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Before having your prenuptial agreements done in the Philippines, it  may be helpful to understand the different regimes which may govern the property relations of spouses in the country, as listed in the Family Code of the Philippines.

The System of Absolute Community (or ACP – Absolute Community of Property)

This regime is a “template” in Philippine marital property relations, meaning that if the spouses do not have a valid marriage settlement (or prenup) prior to the marriage celebration, this system will automatically govern the property relations of the couple.  This is the template regime because it is more in keeping with Philippine custom and family unity.

In the ACP, spouses become co-owners of all property they bring into the marriage and those acquired by each or both of them during the marriage, save for the exceptions expressly enumerated by law.  At the dissolution of the marriage, the spouses or their heirs shall equally divide the community assets and liabilities.

The Conjugal Partnership of Gains (CPG)

In this system, husband and wife place in a common fund the fruits of their separate property, and the income from their work, industry or by chance.    Upon dissolution of the marriage, the net gains of the partnership shall be divided equally between the parties, unless a different manner of division has been agreed upon by them in their prenuptial agreement.

The Regime of Separation of Property (or CSP – Complete Separation of Property)

Under this regime, the parties retain ownership, management and control of their separate property and those they acquire during the marriage, together with the fruits and accessions of their separate property.  Each party is also wholly responsible for his or her liabilities.  The spouses are only required to contribute to the family expenses proportionately with their income or value of his properties.

Following an understanding of the property regimes for spouses in the Philippines, the marrying couple can now decide on the terms they wish to appear in their prenuptial agreement.

In the prenuptial agreement, the future spouses may agree on the property regime of:

  • Absolute Community of Property (ACP);

  • Conjugal Partnership of Gains (CPG);

  • Complete Separation of Property (CSP);

  • A combination of the above regimes;

  • Any other regime, as long as it is not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.

Prenuptial Agreement In The Philippines

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Prenuptial agreements are slowly gaining prominence in the Philippines.   Before, only members of prominent families would be expected to have a prenuptial agreement prior to the wedding date.  Now, with the increased number of Filipino-foreigner relationships, the need to have a prenuptial agreement has begun to make a reputation.

A prenuptial agreement (or prenup) is a contract entered into between a man and a woman who wish to set the property regime that will govern their future marriage.  The prenup is also called as “marriage settlement” or “antenuptial agreement.”

The terms or covenant of the parties, as provided in their prenup, shall prevail over provisions set forth in the Family Code of the Philippines with regard to property relations between future spouses.  In fact, only in the absence of a valid prenup or after a proper court determines that a prenup is void can provisions of the Family Code on the Absolute Community regime apply.

In the prenuptial agreement, the future spouses may agree on the property regime of:

  • Absolute Community of Property (ACP);

  • Conjugal Partnership of Gains (CPG);

  • Complete Separation of Property (CSP);

  • A combination of the above regimes;

  • Any other regime, as long as it is not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.

In order for the prenup to be valid and enforceable as between the parties, the law requires prenuptial agreements to be in writing, signed by the parties and executed before the celebration of the marriage.  But for a prenup to prejudice third persons, it must additionally be registered in the local civil registry where the marriage contract is recorded, as well as in the proper registries of property.  The agreement must be notarized before it is registered.

Registration is crucial because a prenuptial agreement does not only affect the parties but also third persons (like creditors) who may enter into contracts with them.  If recorded at the proper registries of property, the creditors are afforded the opportunity to discover what property regime applies to the spouses.   This information may be used by the creditors should a debt collection case ensue and the spouses be named as respondents in the case.  The prenup may determine whether one or both spouses can be made liable to the creditor for the unpaid obligations.

Modifications to the prenup can only be done prior to the marriage ceremony. The only exception to this rule is when a court orders the judicial separation of property during marriage.