Absolute Community of Property deemed Co-Owned?

We received an email from “ROYAL” regarding absolute community of property (ACP), currently the default property relation between husband and wife in a marriage. The email goes like this:

“Thanks for your pages on ACP. I beg to differ on one extremely important issue. The law does NOT say ACP is automatically co owned. Art 484 CC makes this clear. If property cannot belong to two people it cannot be co owned.”

The first part of the assertion is clear — the law does NOT say that ACP is automatically co-owned. The second part is not clear to me, so let’s agree on how it is supposed to mean — that a property in ACP cannot belong to two people; thus, it cannot be co-owned.

Now, while we are having lunch, anybody wants to take the first shot at cracking this mystery?

Ok, lunch over and no one took the time to move their cursors. Let’s focus on the first part.

The absolute community of property between the spouses is now governed by the Family Code (Executive Order No. 209), which took effect on 3 August 1988. It supersedes the relevant provisions of the Civil Code. Article 90 of the Family Code reads:

Art. 90. The provisions on co ownership shall apply to the absolute community of property between the spouses in all matters not provided for in this Chapter.

In other words, unless the Family Code provides otherwise, the rules on co-ownership shall apply to the ACP. That’s pretty much straigtforward to me.

4 comments

  1. Dear Atty- thanks for the invite.
    Art. 90. The provisions on co ownership shall apply to the absolute community of property etc. So what is the law on co ownership
    I believe- The initial provision cc Art 484 states “There is co-ownership whenever the ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different persons.”
    Remembering that there is no law which states that if a property cannot be co owned it cannot be ACP and no law which says all ACP MUST be co owned.
    An alien has a married Filipino partner. The Filipino purchases real property with ACP funds. At the moment of purchase it becomes ACP (because there is no exclusion for this in the law). However it CAN ONLY be owned by the FILIPINO (Constitutional provisions) and the alien CANNOT OWN.
    So applying Art 484- we have a situation (one of many possible ones i believe) where there is no co ownership because property does NOT belong to more than one person.
    Logically- i believe- its part of ACP but not co owned QED.
    PS i am not an atty

    1. Royal, now your point becomes clearer. Such a scenario is not new and we’ve dealt with this in a number of cases that we’ve handled, including settlement and estate proceedings. I’ll have a general discussion in a separate post on the subject matter when I have more available time. Do drop from time to time to check. Good luck.

  2. Thank you Atty. But we also need a specific position on this- In an Alien/Filipino marriage does Real Property purchased during the marriage become part of ACP. And if not -why not?
    As i understand it, the SC has made comments about this (eg Muller case) but never a specific ruling.

  3. Further, it seems to me that the authors of FCP did not say “ACP is co owned” for a valid reason. I see ACP as a depository of property that is not “owned” and does not “belong” to anyone. To whom it belongs or as to ownership is for the courts to decide if and when.
    SC Judge Ynares-Santiago GR149615 Muller stated- in that case-” IF the property were to be declared conjugal then….”
    Judge did not say “in the case of an Alien/Filipino marriage real property cannot become part of ACP…..” If this is what he meant then Art 92 would be unconstitutional and Congress would have amended it. Last time I looked it had not been amended and Art 92 did not exclude from ACP such real property.

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