabilities incurred by either spouse by reason of a crime or a quasi-delict, in case of absence or insufficiency of the exclusive property of the debtor-spouse, the payment of which shall be considered as advances to be deducted from the share of the debtor-spouse upon liquidation of the community; and

(10) Expenses of litigation between the spouses unless the suit is found to be groundless.

If the community property is insufficient to cover the foregoing liabilities, except those falling under paragraph (9), the spouses shall be solidarily liable for the unpaid balance with their separate properties. (161a, 162a, 163a, 202a-205a)

Art. 95. Whatever may be lost during the marriage in any game of chance, betting, sweepstakes, or any other kind of gambling, whether permitted or prohibited by law, shall be borne by the loser and shall not be charged to the community but any winnings therefrom shall form part of the community property. (164a)

 

What is the manner of administration of ACP?

The manner administration is expressly provided in these articles:

Art. 96. The administration and enjoyment of the community property shall belong to both spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husband’s decision shall prevail, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy, which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision.

X x x

Art. 97. Either spouse may dispose by will of his or her interest in the community property. (n)

Art. 98. Neither spouse may donate any community property without the consent of the other. However, either spouse may, without the consent of the other, make moderate donations from the community property for charity or on occasions of family rejoicing or family distress. (n)

 

When is sole administration allowed?

The following are the instances when sole administration may be allowed:

  1. One spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of common properties;
  2. A spouse abandons the other (there must a court order);
  3. During the pendency of a legal separation case (there must be a court order);

 

Art. 96. X x x In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the common properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. These powers do not include disposition or encumbrance without authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors. (206a)

*The power to administer do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance which must have the authority of the court or written consent of the spouse. In the absence of such authority/consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. Any transaction entered by the wife without the court or the husband’s authority is unenforceable in accordance with Article 1317(32) of the Civil Code. Being an unenforceable contract, the Contract to Sell is susceptible to ratification. No waiver of rights, interests, shares and effects of the absolute community during the marriage shall be allowed. 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, it is presumed to be conjugal unless the contrary is proved.

 

How is Absolute Community of Property Regime dissolved?

It can be dissolved by the instances laid down in this article:

Art. 99. The absolute community terminates:

(1) Upon the death of either spouse;

(2) When there is a decree of legal separation;

(3) When the marriage is annulled or declared void; or

(4) In case of judicial separation of property during the marriage under Articles 134 to 138. (175a)

References:

Family Code of the Philippines [Executive Order No. 209]

Matthews V. Taylor, GR No. 164584, June 22, 2009

Sta. Maria, M. (2010). Persons and Family Relations Law. Quezon City: Rex Printing Company, Inc.

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