Registration Of Prenuptial Agreements In The Philippines

A prenuptial agreement in the Philippines is required to be signed by the contracting parties and at least two witnesses of legal age prior to the celebration of marriage.   

As provided in Article 77 of the Family Code, “The marriage settlement and any modification thereof shall be in writing, signed by the parties and executed before the celebration of the marriage.  They shall not prejudice third persons unless they are registered in the local civil registry where the marriage contract is recorded as well as in the proper registries of property.”

A reading of the above provision will reveal that while registration of the prenup is not required for its validity, registration is made an additional requirement if the contracting parties wish to bind third parties to the provisions of the agreement.  Third parties may mean the parties’ family members and even creditors who may enter into contracts with them.

If the prenuptial agreement is recorded at the proper registries, the creditors will be 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.

Registration of s prenuptial agreement in the Philippines is done at the Civil Registry of the City or Municipality which issued the marriage license.  Before registration is caused, the prenup is brought before a Notary Public for notarization.  After notarization, the procedure for the registration of the prenup will be as follows:

  1. Submission of the necessary documents for evaluation;
  2. Review and approval of the documents by the City Civil Registrar;
  3. Payment of fees at the Office of the City Treasurer;
  4. Registration of the agreement;
  5. Issuance of a Certified True Copy of the agreement;
  6. Attachment of the Certified True Copy to the Marriage Certificate.

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.